Taking online courses…can help develop skills and bring new ideas to an organisation.”

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO

Skills – Third Sector is calling upon employers to prioritise investment in staff development and career planning, as a key strategy for succeeding in increasingly difficult operating circumstances.

The charity is responding to statistics which reveal that the voluntary sector’s paid workforce is increasingly made up of temporary employees; growing numbers of people unable to work the hours they would like; and fewer staff benefitting from on-the-job training.

Skills -Third Sector is the registered charity working to make it easier for people who work and volunteer in charities and social enterprises to have the right skills to make a difference to people and their communities. The findings come as part of an ongoing study being conducted by into overall voluntary sector workforce trends.

Keith Mogford, chief executive of Skills – Third Sector commented: “The sector’s overall workforce growth should not happen at the expense of long term investment in skilled people. If our sector is going to attract and retain talented people who will enable it to continue to deliver vital services to the communities we serve, it must demonstrate how it is investing intelligently in planned career pathways and the development of its staff in order to continue to meet the needs of service users.”

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, added: “Investing in staff development can seem like a luxury when time and money are tight, but it’s crucial to keep staff engaged and deliver the best services, and it needn’t be expensive. Taking online courses, joining networks, doing job swaps, and allowing staff time for volunteering can all help develop skills and bring new ideas to an organisation.”

Dame Mary Marsh is currently leading a review into leadership and skills in the voluntary sector, following her appointment by Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society, in October 2012. The review is examining whether existing support is meeting the requirements of the sector. Voluntary sector organisations – and organisations working with them – are being actively encouraged to ask questions, share ideas and experiences. To join the conversations visit: www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/content/dame-mary-marsh-social-sector-skills-leadership-review