Training, Recruitment and Discussion Paper

Recruitment and Training Discussion Paper download

From Robert Wellen (Guild Master): I want us all as a Guild to take a long hard look at recruitment and training. We all recognise I think that this is the BIG issue facing ringing. There are no magic or instant solutions, but I want us to ‘talk this through’ at branch meetings and committees over the remainder of this year so that hopefully we can launch some form of ‘strategy’ for the Guild next year. Such a strategy would not be prescriptive, but I hope would encourage what we think is ‘best practice’ and encourage ‘joined up’ thinking.

A model of what can be done1. This is a discussion paper with some initial thoughts or ‘talking points’ to get the discussion started. Please send any comments, thoughts etc to me.

July 2016

BEFORE recruitment takes place:

  • Have in place the teachers to teach
    Could be those accredited to ART2 (ITTS as was) or if that does not appeal teachers who have been instructed in some or all of its basic tenants or have not gone through ART but are ‘competent’ teachers nevertheless
  • Have in place the places to teach
    A central location that is pleasant and welcoming and adapted to training – ideally a Ringing Centre. Soon there should be one in each branch or a reasonable distance from each
  • Have in place the programme of ringing instruction
    A structured programme of instruction away from a ‘normal’ practice night were the learner can get concentrated and targeted teaching


  • Act as a group and be involved in wider community
    Rather than individual towers each having ad hoc recruitment drives – group together to do so – achieve a ‘bigger impact’ over a wider area – integrate ringing into wider community
  • Be positive about ringing
    People are more likely to be attracted to ringing if you ‘talk it up’
  • Prioritise ‘face to face’ recruitment
    Speaking face to face or a practical demonstration is more likely to succeed than a poster campaign or an article in a parish magazine

So we have recruited and the learners have gone through a structured initial instruction programme led by good teachers at a suitable location and are hopefully handling well and are at least ringing rounds. When they start ringing at local towers, what next:

After care:

  • Be prepared to do things differently
    Adapt your tower practice to accommodate the needs of new recruits and make them feel welcome
  • Make sure that existing ringers are involved in training
    As much as possible use your existing band to help, support and encourage new recruits – avoid a ‘them and us’ mentality
  • Put on additional events, practices at Ringing Centres or other towers for recruits
    Keep up the links to the initial learning ‘cohort’ and help advancement to keep interest levels up




  1. David Lewis

    Dear Robert,
    If we are to talk up the art of bellringing then perhaps it should be promoted as a life skill. Obviously, it is not an important life skill such as cooking or swimming or cycling(although from a balance point of view it could be seen as vertical cycling!)
    Now who are these people most interested in learning life skills, and top of the list apart from youngsters in general,would be scouts, girl guides,cubs and brownies.I suspect that there may be a badge for ringing.
    This ringing life skill will become very useful when/if the youngster leaves home to go to university.Far better for the young person to ring his way through university than spending the evenings drinking in the student bars.
    One of the obstacles to teaching youngsters could be that there may be a legal requirement for the teacher to be police checked. Is there a cost involved? Because of homework commitment a better response may come if the teaching was organized on a Friday evening or a Saturday morning.
    We now start to see that whosoever is appointed will have enormous responsibility and be prepared to devote possibly every Saturday morning.Far too much for one person and this could lead to a job share.
    This wont work if the teaching evening is for example Tuesday. Parents wont bring the
    youngsters in from the villagers and hang around for an hour and a half to take them
    home again.On the other hand if the mothers can spend the time shopping on Saturday
    it could be to everybody’s advantage.

  2. Colin Cartter

    One thing to be considered is – should we in include secular ringers? Some people are opposed to non-churchgoers being ringers. With dwindling church attendance the pool of churchgoers for ringing is reducing. Out of 5 people attending a home communion for my wife all of them said include non-churchgoers, and they included a retired vicar!

  3. Graham Findley

    Hi Robert,
    We all know that recruiting young ringers is difficult, and retaining them even more so – plus the associated issues surrounding safeguarding.
    May I suggest we should instead concentrate on recruiting older ringers? Those recently retired, or who have time on their hands, and always had a passing interest in the sound of bells.
    I realise the downside is that there won’t be many over 60’s who will go on to develop into ringers who can conduct a surprise method, but on the other hand there will be many benefits from people who take a mature attitude to commitment and learning, and are more likely to stick around for a few useful years.

  4. Vicki Rowse

    I think it is vital to recruit new ringers, but before that can be done in a meaningful way a pool of people who are able to teach and support new ringers is needed. We have found it is a small number of the same people who are willing to help with teaching and courses, and that is not long term sustainable. I am of the opinion that many ringers don’t think they have enough experience or skills to help others learn and therefore don’t put themselves forward to help on Courses etc. Some way of demystifying or helping them realise that they do have something to offer is quite important. Everything about recruitment and retention needs a face to face pragmatic approach. I have recently seen the Rope in a Mate Scheme, in Facebook and think its an excellent idea to raise the profile of ringing.

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