What you need to know before applying…
What you need to know before applying…
Who can apply to volunteer or work with SOS?
We welcome applications from anyone! Our front-line phone support and support for front-line operative agents (known as spot checkers) must be aged 18 or over.
If you are a younger student (16–18) looking for some administrative or operational experience, please write to us with your CV in the first instance at email@example.com and if we can accommodate you, we will!
If you are thinking of applying, please make sure that:
• You need to be able to volunteer or work 5 hours per week to suit the needs of the charity.
• Employees will have a contract of employment and will work on a specific day of the week.
• You are able to complete the designated training dates, as we cannot split them
• Enhanced DBS and Right to Work Checks: Please see the appropriate section for full details. No one will be allowed contact, even over the phone, with vulnerable service users until a certificate is obtained, and we have seen this alongside a right to work check. We insist upon this as part of our client safeguarding policy.
• If your background check (enhanced) returns any information, we will need to speak to you privately about this. Our priority must be the welfare of our clients.
• You will be referenced once your training is complete and our recruiters offer you a voluntary or paid position, depending on what you’ve applied for.
More about frontline training
Our training is robust, intense and ongoing, as is our support of you in your employed or volunteering role
As part of our safeguarding policy, on each shift (subject to illness), a frontline phone volunteer will have the support of a frontline support agent, also known as a spot checker. This means that you must have the ability to work on your own initiative and be confident in your decision making, but can also work as part of a team when this is required.
Training can be tough and draining, so do please say during training if you don’t feel this is for you. This works the other way too, we’d speak to you privately to explain our thoughts. Please don’t feel you cannot speak up, you can.
Scroll down towards the end of the page to see exactly how your training will run in terms of dates and times. We’ve done this to help you plan and decide whether or not you are able to fit this into your schedule. We apologise in advance for not being able to split the training modules up or changing the dates
After you’ve been on the phone lines for 3 months, you may be given the option to do other roles within the charity in line with your interests and which areas of yourself you might like to develop. This is completely optional and subject to trainer’s assessments, and many frontliners and support agents love the phone lines and choose to stay doing this.
The main point here is that SOS can give you choices – and the ability to develop new and existing skillsets if you want to, whilst learning about complex mental health issues and suicide prevention, intervention and awareness
All volunteers/workers must have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom and the necessary checks will be undertaken.
After Volunteer Training
If you successfully complete all modules and our trainers (and you!) are happy, we will ask you if you wish to join our volunteering team or come on board as a paid employee (depending upon what you applied for). There is no pressure to do so, you can change your mind at any point or even ask to swap roles from the one you trained for. We understand that what you thought might be right for you may not be, so please feel free to talk to us about this at any point during your training.
Once you are onboard, the following will happen:
*Be issued with some documentation to read and additional group or one to one re-cap training will be available at this point. You should allow 4 hours over a week to read the documents, ideally twice through.
*You will gain access to our scheduling and telephony portals and be shown how to access and use them
*You will be an observer and shadow only for the first 2 weeks
*You will be accompanied by a trainer on your first shifts who can intervene if necessary. Thereafter, you will be monitored by an administrator each time you are on duty. You will have constant support during your shifts.
You will be talked through the administration processes that naturally accompany this role
*You should fully consider and discuss with your family if necessary, any potential impacts on your own wellbeing. You will need emotional maturity and resilience to volunteer on our phone lines.
*That you can work as part of a team, are not afraid to speak up and suggest ways of doing things better, but equally, can work on your own initiative
What are spot checkers and call monitors?
What are Spot checkers/call monitors?
Support to frontline phone support agents (Known as spot checkers) are the vital link that supports the wellbeing of the client and the volunteer, a dual responsibility and partnership that ensures anyone calling our line gets the level of support they are entitled to.
This opportunity to new applicants who have previous supervisory experience, not necessarily in a helpline situation, but perhaps in a pressurised call centre environment. This role gives you the opportunity to develop and obtain new skill sets. You will train alongside our phone volunteers/employees, but undergo specific role training afterwards. You are welcome to apply without previous supervisory skills and will be assessed for suitability by our trainers.
You will have excellent communication & listening skills, patience and understanding. You will provide encouragement where it is needed, but will not be afraid of pointing out when things might not be following protocols. We will monitor these skills and your development during your time with us and help you improve in areas you may require additional support.
You will volunteer/work for 4 hour operational shifts, (with up to 1 hour for admin) alongside your front liners and will cover a maximum of 3 frontline phone support operatives at any one time, ensuring protocols and procedures are followed and to mitigate and manage any safeguarding issues that may arise. This does not mean we expect people to be perfect – we’re all human and doing our best and we should all remember this. Please note, if you are employed, you will be contracted for 5 hours per week only.
You will be a real peoples’ person – someone who is approachable and builds professional relationships easily . You will also need to take difficult decisions on the spot and recommend the best course of action. We will ensure you have all the tools necessary to competently carry out this role.
You will conduct debriefs with your front liners and complete reports within 48 hours of the end of your shift.
You must be able to separate professional and personal relationships when on shift and not allow these to cloud your judgement.
You will be assisted by a Helpline Supervisor.
We also welcome applications from anyone wishing to join our team in an administrative capacity on a voluntary only basis. Please send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
ON A VOLUNTARY OR EMPLOYEE CONTRACT BASIS
Are you someone who can deal with challenging and sometimes emotive situations whilst remaining calm and reassuring?
