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Open Training Courses

Open Training Courses

Our training courses are designed for those who are new to helplines, helpline managers, service coordinators and those with helpline experience.

We have adapted and developed our specialist helpline training courses to deliver them online. Open training courses give you greater flexibility to access and engage with our specialist helpline training services. Our training is interactive, practical and relevant and delivered by experienced trainers.

To chat with us or book a place onto one of our Open training courses please call us on (0) 300 330 7777 or email

22nd September 2021- Safeguarding for Helplines Online

23-Sep-21- Level 2 - Developing Helpline Skills Online

06-Oct-21- Digital Helpline Skills Online

12-Oct-21- Level 3 - Advanced Helpline Skills Online

21-Oct-21- Responding to Suicidal Callers Online

02-Nov-21- Level 1 - Essential Helpline Skills - Online

11-Nov-21- Volunteer Management Online

16-Nov-21- Vicarious Trauma Online

24-Nov-21- Level 2 - Developing Helpline Skills Online

01-Dec-21- Safeguarding for Helplines Online

07-Dec-21- Responding to Suicidal Callers Online

14-Dec-21- Level 3 - Advanced Helpline Skills Online

Level 1 – Essential Helpline Skills Online

Essential Helpline Skills Online is a foundation level course, recommended for those who are new to helplines or are looking to refresh their knowledge in the fundamentals.

This is a skills-based course that will give you the tools you need to confidently respond to calls to your helpline.

  • What a helpline is and how they help service users
  • The structure of a call
  • How a caller’s circumstances can make both access and communication difficult
  • What is meant by active listening skills
  • When to use questions effectively during the call
  • Reflecting back and paraphrasing
  • The importance of providing options
  • How to end different types of calls
  • How to look after yourself after a call

Level 2 – Developing Helpline Skills Online

Developing Helpline Skills Online is recommended for helpline workers, volunteers and call handlers who have completed the Level 1- Essential Helpline Skills course and have some prior helpline experience.

This course will give you the skills to understand challenging calls, how to respond and engage using empathic listening whilst maintaining appropriate professional boundaries.

  • The definition of a challenging call and how it relates to your helpline
  • How personal and professions beliefs and boundaries can impact on your work
  • The likely outcomes of different approaches to contacts
  • How positive language can impact on the call
  • The difference between sympathy and empathy
  • The core skills to convey empathy
  • Strategies that address the impact of challenging contacts

Level 3 – Advanced Helpline Skills Online

Advanced Helpline Skills Online is recommended for helpline workers, volunteers and call handlers who have completed both the Essential Helpline Skills and Developing Helpline Skills courses and want to further develop their skills.

This is a skills-based course that will build on your helpline experience and support you to effectively respond to emotional, angry and repeat callers to your service. Participants will also receive a top-level introduction to suicidal callers and safeguarding.

  • Key skills to respond effectively to an emotional call
  • How to respond to an angry call
  • How to define an abusive call and how to respond effectively
  • About the use of vocabulary to respond to a call
  • Skills and techniques for responding to callers with differing needs
  • How to distinguish between regular and repeat calls
  • When and how to set up a caller care plan
  • When and how when to respond safeguarding concerns
  • How to respond to someone with suicidal thoughts
  • To identify strategies that address the impact of challenging contacts

Digital Helpline Skills

Digital-based support such as email or webchat requires different approaches, understanding and techniques to telephone helpline skills. Whether your service already offers, or is considering digital-based channels, this course provides vital insights on how to respond to service users effectively through written communication.

Through practical exercises and exploring best practice for each channel, you can ensure the people contacting and accessing your service receive high quality, consistent delivery across all your channels.

  • To identify key challenges of responding by email and live chat
  • The advantages and disadvantages of text-based services
  • About the resource implications for live chat
  • What is meant by the 'textscape' and its impact on helpline work
  • Options available for greeting service users and sign-offs
  • The structure of written communications
  • Assumptions made based on text and how to interpret and minimise them
  • How and when to use templates and standard responses
  • Your responsibilities in relation to managing confidentiality and safeguarding
  • How to convey empathy, use paraphrasing and active listening skills via text-based channels

Volunteer Management Online

Managing volunteers can be time consuming, difficult but extremely rewarding. This course provides vital insights on why people volunteer, whilst exploring who best to manage the volunteers within an organisation. Through practical exercises and exploring best practice you will learn about the funding, recruitment, and training needed for volunteers; as well as how best to monitor, retain, recognise, reward and retire volunteers. We also work through the risk involved in delivering volunteer programmes.

