Since moving into a new role as the Strategic Lead for Volunteering at Monmouthshire County Council, Owen is responsible for sixty staff in the volunteer network and just under 2,000 volunteers. The role involves training staff on volunteer management, implementing infrastructure, and supporting individual departments to develop their volunteer programmes.
Previously, Owen’s role involved improving a volunteering model within the Youth Service, creating a strategy, policy and implementing training for staff and volunteers, as well as directly supporting volunteers.
Owen’s interest lies in supporting and mobilising communities to make an impact on their priorities. He has successfully secured a place for the council on the Cities of Service Impact Volunteering coalition, and works with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action in volunteering within local government.
Although his role is now a more strategic one, Owen still gets the opportunity to directly recruit, support and develop volunteers across the county, especially in support of major events.
Owen decided to enrol on the on the ILM Level 5 Certificate in Management of Volunteers through PNE Development as a means of validating the experience he had already gained in his job roles, and to provide the opportunity to gain knowledge of current best practice in volunteer management.
Commenting on the impact of his qualification, Owen said, “The qualification has been a positive experience and has given me the time to reflect on my own direction and practice. It gives me the professional recognition for something I have learned and developed over the past five years in my role at the council.
“The learning topics were directly relevant to my area of work, which has allowed me to explore, evaluate and develop my approach to managing volunteering.
The development of action plans is an area that has been particularly useful for Owen, and an assignment on ‘Promoting Volunteering’ enabled him to identify opportunities around social media, and he has identified local training to progress this.
Assignments on the diversity of volunteers enabled Owen to identify a gap in the strategy and data collection around volunteers. He is taking appropriate measures to ensure that the council’s volunteering programmes are representative of, and more accessible to all sections of the community.
“Implementing volunteer involvement across a large public sector organisation is challenging, but provides many opportunities. Completing the qualification provided me with the reassurance that, in Monmouthshire, we are on the right path in terms of building a positive and supportive culture and volunteering infrastructure,” said Owen.
Completing the qualification has also inspired Owen to plan a conference to demonstrate the impact, and raise the profile of volunteering within the council and across the county.