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Introducing Joanne Truscott, Welfare Training Manager for the RAF Association. We asked Joanne about her role.
I have been involved in the delivery of training for around 20 years and worked in further education colleges and two large charities before joining the RAF Association four years ago.
I manage and run the Welfare Volunteer Training programme and am now based within the HR and Volunteering Team.
What is your role at the RAF Association and what does it involve?
I have developed the ‘Level 1’ training programme for our welfare volunteers who support our beneficiaries. I aim to ensure that our training reflects the changing needs of our beneficiaries, as well as giving our volunteers a worthwhile and enjoyable experience.
The Level 1 course is a national qualification in welfare support work and requires a formal assessment process, which takes up a fair amount of time at the end of each three-day course. We are a registered centre for this qualification, so much of my role focuses on the co-ordination and management of all processes and procedures.
I recently developed the new Befriender course, which aims to support those people who are lonely and isolated, and give them the ‘tools’ to reconnect with their community. Writing this course was a great opportunity to consider what skills our volunteers need in order to have a positive impact on these people’s lives. It has been wonderful to see this through from inception through to completion, as well as seeing those volunteers go back to their local areas and actually start working with a lonely member of the RAF family.
Tell us about one of the most enjoyable aspects of your job
I thoroughly enjoy being a trainer (possibly because I talk too much! – but I know I’ve found my vocation). Delivering training to volunteers and supporting them through their development is hugely satisfying. As well as those mentioned above, I have also developed a range of continuing professional development courses to encourage our volunteers to keep learning and ensure their skills remain fresh. This year we will be offering courses in understanding bereavement, safeguarding and mental capacity, social care and benefits, advanced listening skills and mental health first aid, as well as refresher update training. Each course brings people together from different backgrounds and experiences, and this makes each course individual. I really do enjoy all the positives that volunteers bring to the charity.
How do volunteers impact on your role and department?
Volunteers are what my job is about. Their ongoing personal development means that they return at different stages of their volunteer journey and it’s great to meet up with them again and see how their roles have grown.
I admire what they do – giving their time and their energy freely (and there isn’t much in life that is free) so to work with people who are often already very busy, but who are kind and willing to support someone else for no financial incentive, is nothing less than awe inspiring.