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What training do charity workers need?

A network of charity employees

Having delivered high-quality eLearning to the charity sector to thousands of businesses for over a decade, we know a thing or two about workplace training.

We appreciate that figuring out training requirements isn’t always straightforward and can often be overwhelming. With so many variables including whether training is mandatory, if staff require the same training, or if different departments need specific training, organisations can have a tough time getting it right. This is where we step in.

We’ve put together this guide to help charities and not-for-profit organisations understand which training courses their staff may require.

First steps

Completing a risk assessment should always be the first step towards working out your training needs, as it helps you identify any risks associated with certain job roles.

Legally, all companies that employ five or more people must have written proof of a risk assessment. It is also important that organisations have a written Health & Safety policy. To ensure that this policy is effective, it should be regularly reviewed and shared with all staff.

You can find out more about the basics of Health & Safety in your business with the HSE’s Health & Safety made simple guide.

What training is mandatory?

When determining which courses staff require, the best place to start is often by covering the courses that are mandatory for all employees.

All employees must legally be given a form of Health & Safety Training by their employer. However, there are a number of other more specific courses that staff will also be required to complete. But let’s start by looking at the mandatory training courses...

Fire Awareness & Warden training

Regardless of a person's role in an organisation, they must legally be supplied with adequate Fire Safety Training and instruction from their employer.

Additionally, employers must also offer specialist Fire Warden Training to their appointed members of staff.

Employers have a number of fire safety responsibilities, including having an adequate and up-to-date fire risk assessment, a well signposted fire exit, as well as a designated fire assembly point.

DSE (Display Screen Equipment) training

Those who regularly use display screen equipment (DSE) as part of their work must legally be given DSE Training.

You can find out what is considered DSE and what staff should be considered DSE users on our blog.

Manual Handling training

If staff are required to be involved in tasks that involve lifting, lowering, pulling, or pushing, they must be provided with Manual Handling Training in order to teach them proper techniques to alleviate risk.

Regardless of whether the manual handling tasks are frequent, training should always be given.

Organisations that are just looking to cover mandatory training can check out our mandatory training bundle.

​​Other training considerations for charity staff

Other core health & safety

COSHH - Despite not being a legal requirement, those who regularly work with dangerous substances should receive adequate training to ensure they can work safely. Those who work in the charity sector that require this type of training would include cleaners and caretakers.

Slips, Trips, and Falls - Another staple of core health & safety training is slips, trips, and falls. Most organisations have slip, trip, or fall hazards on their premises, so it is best practice to ensure employees are aware of how to minimise risk.

First Aid - Every organisation requires ‘adequate and appropriate’ first aid provisions. This includes facilities, equipment, and personnel. Designated first aiders must be provided with face-to-face training, which should be carried out every three years, with regular refresher training in between.

Risk Assessment - Organisations with five or more employees are required to have a written risk assessment. Those who carry out the assessment must be competent in assessing risks; something which can be achieved with effective training.

Accident Reporting - Legally, employers must report all incidents that have occured on their premises, regardless of how big or small the incident might be. It is down to the organisation’s appointed person to record these incidents. Therefore, it is crucial that they have a strong understanding of how to properly report an incident.

HR essentials

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion - Working in the charity sector often involves working with a diverse group of people. Employees should understand the benefits of a diverse workforce, which they can be taught through the use of a short training course. This is a fantastic way to increase morale, improve staff retention rates and to have a positive company culture.

Disability Awareness - There are currently over 4.1 million disabled people in work in the UK, which means most organisations are likely to employ someone with a disability. It is imperative that every employee understands the importance of creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace culture.

Bullying & Harassment - All employees should be able to feel comfortable and safe in their place of work. Making sure that employees are aware of what is considered bullying is the starting point for workplaces to prevent it from happening. What can often be mistaken for banter can be harmful to some and it’s important to understand how our behaviour can affect others.

Sexual Harassment Awareness - Roughly 60% of UK adults believe that better sexual harassment training would be an effective way to reduce it in the workplace.

Drug & Alcohol Awareness - Alcohol abuse can ruin lives and it is the cause of roughly 17 million lost working days annually. Through the use of online training, organisations can help raise awareness on substance abuse and the effects it has.

Mental health & wellbeing

Regardless of the sector someone works in, their mental health can have a toll on their overall wellbeing and it’s important that this is acknowledged by employers and employees alike.

However, working in the charity sector can pose an increased risk of poor mental wellbeing, having to often deal with a number of emotional challenges and stressful situations.

All employees should be provided with the right tools and training to help them understand and improve their mental health & wellbeing.

It is so important that we break the negative stigma surrounding mental health, and organisations should be leading from the front in order to do so. Encouraging staff to open up about the emotional challenges they’re facing is a stepping stone to a happy and productive workforce.

Data security

Organisations working in the charity sector like have a number of employees that regularly handle data and work on computers and other smart devices. This could include confidential email communications, handling financial records, and much more.

With the laws surrounding data protection putting more pressure on businesses and cyber activity becoming far more common in recent years, organisations must invest in effective training to give employees an understanding of how to mitigate risks.

GDPR Training (or the equivalent for your territory) and Cyber Security Awareness Training are the bare minimum amount of training courses that employees should be enrolled on.

Bribery and corruption

Organisations in the charity sector will have employees that are frequently in contact with external suppliers, partners, and many others outside of the organisation. This could leave them, and the charity, vulnerable to bribery or corruption.

Victims of corruption and bribery are often caught even though their wrongdoings are unintentional, which means it is crucial for them to understand what to look out for.

Soft skills

With soft skills being an integral part of an employee’s skill set, it is important that employers give their staff the opportunity to develop these critical skills.

In fact, soft skills are more important now than they ever have been, with 93% of employers agreeing that they see soft skills as an “essential” or “very important” factor in their hiring decisions.

Some key soft skills include: 

Looking for high-quality, cost-effective training?

We support over 10,000 UK clients with our high-quality and affordable online training courses. With over 130 courses available, an easy to use Learning Management System, and unrivalled support, sorting workplace training has never been easier!

We’ve helped a number of charities and not-for-profit organisations with their workplace training. See how we’ve helped Mind achieve their training goals.

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