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Taking my learning further

1 What have I learned?

We hope you found Taking part in the voluntary sector interesting and informative.

You may remember answering a few questions at the start of the course about your learning motivations. Now you’ve completed all or part of the course we’d like to ask you to reflect on your experience by completing one last short activity.

Activity 1

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes.

If you would like to review your responses to the first questionnaire at the start of the course you can do so by revisiting the Questionnaire about your learning (1) at the start of the course.

Consider where you were when you first started this course.

  • How did studying this course fit within your general everyday routine? Did you dedicate time to work on it or were you given time to complete the work?
  • Were there any particular challenges you faced? How did you overcome them?
  • Have you learned anything that you will be able to take forwards in the future? How might this influence how you do things in the future?

By studying this course you should now be able to:

  • understand the role and scope of the voluntary sector, its environment and workforce
  • recognise and use some of the terms and concepts associated with the voluntary sector
  • be able to describe the key areas of work in a voluntary organisation and how to apply your knowledge about the sector to your own work or volunteering
  • be able to clarify, and feel more confident about, where your skills and interests might fit within the voluntary sector and know where to go for further information, training and support.

2 Badges and statement of participation


We hope that you now feel a sense of achievement collecting the badges for Taking part in the voluntary sector. For a reminder on how to obtain your badges after completing a section, please see How do I access my badge? 

For a reminder on how to obtain your statement of participation after achieving all of your badges, please see How do I access my statement of participation?

If you haven’t yet collected the full set of four badges for Taking part in the voluntary sector, you still have the opportunity to return to the course and attempt other sections. When you have collected all four badges you will be able to download a statement of participation. It shows that you have successfully completed the whole course and you can take it to your employer to demonstrate self-directed learning and support for personal development.

When you have successfully completed a section and passed the associated quiz assessment, you will receive your Taking part in the voluntary sector badge for that section. You will receive email notification that your badge has been awarded and it will appear in your My Badges area in your OpenLearn Works profile. Please note it can take up to 24 hours for a badge to be issued.

You will be notified by email if you have received a statement of participation. Once it is available (as a PDF file), you will be able to see and download it from your OpenLearn Works profile.

It may take up to 24 hours for the statement of participation to be issued after you have completed the course.

3 Where next?

We hope you enjoyed Taking part in the voluntary sector, and we hope the course has inspired you to continue your learning journey. Below are some key links to where you might like to go next.

Progressing your career

If you are looking for a job in the voluntary sector, national newspapers are a useful starting point. The Guardian, for example, has a dedicated section for charity and public sector jobs in the printed newspaper on a Wednesday, but also has a jobs website online which makes searching easier.

Local and regional papers generally include adverts for larger and smaller organisations. There are also specialist papers, for example, The VoiceThe Asian PostMarketing WeekTES (Times Educational Supplement) and Health Service Journal.

The charity trade press is an important source of jobs as well as articles about working in the voluntary sector. These include Third SectorCharity TimesCharity Finance and Professional Fundraiser. Most have a website too.

Online sources are quick to check and you can usually sign up for ‘job alert’ emails, which will save you even more time in your search. It is also a good idea to ‘follow’ many of these groups via Facebook, Twitter and other social media as they will often post messages or tweet about jobs.

Charity websites: most organisations have an online presence and many will have a website where they advertise jobs as well as volunteering opportunities.

Recruitment websites and agencies are an important source of jobs from across the voluntary sector, with many covering all types of jobs and others specialising in particular fields such as heritage or finance. Examples include:

NCVO Online Training: training-and-events/ online-training

Studyzone is an online hub of video e-learning courses for the voluntary sector. Studyzone is completely free for NCVO members and available as a subscription or to buy. NCVO membership is free to organisations with a gross annual income under £30,000.


You may like to consider volunteering to extend and enhance your skills and knowledge. These websites may help you to think about your options:

More free, informal courses

Taking part in the voluntary sector is one of a suite of six courses. You may like to study one of the other five.

The Open University also provides further online introductory courses and skills for study courses, all of which are free and online.

FutureLearn also has a wide range of online courses that you may like to consider.

The Open University

You may like to consider one of The Open University’s Access courses to prepare you for successful study towards a nationally recognised higher education qualification.

The OU offers a range of qualifications that you might want to consider.

The PEARL website

Part-time Education for Adults Returning to Learn (PEARL) is a useful website for adults looking for part-time study opportunities, including all types of provision from free, non-accredited courses through to higher-level learning.


Finding out more about the voluntary sector in the UK.

NCVO:, email-updates

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (specifically England but also covers UK-wide issues). Useful for sector news, discussions and policy as well as information about running an effective charity. Sign up to receive free e-newsletters on topics from campaigning to governance and funding to leadership. Follow on social media for news and updates.


The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland’s charities and voluntary organisations. Useful for news, discussions and policy development and information on running charities. Follow on social media for news and updates.


The Wales Council for Voluntary Action covers all aspects of the voluntary sector in Wales and includes a Learning Zone on its website. Useful for news, discussions, policy development and information on running charities. Follow on social media for news and updates.


The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action is the membership and umbrella organisation for voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland. They provide information, news, guidance and training materials. Follow on social media for news and updates.

KnowHow NonProfit:

Lots of useful discussion and content on setting up and running a not-for-profit organisation. Knowhow NonProfit is part of the NCVO.


Practical resources for people involved in charities, voluntary or community organisations with a regular e-newsletter.

Third Sector:

Probably the most well known voluntary sector news site. Also provide e-summaries to your inbox. Still prints and distributes a monthly hard-copy magazine.

Civil Society:

News from across the sector and e-newsletters on a range of areas.

Guardian Voluntary Sector Network: voluntary-sector-network

News and comment on the sector, with online forums and an e-newsletter.

Charity Trends, Charities Aid Foundation :

Charity data at your fingertips. This data is supplied to Charities Aid Foundation by the Charity Commission once a month (for England and Wales) and published as Charity Trends.

4 Feedback

Finally, please take our short end-of-course survey.

We’re really interested in hearing from you and completing this survey should take no more than 10 minutes.


This free course was written by Julie Charlesworth (tutor at The Open University) and Georgina Anstey (consultant from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations).

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence.

Every effort has been made to contact copyright owners. If any have been inadvertently overlooked, the publishers will be pleased to make the necessary arrangements at the first opportunity.

Don't miss out

If reading this text has inspired you to learn more, you may be interested in joining the millions of people who discover our free learning resources and qualifications by visiting The Open University – openlearn/ free-courses.