  • What is volunteer Management?
  • Explore why people volunteer
  • Identify when to use volunteers, rather than paid members of staff.
  • Learn how to best identify needs and opportunities
  • What do your volunteers need to know about your organisation and about their role to be effective?
  • Discuss supervision, probation period, and measuring value
  • Look at ways to best recognise and reward volunteers to ensure retention.
  • Exploring clear timescales, good communication, and letting go.
  • Explore the risks involved in delivering a volunteer programme

Safeguarding for Helplines

Safeguarding concerns are is becoming more prevalent within the helpline sector. No matter what kind of service you deliver, everyone has a duty to safeguard the welfare of children, young people and adults at risk of harm or abuse. This course will help increase your knowledge and understanding of safeguarding, not only in the broader legal and societal context, but also in relation to understanding key safeguarding terms, signs and indicators. It seeks to develop awareness and examine legislation that can directly be implemented into practice, procedures and policy provision. It aims to build confidence and offer guidance surrounding confidentiality, recording and information sharing in line with GDPR and safeguarding sensitivities.

  • explore and understand broad principles of safeguarding and child protection
  • understand key safeguarding terms and definitions, signs and indicators
  • identify the relevant legislation and guidance that safeguards children and adults
  • recognise risk factors and explore risk assessment approaches
  • consider core skills for responding to safeguarding concerns, including active listening and building rapport
  • explore how to implement safeguarding procedures, including referral considerations
  • identify key considerations for recording and storing personal data
  • consider support needs for call handlers when managing safeguarding concerns

Vicarious Trauma

The accumulative effects of handling emotional and distressing contacts can negatively impact on a person's social behaviours, emotional wellbeing, physical health, and cognitive reasoning. If unaddressed, vicarious trauma (VT) could not only harm the helpline worker but can also have serious implications for your service users. Based on recent research, this insightful and practical course will explore the implications of VT research within helplines, helping you to establish and review strategies and procedures to effectively manage and address the personal and professional risks of VT.

  • explore the research and understand the implications to your service
  • understand key risk factors and impact to your service, call handlers and service users
  • explore how the severity and complexity of call content contributes to VT
  • use a self-assessment wellbeing measurement tool for identifying signs of VT
  • explore how support, training and management can reduce the risk of VT
  • learn how to identify and reduce those at risk of burnout
  • explore different approaches to supervision and debriefing
  • develop a risk matrix and action plan for your service

Responding to Suicidal Callers

How to respond to service users who present with suicidal thoughts or plans is a common concern for helplines. It is essential that your service is equipped to identify those at risk and that your team know how best to support them. This course will explore how to identify risk, practice different techniques and set up internal processes, policies and supervision. Service managers and co-ordinators attending this course will leave with greater knowledge, confidence and awareness alongside practical skills and actions to take back to their helpline.

  • explore attitudes and language around suicide
  • consider current suicide statistics and the UK in context
  • explore two established suicide support models and their pathways
  • explore the impact of a suicidal caller is to your service
  • assess risk and practise responses to suicidal contacts
  • discuss policy approaches for suicidal service users
  • identify what support your call handlers may need
  • explore different techniques for call handlers including the opportunity for practice
  • identify actions to take back to your service

Helpline Training Courses – Online »

Focussing on specific areas of helpline work they will give you an in-depth understanding, allowing you to develop robust working practices and policies to better support your team, service users and the service provision.


Once you have booked your place on a Virtual Open training course, on the Helplines Partnership website, you will receive an email with an invitation to join the online training course.

The Virtual Open training courses run from 10 am - 4 pm with regularly scheduled breaks. There will be opportunities to work with other participants on the training course to learn from and with other helpline professionals. You'll receive some materials to look at before your online training.

You will receive an email reminder a week before your training course with some pre-checks that we will ask you to do to make sure that you are set up and able to access the training on the day. We will also ask you to have a look at some of the training exercises so that you can think about them and how they apply to the service your organisation provides.

You need a device that connects to the internet. It would be best if you can join the training from a laptop or PC but you could also join using a smartphone. You will need audio to be able to participate in the training.

Yes, we will have a course facilitator who will be available for the duration of the course, as well as our trainer.

The training course is a safe space, we will not record the training or keep a record of the discussions that take place. If however we are alerted to a specific safeguarding issue then we will follow our safeguarding policy.


Virtual Costs

Member Price £99.00+VAT (per place)

Non-Member Price £165.00+VAT (per place)

Inhouse Costs

Member Price £149.00+VAT (per place)

Non-Member Price £245.00+VAT (per place)

For Open training courses we allow a maximum of 4 participants from one organisation to attend a course at one time. (We can offer more places nearer the time of the course closure date if the course is not fully booked.)