National Volunteer Certificate (NVC)
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust voluntary services was involved in the HEE pilot for the National Volunteer Certificate (NVC). As an additional way to support our volunteers at The Royal Marsden, we offer an opportunity to participate in the National Volunteer Certificate (NVC) programme to achieve a nationally recognised certificate. This is a learning and development reflective programme which calls upon the participants to demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and ability around volunteering in a healthcare environment against 6 Core Standards. These standards are built upon the Care Certificate which explains why this has been particularly popular amongst our volunteers who aspire to go into a career in healthcare and is also a fantastic way for them to build skills in a structured way and really increases confidence. Many also plan to use the knowledge gained and the NVC award achievement to support applications for highly competitive medical studies places.
Theory training and putting this into practice by undertaking volunteer duties are the building blocks for this development programme which also requires the participant to use self-reflection to evidence how they meet the required standards. They are fully supported in their journey by The Royal Marsden’s dedicated NVC administrator who supports them to meet, and show how they meet, the standards. Volunteers need to be representative of the organisation they volunteer within, the NVC administrator is keen to guide them on this so that they can show that they are not ‘just’ a volunteer, that they are a Royal Marsden volunteer through knowing and demonstrating the key values, aims and brand.
The feedback from volunteers who have completed the NVC shows an increased awareness of their volunteering responsibilities and greater connection to the Trust values, personally all applicants improved their confidence, and volunteers with the aim of increasing their career opportunities have gained employment in Healthcare.
The potential to utilise this programme to build into and support the Volunteer to Career (V2C) pathway is being explored.
Gemma commenced volunteering in January 2021 and has been regularly volunteering to support our pharmacy department. Gemma signed up to the NVC for personal development and with the aim to eventually gain employment. Gemma successfully completed theory training and 30 hours of volunteer duties. The programme required Gemma to reflect upon volunteering within a health care setting and in particular her role as a volunteer and how she puts her theory training into practice and to provide written evidence of her knowledge, understanding and ability to meet the criteria of each of the 6 Core Standards of the NVC. The programme required personal commitment from Gemma, with support and guidance from our NVC administrator.
Gemma demonstrated not only her competency as a volunteer but also of her understanding of what it means to be a volunteer at The Royal Marsden, understanding the importance of The Royal Marsden values and demonstrating these during her volunteer duties. In view of this Gemma achieved her NVC in-house certificate in July this year.
Keen to build upon this, Gemma decided to top-up this award and immediately began working towards her NVC accreditation. This required Gemma to undertake a further 30 hours of volunteering duties at The Royal Marsden and to be observed during her volunteer duty. The accreditation is awarded by SFJ and HEE following their verification of the evidence meeting the Core Standards. We are very pleased that Gemma passed this, and HEE has issued her award.
Gemma wanted to take part in the programme to support her aim of finding employment following a 5-year career break. Post programme she reflects that “I have really enjoyed taking part in the NVC programme and gained so much from it. It has really enhanced my experience of volunteering for the Royal Marsden, giving me a greater depth of understanding of the Royal Marsden values and how as a volunteer I work to achieve these. It was very interesting being able to reflect on how my theoretical learning is used in my volunteering duties. One of the main reasons I decided to take part in the NVC programme was for personal development and to equip myself with skills and confidence to pursue paid employment within the health sector and now I am very proud to be working for the Royal Marsden as bank admin staff, currently supporting the carer card process”.
It would be great to hear from anyone else who is running the NVC at their Trust – contact Dawn.email@example.com for more information on the NVC programme.