Are you passionate about helping vulnerable young people and adults through their darkest times? Can you follow protocols, processes and directions?
If so, consider applying to become a Frontline Phone Support Agent with SOS. Our line is open 8pm until midnight, every weekday, and from 4pm until midnight Saturdays and Sundays.
This role can be very challenging but the rewards are huge. Existing volunteers or employees can feel over whelmed at the good they have done. Talking to people, giving them your time and attention and guiding them through their worst times is one of the most unselfish and beneficial things any of us can do.
You’ll need to have emotional maturity and resilience for this role and be responsible for managing and monitoring your own emotional health, with our full support, whilst you are with us. You will receive weekly wellbeing emails and the support of the training team should you experience any negative impacts.
Your main passion is going to be a strong desire to help, through gentle conversation and a real ability to not just listen, but to hear and engage. Active listening alongside measured, relevant communication skills are essential for this role and your training will help you to develop these skills. Please remember, we are not a listening line – we are an engaging line, forging ongoing professional relationships with our callers with specific, essential boundaries in place.
You will be supported on shift by a support agent who can intervene should you need assistance. Regular refresher training is a must.
You’ll be someone who is highly compassionate, but maintains professional boundaries at all times.
How to Apply & Other Important Information
We realise not everyone can submit online applications or may not want to. There are other ways of getting in touch.
Highlight the application form, right click and print, then fill it in and email it to email@example.com
*Alternatively, as above, but by post to our office:
SOS Silence of Suicide,
2nd Floor, Portobello House, Portobello Way, Warwick CV34 5GJ
Playing our part in reducing and offsetting our carbon footprint is important to SOS. Therefore, we are, where absolutely possible, a paperless charity.
- Applications are open to UK residents only & right to work checks will be carried out
- If you are applying for this role, you must have a mobile handset that calls will be diverted through our app.
- For all roles, you must be available for 4 hours of operational time and up to 1 hour of admin time each week. For employed agents, you will work on a specific day of the week agreed in advance and written into your contract. Please note, if you are employed, you will be contracted for 5 hours per week only.
- Please read all information thoroughly before applying.
- Refresher training and meetings are ongoing. Please take advantage of these.
HOW TO APPLY
Once you’ve decided which role you’d like to apply for, and have thought seriously about any side effects and impacts on yourself and are satisfied with your decision you should: (Go back to the top of the page and click the correct button, thank you)
For Frontline Phone Support Volunteers/Employees: Front Line Phone Support Volunteer application form.
For Support to Frontline Agents Volunteers/Employees: Support to Front Line Operatives
For administrative opportunities, please email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Information About Enhanced DBS and Right to Work
Please ensure you read the whole of this section. It is important and contains information you need to be aware of before applying. If you have any questions, please write to email@example.com thank you.
*Everyone who is either volunteering or working as a frontline phone support operative or a support to frontline operatives, and certain other personnel, require an enhanced DBS certificate. This is part of our safeguarding policy.
*You do not need to apply for this prior to training; you will be asked to apply once your training is complete and if you are successfully asked to join SOS either as a volunteer or as an employed worker.
*Volunteers are asked to complete their own applications, and the relevant guidance is issued. The heavily discounted cost to volunteers at the time of writing (24/9/23) is £15.85 through our provider, Care Check.
*Employees do not get a discounted rate, and the full cost is £56.00. It is the trainees responsibility to apply for and pay for their enhanced DBS and right to work checks, in line with most other organisations. We have guidance to help you through this process.
*Right to work checks are approximately £3.85 (corrected at 16/12/23)
NOTE: Carecheck charges are correct at 24/09/23 and are subject to review. This is a third-party government-registered organisation and has no relationship with this charity. SOS receives no payment or benefit whatsoever from your transaction with them, and you are free to use other providers if you so wish.
The charity, as per its legal requirements, will conduct the right to live and work in the UK checks prior to any offer of a voluntary or employed position being made
The differences between volunteering and being employed—what you need to know and consider
Some of the characteristics of an unpaid volunteer for these roles are:
- Donates their time and expertise freely, and does not get paid for doing so.
- Can be re-imbursed expenses if any are incurred
- Can be flexible in the days and times that they operate, or they may choose to operate on the same day and/or times during the week
- Do not have a legally binding contract employment, but instead, a volunteer agreement which is a sign of goodwill by both parties
- Do not qualify for sick pay or annual leave, but can take time out whenever they want to.
- Understands that no formal contract of employment is implied or intended through unpaid volunteering.
- This applies to frontline phone support operatives and support to frontline operatives (spot checkers)
- For SOS, where the same role carries 2 options – volunteers or contracted employees, should you decide to volunteer only, we would ask you to sign a disclaimer that you have opted out of becoming a paid, contracted employee.
Some of the characteristics of a contracted, employed worker with SOS for these roles are:
- You will be contracted to work 5 hours per week, 4 operational, 1 x administrative
- You will be paid for your work
- You will be issued with a legally binding contract of employment
- You will be asked to tell us your primary day of operation, with a substitute day in case you cannot make the first one from time to time and we will schedule you to the best of our ability in line with your needs, but you will need a degree of flexibility.
- This applies to frontline phone support operatives and support to frontline operatives.
How your March 2024 training will look - please note all days begin at 10am and conclude at 4pm, thank you.