Main subjects of volunteer training that deals with people

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  • Interests, interpersonal skills, the group and the activity, and relational resources will have to be worked on.
    Interests, interpersonal skills, the group and the activity, and relational resources will have to be worked on. Source: Pixabay.

A large part of the voluntary bodies are dedicated to attention and care, and it is important that the entities where they carry out their work offer an appropriate training route.

There are many types of volunteering, but a large part of these types refers to the attention, care and treatment of people. Whether it is for accompaniment, training, integration or mere company, the main strength of the organizations that work with people is volunteering.

This care can be provided to people of all backgrounds and ages, with or without difficulties, but in all cases, it is always about working with people. That is why their work has a point of complexity or depth that other volunteers do not have, such as the environmental one. That is why it is necessary that before and during the development of their volunteer work they go through a training itinerary that teaches volunteers the basics of dealing with people, beyond the specific training they have depending on the group they work with.

The following are the keys and topics to be included in the training of volunteers who deal with people.

Caring for people

Volunteers who care for people are those who carry out their work directly with the people who form part of the target group of the organization's activity. Volunteers must work on some basic aspects that will complement other specific issues of their work, and that they must have present during all phases of volunteering.

Therefore, although it is true that training for caring for people depends to some extent on the moment in which the volunteer is, and the order of priorities may change depending on the specific group being cared for, all types of volunteering in care and attention to people must have basic knowledge and forms of behavior.

The first topic to work on in this area of volunteering is the interests that have led people to start their activity. Afterwards, three thematic areas of training will need to be incorporated: interpersonal skills, keys to the group they serve and resources they may need and where to find them.

Interest training

One of the basic steps in all volunteering is the question: why volunteer? This is the same as asking oneself what motivates a person to volunteer to help people. But it is not just a matter of evaluating this individually, but of learning how to carry out a personal and organizational analysis to ensure that one's own reality will not negatively affect one's work and that, in the long run, it can be a benefit.

Here it will be a matter, therefore, of training on their own feelings and working on the ability to manage emotions, always moving forward with the aim of separating their daily life from that of volunteering. Thus, it will be necessary that the organizations offer training tools to their teams to guarantee their emotional stability.

From the beginning, the organizations must be clear about the entry profile of the volunteers, who, upon their return, must have a clear idea of their tasks. However, it will only be through constant follow-up through meetings and interviews to learn about the team's difficulties that a training itinerary can be established to help the person to enhance their positive aspects and acquire new skills.

Training on interpersonal skills

In dealing with people it is necessary to work on a series of skills, especially if it is a question of carrying out care activities. In addition to the specific skills needed to care for the specific group with which we work, and even before acquiring these skills, there are the relational or interpersonal skills. For this reason, organizations must offer training in relation to receptivity and the ability to observe, because only by knowing in detail the situation to be addressed can the person be attended to effectively.

Also in relation to relational skills, volunteers in the care of people will have to work on skills such as active listening, empathy and assertiveness, so that the teams are able to put themselves in the place of the people they care for without, at the same time, becoming overly involved. The objective is to know and master the limits, otherwise the task will not be carried out correctly.

Training on the group

In addition to the more general training on personal work, all organizations that work with people will have to offer their volunteers more specific training on the group they serve and the activity they carry out. This will be, really, the core of the volunteer's training itinerary. We will try to offer them transversal and multidisciplinary skills, and it will always be necessary to count on the collaboration of professionals in the field of action (psychology, social work, inclusion, sociology, pedagogy, education...).

In order to prepare this area of training it will be necessary to take into account not only the sector of the population served (elderly, children, adolescents, adults...), but also the context in which it is found, the specificities within the same group. It is not the same to work with children in an institution for early childhood education as with hospitalized children.

At the same time, it is also necessary to offer training to volunteers on the activities they will carry out. For example, people who work with elderly people who are alone will have to know how to help them in case they have difficulties to move; and if, on the other hand, the volunteer is dedicated to teach language classes to newcomers, he/she will not only have to have pedagogical skills, but also resources to attend emotionally to people in immigrant situations.

Training of resources

When working with people, apart from using the skills and knowledge mentioned above, volunteers need to have resources that go beyond knowledge itself, which are actually tools to facilitate their work in caring for people. The aim is to introduce resources such as games, relaxation techniques, team dynamics or corporal expression to their repertoire that are flexible and easily adaptable depending on the issue to be worked on with the specific group.

These resources allow volunteers to improve their relationship with the people they work with, and will greatly facilitate the exchange necessary to carry out their work in the most optimal way possible.


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