Understand what induction for a new volunteer is all about, and how to support it.
What we mean by induction
Let’s rewind. Imagine you want to join Scouts for the first time, a new volunteering opportunity that's completely unfamiliar to you. When you first join, you want to feel welcomed and guided, so you can learn what Scouts is all about. This is what we mean by induction.
Induction is our settling-in period, a time where we want to give volunteers an extra special welcome to make sure they have a great start with us. It helps them get to grips with what to do, what to expect and how to be the best they can be while volunteering. It’s about having fun, making new friends and doing exciting things together.
What to include
During induction, we should provide help, support and guidance so new volunteers feel welcomed into their role. We will:
Let them know what it’s all about and what we do. Show them why we’re a great organisation and listen to them to find out what they’re expecting from us. Tell them how things work on the ground by explaining our sections, structure and how things fit together locally. We’ll go through who the different teams are and their responsibilities. Finally, we’ll point them in the direction of people they can go to with any questions.
Chat to them about how it all works. Explain what they’re expected to do within their team, and discuss what tasks they’d like to take on.
As part of induction, we’ll equip them with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to do their tasks. This way, they should feel confident with what they’ve agreed to take on.
Following our Scouts values and Promise is a key part of being a volunteer with us. We need to keep young people safe and make sure our new volunteers have all this information handy. We'll show them the Yellow Card and explain how this works, and its importance for safeguarding our young people.
We’ll also go through the Promise with them. Anyone who shares our fundamental values can be a Scout. Every Scout's unique, but they find common ground in their shared Scout values and make a commitment to them through the Scout Promise and Law.
It’s important Scouts is inclusive, so there are variations of the Promise to reflect the range of Scouts’ faiths and beliefs. Are they happy to make their preferred version of the Promise and become a full member? Are they familiar with Scouts culture? This will give them a great idea about our values and help them understand how they’ll fit in as a volunteer.
It’s a great opportunity for them to meet and connect with other volunteers and begin building relationships locally. This’ll help them form a sense of belonging and find their feet within their role.
Make sure they know where to find the things they’ll need. Do they know their way around their regular Scouts meeting place and what they’ll need to run our programme?
Someone new may be filled with loads of questions about Scouts. They may be unsure on the terminology we use or section specific terms. Now is a great time to make sure we answer these openly and honestly, to give them all the information they’ll need, and help put any uncertainties aside as they settle in. Regularly checking in is key and helps us make sure they have a positive experience at Scouts.
Inducting new volunteers
It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure we look after our volunteers, however long they’ve been involved with Scouts. When someone new joins a team, it’s down to all members of the team, not just the Team Leader, to make sure the new Team Member has the right tools and information they need to do their role.
- The Team Leader/Lead Volunteer should oversee the new volunteer’s induction but doesn’t have to be the only person involved.
- The other Team Members should collaborate with the new volunteer to give them different experiences, and a proper feel for what Scouts is like.
Useful resourcesTo help support new volunteers, we’ve created some new tools:
A handy welcome pack (available January 2024) to give to new volunteers which contains all the basic information they’ll need about Scouts.
It’ll talk through our general expectations of them as a volunteer, and what they can expect from their volunteer experience.
We’ll still need to provide them with some local information and key contacts, but the welcome pack should be a great starting point for everything they’ll need to know about Scouts.
As part of their induction, almost all volunteers will need to complete these four pieces of learning in their first six months. It’ll help everyone get off to a great start in Scouts. From these pieces of learning, volunteers will gain key information, tools and skills they’ll need throughout their time with Scouts.
Growing Roots learning has four parts:
- Who we are and what we do
- Creating inclusion
- Data protection
- Safe Scouting
How we'll give a smooth induction
When a new volunteer joins, they’ll have to complete some steps before becoming a full member. Being a full member just means they’ve completed all our necessary checks and learning.
But, this isn’t all that they’ll need to do. While they’ll need to complete some things on scouts.org.uk, they’ll also be able to do other induction steps in person and locally too, at a time which suits them. For example, they’ll need to make their Scout promise when they feel ready.
One new volunteer may do these steps in a different order to someone else, and that’s OK! It’s about allowing them to take things at their own pace and knowing what to expect.
Show this handy image to new volunteers, so they’re aware of what’s to come and how to follow their progress on their joining journey.