Volunteer training

As well as ensuring your volunteers have the right skills, developing your volunteers encourages engagement and retention


Volunteer development opportunities
Affiliated club conferences

Open to all affiliated clubs, increase your knowledge at our annual conferences

Club development workshops

Join one of our workshops and get upskilled in topics that are relevant to you and your club

Disability awareness training

Find out how to support your volunteers confidence by running disability awareness training

Instructor training days

Open to all instructors and race coaches - take a look at the exciting development opportunities being run online and a events near your club

Instructor and coach CPD

Take a look at the wealth of instructor and coach opportunities there are to participate in

Digital marketing hub

Take a look at the excellent resources in this excellent Sport England resource


Overcoming barriers to training

Volunteers  often  don’t  have  the  time  or the  money  to  undertake  training.  Asking people to give their time to volunteering is difficult enough so,in some circumstances,asking  for  more  time  to  train  to  do  the  job  might  just  be one step too far (Sport England, 2003).

Money Issues

The following scenario will help to explain why money isn’t always an issue:

“We’re a small club –we can’t afford to train our volunteers”

  • It  only  takes  one  person  to  have  an  instructor  qualification  to  give guidance to other members.
  • Smaller  clubs  could  run  informal  ‘in-house’  training,  for  instance: tips/pointers, an introduction to sailing or guidance on instruction.
  • Hire   an   instructor   for   the   weekend   and   offer   reduced   rates   to members.
  • Join forces with other local clubs or water sports centres, try and get a group of members together and then you may be eligible for a group discount.
  • Remember investment  will  pay  off – help  to  fund  a  couple  of volunteers to do courses and they could eventually teach a multitude of club members!

Time Constraints

“We have a good volunteer pool but not all volunteers are around at the same time”.

  • Plan training weekends well in advance –include dates and venues at the beginning of the season in the club calendar.  This way, members know when they can get training and will plan attendance well ahead.
  • Or, if you are unsure send out a form to gauge interest for training and plan as appropriate: do this at the beginning of the year.
  • Organise a few weekends through the season, so members can pick and choose.  Put the most important courses early on so volunteers are ready for the coming year, i.e. race officer, safety boat or sail training. ‘Refresher sessions’ are a good idea for these roles.
  • Two shorter sessions might be more accessible than one. Parents, for example, may be happy to attend training whilst their children are at club sessions.
  • Occasionally, substitute training for regular meetings when volunteers would normally expect to be at the club anyway.

Make training accessible

Ensure that facilities are accessible for your disabled volunteers.  Think about timing  and try  to  present  options  to  volunteers,  think  about  the  suggestions above.

It  is  important  to  remember  that  different  clubs  will  have different  barriers  to training. Some  may  be  financially  stretched,  or some  may  have  a  large membership so getting people in one place at one time could be an issue.  In some circumstances actually getting to the venue may be an obstacle!

Whatever  your  club’s  issues  with  training,  don’t  worry,  Think about what the possible barriers are and how the club can overcome them.