• Testimonials


Maggie Piazza and Felicity Dwyer have been delivering open management development programmes together since 2007.

We have consistently received positive feedback from the delegates on our courses.

Here are some comments from previous participants:


The course was both enjoyable and useful. The training sessions were a great blend of discussion, listening, writing, moving around occasionally, and were paced well. It felt like everyone bonded, especially as Felicity and Maggie were very good at ensuring people had time to ask questions, to share personal experiences and to work with different people by mixing us up for the various breakout activities. I feel that the course has energised me to improve our volunteer programme and I would certainly recommend it.

Karen Garvey, Community Partnership Officer & Senior Volunteer Coordinator, Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives

“Maggie and Felicity have a wealth of knowledge and experience and delivered all necessary elements to enable a comprehensive understanding of good volunteer management, excellently supported by handouts and other literature.

“The course was a real challenge for me as I had not completed a formal assignment for a number of years, but their style of delivery catered for everyone’s individual needs and our learning was constantly reinforced. From the initial ‘induction interview’ by phone, they took the time to get to know everyone in the group – it was attended by volunteer managers from a variety of different organisations including the police, fire service, student bodies, and a few smaller organisations and they created a relaxed, fun learning environment in which we were encouraged to work together to share ideas and draw on each others experiences. These sessions were invaluable in enabling us to discuss and apply the theory behind our learning and it was good to support each other.

“I honestly found the prospect of completing the assignments rather daunting but the requirements of each were clearly discussed and both tutors were always on hand (phone or email) for constant support and guidance.

“Managing volunteers is uniquely different from managing paid staff and this course equipped me with excellent knowledge and skills on which to build. I thoroughly enjoyed the course – I’ve just received my results and feel rather proud of myself ! Have already asked about any further courses they are delivering”

Karen Bush, Volunteer Co-ordinator, Luton & Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

“I undertook my ILM Certificate in the Effective Management of Volunteers, the fore runner to Management of Volunteers last year with Stepping Up Training and I can highly recommend it. Our group comprised of representatives from large national to small local charities which could have been a challenge. Felicity and Maggie managed to create an inclusive, sharing environment which was fun to learn in and encouraged everyone to participate.

“The group sessions were hugely valuable. Together or in smaller groups we had chance to discuss the application of the theories we were learning. Maggie and Felicity encouraged us to discuss our experiences creating a great environment for the group to help each other. We were soon all very collaborative and still support each other by email. The assignments were introduced during each session with plenty of opportunity to ask questions. Felicity and Maggie were happy to read drafts and provide feedback which was really useful in helping to improve the quality of our written work.

“With such a diverse group finding some commonality was key. The learning materials and models that Felicity and Maggie produced were all relevant and could be applied to all our work no matter what our role or scope within our organisation.

“It was fantastic to tap into the wealth of knowledge on volunteer management and volunteering that Felicity and Maggie possess but by far the best bit of the course for me was the energy and enthusiasm they have for their subject and their ability to inject this into all their students.

“You’ll enjoy this course, make useful connections with your peers and you’ll come out with a stack of theory and the skills to make it work in your every day work. Brilliant. Thanks Maggie and Felicity.”

Kit Lendon, Volunteering Development Manager, PDSA

“To be honest I was really surprised that I gained so much knowledge and skills from the training course, as I assumed that I already knew most of the content covered. I soon realized that I not only had crucial gaps in my knowledge but also that there are multiple ways of approaching any one subject area. Not only was I learning from my colleagues but the wealth of experience and knowledge of both trainers was a huge learning opportunity for us all.

“I really dreaded the prospect of attending a 10 day course due to my previous experiences of training; I found that many failed to meet my activist learning style. However I found that from day one, the training was outstanding in meeting my learning style; I was further impressed at their ability to not only cater for me but also for the other learning styles found in my group, their ability to create this environment of varied learning styles, sets them apart from others. I have also now started to mirror their delivery styles in my own training deliveries.

“The support I received in addition to the training was exceptional; Maggie and Felicity were both encouraging and very approachable, I received much needed support on completing my assignments, and had continuous support throughout all stages of my assignments. Their patience and understanding along with the time they took out to coach me was vital in supporting me to get to the end.

“In short, this was one of the most organized and enjoyable courses I have ever attended, all aspects were directly relevant to my job and have since been transferred into my new job, I would highly recommend others to use their services”

Rugena Ali, Participant on in-house course for University of the Arts London

“Maggie and Felicity have a wonderful approach to training – they are clear in their delivery, current in their examples, knowledgeable about the topics covered and interested in each member of the group.

“Our group was made up of people from a variety of volunteer involving organisations which made for a good networking environment as well as the opportunity for us to bring our own experiences of different topics to the table. Maggie and Felicity facilitated each of the sessions to allow for this group learning and networking as well as ensuring that the theory and practical examples were also covered. In addition, each session demonstrated a range of teaching techniques to suit different learning styles.”

Julie Pink, Volunteers Development Manager,
Thames Valley Police Headquarters

“I highly recommend the Volunteer Management course as it provided such a comprehensive grounding in all the elements it takes to become a good manager of volunteers. It was a unique course that worked brilliantly on several levels, providing a detailed background to management theory, embedding that theory through relevant real life examples and enabling us to apply the skills and knowledge that we had gained to our own projects and jobs.

“All the attendees were managers of volunteers and we were able (and encouraged) to share ideas and best practice which greatly enhanced the effectiveness of the course. Every element of the training took into consideration the uniqueness of this environment from the specific legal framework to the peculiarities of motivating an unpaid workforce. The end result was not some file of dry, meaningless notes, but instead a wealth of new skills and a relevant, practice based and invaluable management resource which I still refer to on a regular basis.

“As well as classroom teaching, Maggie and Felicity provided excellent individual tutoring and coaching to support us in our project based coursework. They were always approachable and extremely helpful and were very flexible; where possible fitting around our needs rather than the other way around. I could not fault the pace and delivery of the course and will definitely be recommending this course to colleagues.”

Charlotte Mackenzie Crooks
Volunteer Services and Work Experience Manager
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

“The course covered a huge variety of issues faced by volunteer managers on a daily basis. The theoretical content was excellent and in particular gave me a better understanding about strategic planning and an invaluable insight into management. The content went far beyond volunteer management, and much was applicable to management as a whole.

“The training methods were really good and varied, and allowed the group to be interactive. The tutors found interesting ways of tying in the course activities with the subject matter. Everybody was given an opportunity to participate – there was no pressure to interact, it just felt very natural. Maggie and Felicity allowed the group to get to know each other, and they also got to know us. The tutors supported us very well with our work-based assignments. They were always available if I wanted to bounce ideas off them, there was a clear time-frame, and the guidance during the final stages was really useful.

Throughout the training we were encouraged to share our experiences, and it was useful to hear from other volunteer managers from a range of sectors. The programme gave me the opportunity to take a step out of my everyday work, to reflect on my practice and to implement new ideas and procedures.”

Kate Glynn, Volunteer Assistant, Manchester Museum