Following on from the successful completion of the two heritage brochures, my next individual project was not something taken from the original ‘to do’ list. Rather, the task of evaluating and re-vamping the volunteer training program was spontaneously suggested by Maggy one afternoon. As an ‘outsider’ or unbiased third-party, with an education in heritage , she anticipated that I would be able to spot any flaws, drawback and omissions in the current program, and make suggestions to improve upon it in readiness for the new year training sessions in February 2010.
To evaluate the program, I reviewed Maggy’s notes and handouts from previous years, and spoke with volunteers who had gone through the training previously about what they liked and disliked. Drawing on my experience from giving and receiving lectures, and my understanding of the volunteer role within the Heritage Centre, I proceeded to cull, add and rearrange areas of the program. Most significantly I shortened the program from four days to two, and cut out all the tests and role-plays, which from the feedback i gathered, were found to be unpleasant and discouraging to participants.
I put the new program into a PowerPoint presentation, which would be easy to use and follow. My aims for the final product were like those of any presentation I put together – that it have a logical order, be relevant and to the point, and be engaging. I used phrases from current policy and procedures documents to make the presentation more professional, and more familiar to Maggy, as she would be the one running the program at the end of the day.
The new volunteer training program was successfully launched in February of this year, and to my surprise Maggy was able to condense it further from two whole days to two half days, which was much more convenient for the participants.