With Niche Academy, your subscription is all-you-can-eat, meaning you can run multiple separate Academies for different audiences as needed. 

For example, our first Niche Award finalist, Hertfordshire Libraries, runs a separate Academy just for their volunteer staff members.

This allows them to not only keep their public-facing tutorials separate from their staff- or volunteer-facing ones, but also allows them to assign specific tutorials to specific volunteers – and check that they’re actually doing them!

Using a mixture of public and custom-created tutorials, Hertfordshire have created an ordered pathway for each new volunteer at the library to step through. This instructs them in everything they need to know to help customers out – whether it’s how to use some of the eResources the library has, or even how to use the till at the front desk. Volunteers can progress through the tutorials on their own time, only asking for help when it’s needed, freeing up time for their instructors too.

On the back end, Instructors and Supervisors at Hertfordshire can assign specific tutorials to new volunteers, track their progress, and even see any quiz results they get – allowing them to make sure the volunteers are fully understanding the information they’ve been given.

Of course, once created, these tutorials also serve as a handy way for volunteers to double-check a process if they forget, meaning that alongside training, Hertfordshire have also created a powerful reference tool.

“Hertfordshire Libraries starting using Niche Learning Academy early in 2021, as a learning platform for the 300+ volunteers who support us with providing a library service in our 13 community libraries.  As these libraries had been closed for over a year due to the Covid pandemic and we could no longer offer in person training, it was a vital aid in helping us to refresh their knowledge and increase their confidence as part of our service recovery and restoring library opening hours.  We found the tutorials provided by the Academy very useful when creating our own training, and soon learnt how to upload custom made tutorials of our own following the guidance.  The feedback from our volunteers was very positive; they all found the access very straightforward and the tutorials relevant and informative.  Giving our volunteers access to Niche certainly resulted in us having a very smooth transition back to volunteering, and is continuing to be a valuable training tool with new volunteers too.”

Imelda Jackson, Community Services Librarian at Hertfordshire.

Hertfordshire’s Volunteer Academy is a seamless combination of pre-existing and custom-created tutorials, and functions as a full learning management system to ensure all volunteers are fully trained and supported in their work. Congratulations to Hertfordshire for a well-deserved spot on our Niche Awards shortlist!