Certificate in Volunteering (Special Purpose Award at NFQ Level 6)

 09 May 2018

Currently volunteering or interested in volunteering – If so, why not gain academic credit for the contribution you are making to society through your volunteerism?

Coinciding with National Volunteering Week, the Department of Lifelong Learning, at Athlone Institute of Technology is launching a Certificate in Volunteering (Special Purpose Award at NFQ Level 6) on Tuesday 15th May at 11am, in Earl of Ross Theatre, AIT.

This unique programme commencing this September (2018) sets out to support and reward the great contribution so many are making in the community through their efforts, in a voluntary capacity. It also seeks to assist them through the creation of a common language, framework and understanding of the dynamics of volunteerism.

This programme will support engagement in volunteering via theory, group work, role plays, and scenarios while also supporting experiential learning, as participants engage in their volunteering activities.

Dr Michael Tobin, Head of Department of Lifelong Learning when discussing the programme commented ‘this programme is relevant to all voluntary groups and associations irrespective of how big or small. I anticipate that the big volunteering organisations may in time deliver the programme in a bespoke manner to their particular volunteers focussing on their values, roles and beliefs. While smaller groups may seek that one person just attends the generic volunteering programme at AIT. The design of the programme is such that it may also be delivered in an online /blended learning format also.

Currently he advised that he is already in discussions with a number of volunteering agencies, including members of the Leinster Branch of the IRFU, who are considering the programme as a way of rewarding their volunteers, as volunteers will get a formal NFQ level 6 qualification for their efforts, while each club will benefit also through the anticipated improvement in the impact of their volunteers.

On completion participants will have a framework that will better enable them to reflect and understand their impact within their volunteering agency or indeed their impact on those that they are assisting. Through this, they will continually review their activity and assess how they may improve their impact, expand their activity/service or indeed simply understand the issues and constraints required to simply maintaining their current level of volunteering activities.
To attend the programme volunteers must undertake a minimum of 40 hours volunteering over a semester or three or four hours per week over one semester. This is the minimum and not the maximum and this may change depending on an agencies requirements. Volunteers will keep a log of the hours they spend volunteering. Assessment is based on the volunteers / students reflective report and presentation and not the outcome or impact of the volunteering activity. Currently the AIT to support Volunteering and to recognise the invaluable contribution of Volunteers nationally is offering the programme at €95 per person.

For further details on the programme, please contact Ms Jenny Cooper at the Department of Lifelong Learning on 09064 83053 or by email or you can attend the launch on Tuesday 15th May at 11am, in Earl of Ross Theatre, AIT.

National Volunteering Week will take place from 14th – 20th May 2018. It is a whole week dedicated to highlighting volunteering across Ireland and is run in partnership with the network of Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services.

This year’s theme is Volunteering Builds Better Communities. From local Tidy Towns groups to Community First Responders and the parents coaching their children’s sports teams – coming together to give back makes a community stronger. When people volunteer they feel closer to their community and the people in it, and they take pride in their community. For further details on National Volunteering week, please see the website