Volunteering and transferable skills

Volunteering can help you develop the skills that volunteering and employers value!

If you’ve been looking around our Volunteering Opportunities page, you’ll have noticed that each volunteering role now shows how many of the Open University’s Employability Skills that role supports. This means that the skills you develop through carrying out a new role and any training that you do for it counts as ‘transferable skills’ and so enhances employability.

Employers value these skills as they can work in many ways in the workplace, and can be acquired through education, volunteering and training as well as life experiences. They view them as strengths, and attributes such as good communication, being technologically literate and a good team worker can help you land that perfect job or new volunteering role. 

The eleven employability or transferable skills highlighted by the OU are:

  1. 1 Written communication

    The ability to present arguments, produce reports, summarise in writing in a clear and focused manner, related to the purpose of the text and its intended readers.

  2. 2 Oral communication

    Being able to discuss issues, talk about specific topics, listen to viewpoints and present information.

  3. 3 Team working

    Participating in group work activities by providing a valuable contribution and valuing inputs made by others, in order to reach a common goal.

  4. 4 Leadership

    The capacity to motivate and encourage others, in the achievement of specific objectives, and to carry ultimate responsibility.

  5. 5 Interpersonal skills

    Having qualities that show an ability to relate well to others, to accept and value others - particularly colleagues and customers.

  6. 6 Computer literacy

    Being proficient in word processing and software packages.

  7. 7 Numeracy

    Having the ability to deal with numerical data, including statistics, graphs, figures and budgets.

  8. 8 Planning and organising

    Being able to organise work and personal events to produce a plan of action and reach a target.

  9. 9 Initiative

    The ability to act without constant direction, to assess situations and recognise what needs to be done.

  10. 10 Problem-solving

    Being able to assess situations, recognise difficulties and determine the action that might be needed to achieve a successful outcome.

  11. 11 Adaptability/flexibility

    Recognising that alternative action may be needed and being able to adapt to change, without detracting from the overall aims of a project or situation.

Volunteering with the Association's Archive Project

OU Students Association

The Association is keen that everyone who volunteers with us will not only meet other students, be able to give something back to the student community, and have fun, but will develop transferable skills that you can take with them into work, your career and any other volunteering role. 

Updating your CV regularly with each of these new successes will improve your chances of landing a role you really want!

You can find out more about the OU’s Employability Skills here: 


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Nicola Powell

Nicola is a member of the Students Association staff team.


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