Equipping our volunteers with Skills and Knowledge

AFS is one of very few comprehensive exchange programs in the world that provides 100% of both its in-bound and out-bound exchange services. This increases the amount of skills and knowledge AFS volunteers must manage on a daily basis.

To accomplish this, it is necessary to have a long-term training strategy for each of the volunteer career paths. Which skills and knowledge do volunteers need for the different pathways? How much training do each of the pathways require before a volunteer can be effective and appropriate in a certain role?

Creating a national or regional volunteer training pool is an effective strategy for maintaining training costs low and sustainable for the long-term. Training and development opportunities should be available to all interested volunteers as long as they meet the qualifications.

Check out the below video to learn how AFS Germany manages the Training stage:

Steps to Consider

As you develop training opportunities for your volunteers make sure you consider the following elements:

• What are the specific skills and knowledge required for tasks and roles in the different volunteer career paths?

• Is there a preferred sequence for acquiring these skills and knowledge?

• Which roles and/or volunteer career paths have the greatest rotation? Which ones require more long-term commitment? Does your development strategy reflect these variations? (e.g. high rotation = shorter training sequences, offered frequently throughout the year; long-term commitment = progressively advanced levels of preparation).

• What training and development opportunities might be most appealing to the different motivation profiles? Below are some possible examples:


Are you ready to start creating a training strategy?

Your task now will be to interview a Volunteer Development Coordinator from another AFS Partner Organization. Choose a partner you are interested on because you are curious how such a (small, large, diverse, young, experienced, healthy) organization structures their trainings.

Find some suggested questions here