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Education & Development

Leadership resources for the voluntary sector

Free learning from the OU’s Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership (CVSL).

The CVSL offers a fresh take on leadership in the voluntary sector, exploring everyday practices, and the actions and interactions that ultimately get things done. On this page you'll find information about free learning materials from the CVSL, along with other recommended content from OpenLearn on relevant topics.

The CVSL's leadership courses draw on cutting edge research and real life cases to explore:

  • the distinctiveness of leadership in a voluntary sector context
  • the kind of leadership practices most needed in voluntary organisations
  • contemporary understandings of leadership and their relevance for people at all levels of the sector.

The CVSL has a growing collection of online courses hosted on OpenLearn Create, including these highlights:

Here are some brief quotes from students' reviews of the courses:

"This course has really challenged my views on leadership and leaders... [it] demonstrates the importance of looking outside our own organisations and ways of working to find new solutions to the challenges we face."

"The course has helped me to think differently about leadership – and how much there is still to learn. I hope that one of the things I will do differently is to think less traditionally – about where and how we work together – about telling stories – about listening and encouraging and critiquing."

"Participating on this course has really opened my eyes and altered my approach to working – even the reason for undertaking the course have been questioned."

If you have recently become involved in the sector, you may be interested in these OpenLearn courses, available for study right now:

OpenLearn contains a wealth of other free resources, covering a huge range of topics that might be of interest to voluntary sector professionals. With hundreds of courses available, you're sure to find something useful in our full catalogue. For example:

The CVSL can offer bespoke packages of leadership development. To make an enquiry, please get in contact by email at, or visit the Contact Us section on the CVSL website.





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