Volunteer Experience


This resource guides you through Module 2, Unit 3 Initial Volunteer Experience - Volunteer Experience (Activities 1, 2 & 3)


On completion PSYV's will:

  • Participate in five separate volunteering experiences

  • Demonstrate putting skills learned into practice

  • Reflect on the volunteering experience and impact


Group room or classroom and at a range of volunteering events, as scheduled by the Group Coordinator.


The notional time allocated to this topic is 60 hours. This is to include participation in at least five volunteering events.


Access to the volunteer hours tracker - for all YV's

Observation checklist

Observation checklist PDF

Reflection STAR Template

STAR Template online

PSYV STAR Reflection Example2
Download PDF • 295KB

Activity 1: Participate in Volunteering Activities

This is the main series of volunteering activities that you will organise for volunteers in your group. Many events will take place over the summer break. However there are other opportunities along the way from delivering leaflets to Christmas festivals. Each YV has to undertake a minimum of 5 events in order to achieve the award. At least one of the events should be at an all day event. When YV's complete the PSYV Award in Volunteering they are deemed to be 'ready' to attend events as a PSYV volunteer and have covered all of the essential. From here their knowledge and experience will continue to grow. They will also be eligible to attend national events on offer.

The Group Coordinators will organise when and how the observation checklists will be completed (activity 2). For example you might have 5 volunteers being observed at each event by 1 Adult or have all 24 YV's attending an event, split into groups and being observed by an AV. Breaking it down in this way makes it easier to manage.

Activity 2: Demonstrate Prior Learning

YV's will know in advance if they are going to be observed at an event and will know who will be observing them. This can be their Mentor or another suitably trained and experienced adult. The observation sheet allows the observer to make notes of when prior learning was used. For instance correct use of their radio, making notes in their pocket notebook, correct use of the phonetic alphabet, managing risks, lost and found, missing persons and so on. The main emphasis is that we want to see learning from the group sessions being put into practice in the appropriate way.

If the learning is being applied to a good standard, the observations should note and reinforce this. If some things weren't quite right, the observer should note that more practice is needed and advise the YV to revisit the knowledge and learning for that task. Remember YV's have 5 practice events. Only one of them is submitted for assessment and it is good to learn from what didn't work as much as what did.

Where YV's are drawing on a range of new skills to a good standard, this demonstrates that they are exceeding competence. For instance they may have called for first aid to someone in need, or dealt with a missing person incident or lost and found to a highly competent level.

Activity 3: Reflect on contribution to PSYV

For this exercise YV's will revisit the STAR template plan that was made in Unit 1 for one of the volunteering opportunities.

Using the same template YV's will reflect back on what they did. Was it the same or different to what was expected? What did they learn? What were the benefits of taking part? And what will they now change or do differently as a result of the learning and experience? See the above example to see what is expected, use this to work out which of the 5 events each volunteer should submit. Also use this to guide AV/GC's in determining whether the YV has passed.

Remember that we are developing YV's ability to reflect because it is proven to deepen learning from experience. This article explains some of the reasons. You can highlight these to YV's when explaining why they are being asked to complete this activity. This article describes the process and some of the theory. The STAR model is a simplified version of the theory. The STAR model is now often used in recruitment and in assessing people at interview. Therefore it's a great skill to have and mention when applying for work in future.

YV's are encouraged to complete a STAR reflection for all five experiences.

One will be selected and submitted for assessment [the other 4 remain in draft form].


The assessment for this activity is formative.

Unit 3 Activity 3: Reflect on contribution to PSYV In this activity the AV/GC will receive a STAR reflection form that YV’s are required to submit as a review of at least one of their five volunteering experiences.


Once you have delivered this session, complete this review.

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