There’s no secret that volunteers add enormous value to school communities, not just in relieving and fulfilling necessary duties.
Primary and secondary schools rely on volunteers for multiple activities. From managing the canteen, running uniform shops, coaching sporting teams and countless fundraising efforts from cake stalls to fetes and everything in between.
They also mentor and support students, their presence fostering feelings of connectedness and inclusive school community to help build a better educated community, the cornerstone of student’s learning process.
As you know, inducting a volunteer to your school comes with a substantial amount of compliance, governance and timely paperwork. With the number of volunteers schools rely on, the very nature that volunteers are leaving, and new ones are constantly starting. Making for a time-intensive, manual and arduous task to manage the necessary paperwork and processes – a burden that has fallen greatly on staff.
Fujifilm Business Innovation’s education expert Daniel Thomas explains “We hear all about the time-consuming process of emailing induction forms to candidates, followed by the irritating process over the next few weeks of chasing up incomplete or missing documentation, by the time your head is above water it’s time to offboard the volunteer and complete the process all over again ready for the next term.”
“In a busy working environment with concrete deadlines, things can slip through the cracks. Without proper documentation and training, volunteers may not be equipped to handle certain situations that may arise in school settings. If something were to go wrong and it was found that the school didn’t have proper documentation or training records for it’s volunteers, it could face legal and reputational consequences.”
There’s a real need for a digital induction solution, not only to reduce time but a very integral legal and compliance side that schools should consider.
The compliance to managing volunteers in your school
Schools must ensure their volunteers meet the legal requirements to be eligible to work with students. At a bare minimum, schools must manage volunteer documentation that satisfies the following;
- A valid Working with Children Check (WWCC), Blue Card (QLD) or Working with Vulnerable People registration (ACT),
- Completing Child Protection and Code of Conduct training as part of their induction, with records of this training being completed.
- Understanding of the school’s various health and safety protocols.
We understand this sounds easier to achieve compared to the reality of managing the process and keeping documentation up-to date.
Volunteers must keep their legal requirements valid and in date. The school needs to track this and have validated documentation on file. Governance and changes to school policies will mean that even the same volunteers will undergo compliance training more than once at times. Schools need to track and record training records for all volunteers and ensure they are up to date.
This process can become timely with manual processes carried out by school admin staff to send out forms, documents, and agreements by email. Then needing to print forms, documents and agreements, sign then scam them, and return via email/post hard copies to the school. Where school staff then need to check completion, review, validate and then manage the recording and storing of this information. That is if it runs smoothly, which we know more often than not, it doesn’t. Creating more follow up for school staff chasing incomplete documentation, or documentation not returned at all.
Current volunteer onboarding processes pose significant compliance risks to schools, and greater risk to our students. It is 2023, it no longer must be this way.
Why schools should be looking to digitise their volunteer induction programs
Education Horizons 2022 School Report found:
- School management’s priorities for the year strongly reflected the need for streamlining administrative tasks (50% of respondents) and improving data management (47%).
- The technology staff (14% of respondents) noted their top two challenges are managing security risks (55%) and ensuring data security standards were met (42%).
Fujifilm’s Business Innovation’s solution, EdInduct has been specifically designed with schools in mind. EdInduct accelerates the induction process of school volunteers significantly reducing staff involvement, whilst mitigating security risks:
- Easy-to-use digital platform for generating, uploading, reviewing, completing, and exchanging induction documentation between the school and worker.
- Automates workflows, notifications and reminders throughout the induction process.
- Provides full audit traceability; and
- Offers a mobile-friendly cloud-based solution
And it has been designed so that staff can use it intuitively,
- “Drag and drop” functionality facilitates self-service
- Implementation is quick and simple.
The benefits aren’t just your school’s though, your volunteers benefit too:
- Faster responses – EdInduct enables your school to reach out to volunteers quickly and begin sharing information straight away. Before they have even started, volunteers can learn more about your school, how it operates, the people and students they will be working with and activities they will be assisting with.
- Greater connection – EdInduct provides a smooth and streamlined induction experience that gives volunteers a greater sense of belonging. Resulting in helping them to feel more accepted and valued in the school community.
- More meaningful experiences – EdInduct is a two-way communication process, helping schools and volunteers enjoy more meaningful exchanges. It also facilitates greater sharing and an opportunity to discover more about the volunteer, their skills and experience. Schools can leverage these skills in various volunteers’ activities, creating more meaningful experiences for volunteers, students and staff.
Digital solutions are being implemented across the entire education ecosystem. If your school is not digitising and automating your volunteer program, then it should be a high priority. Not only will it give school staff back valuable time by streamlining administrative tasks, but it’ll also mitigate compliance risk through digitised data management, document tracking with a solution that meets security standards. But most importantly of all, a volunteer induction solution will ensure the safety of students and the entire school community.
Talk to one of our Education experts today to find out how EdInduct can help your school.