Case Study: Nicola Deeprose, Volunteer Coordinator at the Science Museum

“I had a very good experience with PNE. All of the staff I spoke to were very friendly, informed, and approachable and I felt very supported throughout the qualification.”

For over seven years, Nicola Deeprose has worked in the Science Museum, progressing steadily in the organisation. Originally starting as a Visitor Experience Assistant, her hard work and enthusiasm earned her promotion to Visitor Experience Assistant Team Leader and eventually Visitor Experience Team Leader. After securing a new role as Volunteer Coordinator, Nicola enrolled on the Level 5 Certificate in Management of Volunteers, where she learned the essential knowledge and skills needed to succeed in her new position.

As the only Volunteer Coordinator in the Science Museum, Nicola is responsible for managing the team of over 185 volunteers and its delivery of the Science Museums Volunteering Policy. She oversees the full volunteer recruitment process, which includes writing the volunteer job profiles, training volunteers, and supporting new and existing volunteers.

The Science Museum attracts over five million visitors each year, making it the most visited science and technology museum in Europe. It is also one of Europe’s largest museums, with an impressive catalogue of over 15,000 objects on display, including world-famous objects such as the Apollo 10 command capsule and Stephenson’s Rocket.

With such a demanding role, Nicola decided to study the course via distance learning, allowing her to balance a busy work schedule with study, and therefore work at her own pace.

Nicola applied for the Level 5 Certificate in Management of Volunteers after hearing about the qualification from a colleague. She felt a professional qualification would provide her with a more thorough understanding of the procedures, systems and structures related to the management of volunteers.

During the year-long programme, Nicola learned theories and strategy relating to business, and she developed the key business and management skills needed to be a successful volunteer manager. She learned how to identify and develop relationships with key stakeholders of the organisation, write an action plan, and monitor and review business processes.

Although the course incorporated studying learning materials provided by PNE, Nicola also had the opportunity to apply her learning to real-life situations. After learning how to implement and evaluate a volunteering policy, she was tasked with rewriting the volunteer policies for the Science Museum – all in her first few months in the role.

So how did Nicola find the course overall?

On completion, Nicola reports that her knowledge of managing volunteers has advanced from ‘good’ to ‘excellent’, noting increased strategic awareness, improved influencing skill and an improved ability to pass on new skills. She adds that the qualification has provided her with an improved professional status and new understanding of the procedures and systems that all volunteers are to follow.

The results of the qualification are not limited to professional development, as Nicola states the qualification has been beneficial in personal terms too, by providing her with a new-found confidence in her role.

Nicola gained her qualification in September 2016 and continues to work at The Science Museum in her role as Volunteer Coordinator.