It is hard to form a new organisation, and sometimes even harder to keep it going. People need a reason to join, and to remain a member of AVM, especially as there seems to be so little that AVM can give back at the moment.
I joined as part of my commitment to volunteer management as a profession, recognising that I was using a broad skills set, and that I was acquiring a distinct blend of knowledge and experience that only others in a similar role would acknowledge and appreciate. I wanted to learn from others, I wanted to share my knowledge with others, I wanted to speak to people who understood!!
We are entering exciting times, for volunteer management and also for AVM. Later this year the National Apprenticeship Service will be launching an apprenticeship for volunteer managers, like all apprenticeships there will be funding available for young people who undertake these. We have been negotiating with Skills Third Sector who have supported our claim that volunteer management is best undertaken by people with some maturity and this particular apprenticeship will not be promoted to those under the age of 18 (Although sadly the funding model will not change to reflect this).
Apprentices will need to be employed, and the training they receive will be part funded depending on their age, and on their previous levels of education. It is a great opportunity for small organisations, or small branches of federated organisations who perhaps can’t afford to pay a volunteer co-ordinator to form a consortium and jointly find someone who can start their career while training and receiving support.
Skills Third Sector and the awarding bodies have also recognised that many managers of volunteers are managed by people who have little or no experience of doing the same and to that end they will be looking for peer (UNPAID) buddies to support the trainees through the apprenticeship. This can be done by phone, e mail, and Skype so there is no regional barrier to anyone who wants to become a buddy. Buddies will be recruited through the membership of AVM, so this is a good time to join – to share your knowledge and to enable new volunteer managers to speak to someone else who understands.
Together we can and will ensure that we grow into a community of informed professionals.