What have we learnt so far?

UK sending organisations came together to discuss thekey learnings throughout the IVO4all field trials as wereach the end of our recruitment period. Throughevaluating our practice we have identified solutions tothe challenges we have faced which we will use to betterengage, support and retain young people with feweropportunities. 

As the UK field trials are now coming to the end of their recruitment period, an IVO4All delivery meeting was held which gave staff the opportunity to share the key challenges and learnings of the IVO4All UK field trial so far. Representatives from all 4 sending organisations were present at the meeting and took part in activities to highlight how they have adapted existing processes to effectively recruit and support volunteers from the IVO4All selection criteria.

One of the key adjustments to practice that was identified has been spending additional time communicating with volunteers. Feedback from all sending organisations stated that when the staff managing the IVO4All applications had the opportunity to speak to all of the volunteers on the phone and had sent out personalised text messages and emails, the volunteers they worked with were much more engaged and motivated.

Adapting the volunteer training has been initially challenging due to the additional time this added to the overall training. However key aims and objectives were outlined along with sample sessions and sending organisations were encouraged to incorporate this into their existing training to reduce time pressures. In particular, the new session on diversity and inclusion gave volunteers a different perspective on the benefits of having a diverse team. Feedback from volunteers on this new session has been overwhelmingly positive and this has meant that other organisations working on the ICS programme have already enquired about delivering this for their volunteers. Staff are looking forward to reviewing how this training has impacted the volunteer’s ability to work as a team on placement. 

This meeting gave sending organisations the opportunity to highlight the key learnings to date from the IVO4All pilot and allowed people to recognise the significant changes in practice they had made to make their programmes more accessible to this group. Feedback was unanimous across the sending organisations that the adjustments that were being made for the IVO4All pilot applicants was something that was useful to all volunteers. This session really helped raise awareness of the journey each organisation had been on to learn about this group of young people and how to support them effectively. All organisations have made lasting changes to the way they work as a direct result of the IVO4All pilot.


Author and photo credit : Lyndsey Draper, VSO, Inclusion Specialist