One of the biggest assets to any youth group is the people that get involved and offer their time, skills and expertise.
When looking for volunteers, you might try:
- Advertising with flyers in local shops, schools, libraries and churches or in notices with local radio stations or newspapers
- Running an ‘open evening’ in your group so potential volunteers can see what it’s all about or offer ‘taster’ sessions where they can try out volunteering with no commitment
- Recruiting amongst parents/carers
- Support the young people already attending your group to take on new leadership roles with Youth Scotland’s guide: Progression Routes for Young Leaders
- Post your volunteer opportunity on Volunteer Scotland
You can also visit your local Volunteer Centre to see how they can help.
Remember, working with young people is incredibly rewarding, but it can also be demanding and not everyone who is interested in volunteering may be well-suited for it. Focus on finding volunteers with a positive and understanding view of young people and the ability to commit their time consistently to the project.
As you begin the recruitment and interview process, you can use these reference documents to help:
- Volunteer Recruitment Checklist
- Sample Volunteer Application Form
- Guide to Volunteer Interview Process
- Sample Volunteer Reference Request Form
At the interview stage, you may also wish to enable applicants to confidentially disclose conviction information and discuss its context and relevance with interviewers.
- Self Declaration Form allows those who manage volunteer recruitment to decide if the applicant is suitable to hold the position prior to obtaining the formal PVG Scheme Record. (Learn more about the PVG Scheme Record here.)
- Sample Policy: Recruitment of Ex-Offenders
Finally, as an organisation handling personal details, you will need to comply with the Data Protection Act throughout your application process.
Volunteers that will be engaged in ‘regulated work’ will need to know that you require them to become PVG Scheme members (learn more about the PVG Scheme here). This should be included in any information that you present workers, so they are aware of this. If they will not be carrying out regulated work you cannot ask them to become a PVG Scheme member.
Volunteer induction can be spread over a number of weeks so that information can be absorbed. Learn more about managing the induction process and access key resources like the Volunteer Induction Checklist by visiting our Induction Toolkit page.
Regular, light touch supervision sessions help volunteers feel valued and supported. It’s important to ensure they don’t feel like a workplace appraisal, but are an opportunity for a two-way discussion about performance, training needs and reflection on the role being undertaken.
Training and development may be one of the reasons why people are attracted to volunteering. Training doesn’t need to mean a ‘course’ either. You could consider offering:
- Work shadowing experienced workers, or colleagues with specific skills
- A developmental piece of work
- Visiting another youth project or club that runs an initiative your group may be interested in
Youth Scotland runs a wide range of training opportunities for workers and can also provide bespoke training if requested. Visit the Youth Scotland Training Catalogue for information about training opportunities near you.
Organisations that provide information and guidance to support youth work and/or volunteering include: