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Skills Based Helpline Training Courses

Skills Based Helpline Training Courses

Confidence and skills in call handling from the outset are the building blocks for an effective helpline in terms of delivery, staff retention and service user satisfaction.

We have created a three-stage training programme, designed to be done in sequence, to enable you to develop the skills and understanding you need to respond to the needs and challenges of the people who contact your service.

Helpline skills-based training course prices:

  • Non-member price: £245 + VAT
  • Helplines Partnership discounted member price: £149 + VAT


Level 1 – Essential Helpline Skills - CPD Accredited

Essential Helpline Skills 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 - CPD Accredited

Developing Helpline Skills 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 - CPD Accredited

Advanced Helpline Skills 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 a different approach, understanding and techniques to verbal helpline skills. Whether your service already offers, or is considering digital based channels, this training 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 your service users receive high quality, consistent delivery across all channels.

  • To identify the 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
  • The 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

You may cancel a place without charge if you inform us in writing at least 5 working days before the event.

The full fee is payable for any cancellations within 5 calendar days of the event, or if the participant fails to attend and we receive no notice of cancellation, or if the participant is unable to attend the whole of the event for any reason.

Some of our events are repeated, so you may transfer a place, without charge, to an alternative date as long as you inform us in writing at least 5 calendar days beforehand.

Transfers within 5 calendar days will incur a full fee for both dates.

All transfers are subject to availability.

In the unlikely event that we have to cancel a session, we will let you know as soon as possible and issue a full refund.