More than 125 000 volunteers in the UK contribute to hospice care in a wide range of roles (Hospice UK, 2006). Wigan and Leigh Hospice has over 750 volunteers who give their time in the varying departments within the hospice on a daily basis. As an organisation we felt it vital that we provide them with the skills that they needed to best fulfil their role. Initially this training was delivered face-to-face in groups, covering specific areas including health and safety, infection control and safeguarding. Topics that the paid staff completed, as although in a volunteer role, they are in effect working for the organisation so it was important that they received very similar information. This was effective and they found it helpful, however, a number of volunteers are in employment or studying so often found it difficult to attend a face-to-face sessions. On review it was thought that a more flexible way of delivering the training would be via an e-learning package that the volunteers could access within the hospice or from home at a time to suit them. A volunteer e-learning module was put together and it is expected that volunteers complete this every two years. The module sits on our mandatory training system which also acts as a learning management system holding records of completion. There are a set of questions at the end of the module and the volunteers are expected to achieve a set percentage to pass the mandatory training. This evidences the learning that they have taken away on completion of the module. Those less computer literate will be offered support to complete the module within the hospice. The module is currently being piloted by a group of volunteers with the intent to roll this out to the remaining volunteers.
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