Guide to completing the National Volunteer Certificate

The aim of the National Volunteer Certificate is to provide a standardised approach to induction to support safe effective volunteering in all settings

The Volunteer Certificate has 6 core standards, supported by a suite of e-learning sessions.  Completion of the sessions provides the theoretical knowledge to support the standards.  This will support volunteers in their volunteering experience and allow them to demonstrate that they have skills, knowledge and behaviours to enable them to volunteer safely and effectively.  These standards are also underpinned by a specific period of volunteering hours.  Both of these elements are required to achieve the National Volunteer Certificate.

  • The 6 core standards cover important aspects of induction common to volunteers in all settings and provide important underpinning knowledge before they commence in any volunteering role
  • The Volunteer Certificate Standards have been mapped to the Care Certificate and to the Core Skills Training Framework in health, and will provide some transferable theoretical knowledge for those considering careers in health and care

Core Standards of the Volunteer Certificate

Mandatory Standards

  • Standard 1: Your role and responsibilities
  • Standard 2: Communication
  • Standard 3: Respect for everyone (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion)
  • Standard 4: Safeguarding
  • Standard 5: Mental Health, Dementia and Learning Disabilities
  • Standard 6: Health and Safety

Optional standards to support specific volunteering roles

  • Standard 7: Fluids and nutrition
  • Standard 8: Basic Life Support
  • Standard 9: Moving and assisting

The Volunteer Certificate Standards in context

Each volunteer starting in a new role will undergo an induction specific to their organisation. Within this induction will be content to meet some of the outcomes of the Volunteer Certificate Standards. However additional learning will need to take place to fully meet all of the standards. E-learning sessions have been developed, with the support of volunteers, to cover these areas.  Some organisations may choose to use other methods to meet the standards, such as face to face or in-house learning.

Volunteers will be encouraged to complete the theoretical learning for the Volunteer Certificate within the first 6-8 weeks after they commence in the organisation.  There are 11 e-learning sessions which should take no more than 30 minutes to complete for each one.  They can be completed at home, using a laptop or tablet.  They do not require an organisational email to complete them. At the end of each session the volunteer will be asked to take a short multiple choice test.  Once this is successfully completed the volunteer will receive a certificate of session completion.

In order to achieve the theoretical component of the Volunteer Certificate the volunteer will share the record of their completion with their manager, who will maintain a record of this.

Evidence of Volunteering Practice

The Volunteer Certificate Standards clearly state what the expectation is in regard to the performance of the volunteer. As a result of their knowledge and understanding they should be able to competently function in the volunteer role. In order to achieve the National Volunteer Certificate, the volunteer must also evidence a period of valid volunteering experience.   The evidence must come from real volunteering activity and not be simulated.  The volunteer’s manager must retain a record of the volunteering hours for each volunteer that they put forward for the Volunteer Certificate.

Awarding the National Volunteer Certificate

A volunteer and their organisation can choose one of two ways to achieve the Volunteer Certificate.   We recognise that not all volunteers will wish to have an accredited certificate and that an in-house model for the certificate may be suitable for them. As a result we have proposed two separate approaches for completion.

The In-House Volunteering Award

Designed for volunteers that may practice their volunteering in a very specific area or for a short period of time, there is an opportunity for Trusts to set up an in-house assessment of completion and award an organisational certificate.  In order to achieve this, the organisation must ensure that the volunteer completes learning to meet the 6 core standards of the certificate and completes at least 30 hours of volunteering practice.  Volunteers can then be awarded the badge for the National Volunteer Certificate and an in-house certificate indicating that this covers the 30 hours of volunteering practice.  Health Education England will provde a template certificate for organisations to customise.

National Award – accredited by Skills for Justice and awarded by Health Education England

Designed for volunteers that intend to have longer periods of practice, those working in wide ranging roles, or those that may choose to use their practice to support a career going forward. In order to achieve this, the organisation must ensure that the volunteer completes learning to meet the 6 core standards of the certificate and completes at least 60 hours of volunteering practice.  As experienced volunteers may be chosen to do this they will be able to count up to 20 hours of volunteering completed prior to commencing their learning.    The volunteer’s manager will submit the evidence of session completion and volunteering hours to Health Education England and the volunteer will receive a digital (QR) coded certificate and be awarded the National Volunteer Certificate badge.