– When I heard that an in-service training program that leads to a degree is starting for volunteer coordinators, I was super exited! says Elisabet Hallikainen from Sylva ry.
Hallikainen’s wish came through when she was accepted to the first immediate supervisor degree training program for volunteer coordinators. The program started at the Espoo area multidisciplinary education provider Omnia in the fall of 2017. She had already completed volunteer leadership studies at the HUMAK University of Applied Sciences and participated eagerly in the Valikko-network training seminars.
– In addition to learning through work, I think that educating oneself is important, and I like development work. Training helps me to examine my own work and the methods I use, she says.
In her job at Sylva ry, Hallikainen develops national volunteer activities that support children and young people with cancer and their families. The currents strengths of the organization are peer support and volunteering at events. Now they want to develop other kinds of volunteering opportunities as well: How to attract volunteers, who have no personal experience with cancer? When a company contacts the organization and wants to donate a day of every employee’s work time, what tasks can they be given?
Of the contents of the training program, Hallikainen was especially enthusiastic about utilizing service design in volunteer coordination: how important it is to know the needs and wishes of the target group – you have to ask to find out.
– The training covered many practical things, which have been directly helpful in my everyday work, for example, when it comes to designing volunteering tasks. I have also benefited from studying human resources. In addition, volunteer coordination is a topic that should get more attention – I learned about that during my training, as well.
The training program is suitable for volunteer coordinators in all fields and sectors
Elisabet Hallikainen mentions that during the training program, she got valuable professional peer support from other volunteer coordinators – support and direct tips how others have solved certain problems. Meeting others and creating networks also enable new collaborations in the future.
– It was advantageous that the training group consisted of people from all over Finland and from different kinds of organizations. I recommend this to all volunteer coordinators! Our group had veterans of the field, but the training is suitable also for those, who are just starting this job.
According to Hallikainen, she feels privileged for being in the first training group. Through the Valikko-network, she also took part in designing the contents of the training even before it began.
The training program is still being refined based on the feedback from the current group. Applications to the next training will be accepted until 21.9.2018.
Omnia website for the training program (in Finnish)
Valikko-network Planner, Kansalaisareena ry
Translation: Satu Puolitaival