Learning and development policy

Girlguiding is committed to encouraging learning and skills development

Approved: 14 April 2018
Version: 1
Content owner: Quality

Girlguiding doesn't just help our young members to grow. We can help you too.

As one of our amazing Girlguiding volunteers, you give your time and energy to ensure girls have a space in which to have fun, feel challenged, be inspired and grow. We want to make sure you have the opportunities you need to learn and develop with us too, to support you in gathering the skills and confidence you need to deliver great guiding.

This policy explains how Girlguiding supports learning and development and gives guidance about how you can access learning opportunities.

This policy is for all volunteers, in all roles. Because whether you're a new volunteer or someone who's been involved for a long time, we encourage and expect you to keep learning with us.


Girlguiding – means The Guide Association, registered charity no.306016, and all local units, countries, regions, counties, divisions and districts.

HQ – means the headquarters of Girlguiding.

Competency – means the abilities, commitment, knowledge and skills that enable an individual to act effectively in a role or situation.

Our policy

We're committed to helping you give the best guiding experiences. We offer you opportunities to grow the competencies you need to deliver a safe, quality, stimulating and legally compliant guiding experience to young members, in line with the Doing Our Best standards for good quality guiding and our Code of Conduct.

To achieve this, Girlguiding provides learning and development opportunities for volunteers of all ages and experience levels. We develop these learning opportunities with volunteers and subject experts and our face-to-face training and webinars are delivered by qualified members and excellent providers.

What do learning and development offers include?

You’ll find lots of help and opportunities to develop on your volunteer journey, including:

  • Induction to Girlguiding and your role
  • Development and refreshment of skills and knowledge for your role and responsibility
  • Role-related qualifications
  • Development of areas of your own personal interest (related to guiding)

Will Girlguiding’s learning and development offer be relevant to me?

Girlguiding tailors learning and development offers to be relevant to you. We have four principles to help this:

Excellence – our learning and development will be a consistently high quality, developed and delivered alongside appropriate experts where relevant, to support you to deliver your role excellently.

Accessible – we will offer learning and development opportunities to suit volunteers in different locations and with different learning preferences (for example, face-to-face training, self-directed learning, peer to peer - such as through the commissioner structure, and web-based learning).

Transparent – we will be clear about the learning and development you need to do for your role, how often you need to update your learning, and how we'll support you to access the right learning opportunities.

Proportionate – we don’t waste your time! We only ask you to undertake learning and development if it’s in proportion to your role – in other words, you need it to perform that role safely and confidently. And if you have equivalent experience or qualifications from outside guiding, we’ll recognise this.

Mandatory learning

Keeping our young members safe in guiding and giving them a quality guiding experience are our priorities. To ensure this can happen, some learning is mandatory for voluntary roles, and you must complete any mandatory learning required for any roles you take. Talk to your local commissioner for information.

Girlguiding also offers a range of optional learning and development opportunities. These are for volunteers who wish to further develop their skills, develop specialisms, or work towards formal qualifications.

Individual learning needs

Girlguiding’s approach to volunteer learning is to support and improve your capability to give quality guiding. This means that we are interested in the skills that you bring to the role and the areas that you can develop further to give the best guiding experience.
We focus on individual learning needs, existing skills and areas for development.

Recognised prior learning

Our volunteers are from diverse backgrounds and we recognise that you all bring your unique knowledge, skills and experiences to your role. So we assess your prior learning in line with the requirements for the role.

Ongoing learning

We want your time as a Girlguiding volunteer to be rewarding, with opportunities to learn new skills throughout your volunteering journey with us. We also aim to stay up to date with our own skills and practices so we continue to deliver a great guiding experience to girls.

It is Girlguiding’s expectation that all volunteers will be committed to completing the relevant learning for their role, and will keep up to date with new resources and programme initiatives as appropriate.

Accessibility and choice

We want you to be able to access learning that’s relevant to you as easily as possible. So we offer lots of learning choices and ways of learning, to suit different needs. Learning formats include face-to-face training, webinar, e-learning, mentoring and self-directed learning – and these are all valid ways to learn.

How can I access Girlguiding’s learning and development?

Some of your learning will take place informally, within your role, and some learning will be more formal. Most face-to-face training will be arranged at a local level and you can access this by speaking to your local commissioner. We also offer a variety of qualifications and online learning opportunities.

Where can I find more information?

What should I do if I want to give feedback or I have a complaint?

We aim to give everyone involved in learning and development at Girlguiding a positive experience and are keen to hear any feedback you may have. We also understand that sometimes your experience may not be positive. If you have a complaint related to learning and development you should report it in line with the complaints policy.

If you can’t resolve a complaint informally, you may make a formal complaint to Girlguiding HQ. You can do this in writing, either by emailing [email protected], by completing our online form or by telephone on 020 7834 6242

Data protection

Information can contain personal data. If you collect, share or store information you must make sure you follow the data protection procedures.