In both formal and informal settings, peer supporters are generally expected to be skilled in communication, have the ability to listen actively and to utilise a problem-solving approach when discussing a peer’s issue. To ensure peer supporters are able to carry out their role appropriately, sufficient training is important. It is also recommended to provide continuous support and supervision for the peer supporter so that they can request help should they encounter difficult situations. Read more about the roles and skills of peer supporters.

While adults may have a major role in the facilitation of training it is the young people who directly apply these skills to problem solving.  The peer supporters act as an intermediary between project developers and the target audience of the project. Adults should however, retain a supportive and supervisory position without imposing power over the problem solving.1

The evaluation of peer support and peer education training programs which appear in the literature tend to be of pilot programs. For this reason, programs tend only to provide one-off training sessions and few have long term training plans.

Common methods of delivering training include lectures, role play and supervised involvement in the program.1-4

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  1. Cowie, H & Wallace, P 2000, ‘Peer Support in Action’, Sage Publications, London.
  2. N.a. 2002, Evaluation of HIV/AIDS prevention through peer education, counselling, health care, training and urban refuges in Ghana
  3. Freedom Centre. Volunteer Training 2007: Supporting the Health and Diversity of Young People’s Sexuality and Gender. 2007. Perth: Freedom Centre.
  4. Meehan, T., H. Bergen, C. Coveney, and R. Thornton. 2002. Development and evaluation of a training program in peer support for former consumers. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing 11: 34-39.