Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership

Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership

New voluntary sector leadership courses

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, see the CVSL page on OpenLearn for 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 Open University's Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership has produced three free courses. 

Introducing leadership in voluntary organisations

Approximately 15 hours of learning

This free course provides an opportunity for people who work within voluntary organisations, as paid employees or staff, to develop energetic, practical and thoughtful leadership practice. The course explores this rich concept from a number of different perspectives but emphasises that any group of willing people is capable of energetic leadership. Learners will gain insights and practices to facilitate stepping into leadership. Core to the course will be developing a vibrant community of leadership within the voluntary sector, one that connects the academic, voluntary and political worlds, bringing together people committed to fresh thinking.

Collaborative leadership in voluntary organisations

Approximately 24 hours of learning

This free course helps learners to reflect on and develop collaborative leadership practices that will make a difference. Collaborative leadership has achieved prominence in recent times as a way of moving beyond the figure of the leader to ways of leading that engage and energise a wider group of people. Leadership is conceptualised as something that crosses organisational and sectoral boundaries. Exploring the dynamics, contexts and practices of collaborative leadership, the course will introduce new concepts and practices. It draws on a range of contemporary issues and case studies from the voluntary sector, so that learning takes place in an intimate relationship with lived practice. The course is aimed at people who work within voluntary organisations as paid staff or as volunteers or for people who work regularly with voluntary organisations, such as public sector staff or politicians. 

By completing the course you have the opportunity to earn a free badge.

Involving Volunteers

Approximately 14 hours of learning

This is a short course on volunteering developed by Volunteer Scotland and the Centre for Voluntary Sector Leadership at The Open University Business School. This course is about the essential things you need to consider to ensure a positive experience for individuals engaging in volunteering.

  • Introducing leadership in voluntary organisations

    Introducing leadership in voluntary organisations

    This free course provides an opportunity for people who work within voluntary organisations, as paid employees or staff, to develop energetic, practical and thoughtful leadership practice. Approximately 15 hours; Introductory level After studying this course the learner will be able to: • approach leadership in a more energetic and thoughtful way • discuss approaches to leadership in relation to a number of pressing concerns relevant to voluntary organisations • practise leadership in a more robust way, through drawing on some key practices • offer a critique of dominant approaches to leadership in relation to cases from the voluntary sector • discuss and reflect on leadership in the voluntary sector in relation to ethics • articulate a form of leadership rooted in practice between diverse groups of people and contexts.

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    Course

    15 hrs

    Level 0 Beginner

  • Collaborative leadership in voluntary organisations

    Collaborative leadership in voluntary organisations

    This free course helps learners to reflect on and develop collaborative leadership practices that will make a difference. Approximately 24 hours; Intermediate level After studying this course the learner should be able to: • describe the context and need for collaborative forms of leadership • describe the range of different leadership identities suggested by collaborative settings and the power relationships implied in these identities • plan and think about the challenges of leading collaborations • experiment with a range of practices of collaborative leadership • practice collaborative leadership in a more robust way • offer a critique of collaborative leadership in relation to its potential and limitations for leadership of voluntary organisations • discuss and reflect on collaborative leadership in the voluntary sector in relation to power.

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    Course

    24 hrs

    Level 1 Introductory

  • Involving Volunteers

    Involving Volunteers

    This course is about the essential things which need to be considered to ensure a positive experience of volunteering. It asks you to consider those essentials, explore them in your own context and develop an approach to enabling them that is proportionate to that context. The course is structured around the volunteer’s perspective, from thinking about volunteering, through getting started and making a difference, to building on a successful experience. In each of the four sections overlapping phases of the volunteer journey we ask you to consider the issues raised, explore then reflect on them in your context, and develop an appropriate plan.

    Try this course

    Course

    14 hrs

    Level 1 Introductory

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