How Teachers Have Amazing Transferable Skills for the Charity Sector

4 minute read

Are you a teacher looking for a career change? If you’ve reached the point of, ‘I’ve done a great job, but I can’t see myself teaching for another ten years,’ then a move to the charity sector could be just the change you’re looking for.

Unsurprisingly, charity roles appeal as alternative jobs for teachers, not only due to their shared values and people-focused culture, but also their reputation for looking after their employees. Many teachers still want to support vulnerable groups and make a difference.

As a teacher, you have a breadth of valuable transferable experience, and the charity sector offers a huge array of roles for which you are highly skilled. Most teachers come with years of management and leadership experience, and have a wide range of transferable skills from teaching to offer any growing organisation.


Which transferable teaching skills is the charity sector looking for?

Not only are you experienced in client engagement and retention, but you’re also used to working across cross-functional teams and communicating confidently with external stakeholders.

You’re also pretty unflappable… diving into online learning during a pandemic, project managing large events, presenting to diverse audiences and timetabling and allocating resources on an extremely tight budget, while meeting a range of KPIs.

To give you an idea of the roles for which you’re already trained and experienced, here are a few common charity roles that are popular as a career change for teachers and the skills that make them appealing.

How Teachers Have Amazing Transferable Skills for the Charity Sector

Project Management

You’re very experienced in managing small- and large-scale complex projects and are a natural problem solver.

Your transferable skills from teaching include:

  • meticulous organisation
  • auditing and research skills
  • planning timelines, budgets and resources
  • delegating
  • risk management
  • communicating complex processes
  • impact evaluation
  • data analysis and reporting.


Client and Volunteer Management

When you work in the education sector, you become very familiar with meeting the needs of your clients, despite being under enormous pressure day-to-day.

Your transferable skills from teaching include:

  • onboarding new clients
  • developing relationships quickly
  • nurturing and mentoring others
  • managing competing priorities
  • conflict resolution
  • client retention and engagement monitoring
  • strong team leadership skills.

star volunteers 2019

Training, Learning and Development

Not many people are comfortable engaging an audience of several hundred or confident designing inclusive training.

Your transferable skills from teaching include:

  • public speaking to large audiences
  • ability to engage diverse range of learners
  • experience mentoring and coaching
  • chairing meetings
  • conflict resolution
  • client centred learning design
  • designing evaluation frameworks.


Fundraising and Community Engagement

As a teacher and education leader, you need to be pretty persuasive in rallying a team and inspiring action in others.

Your transferable skills from teaching include:

  • engaging diverse audiences
  • strong teamwork skills
  • focused on customer satisfaction
  • writing funding bids
  • commercial eye for investment
  • writing evaluation reports
  • marketing and website copywriting.

As you can see, you have an awesome range of skills! Teachers are a really great catch, and there’s a growing number realising that their skills go beyond being ‘just a teacher’. They are highly experienced managers who happen to work in education.

How Teachers Have Amazing Transferable Skills for the Charity Sector

Five steps teachers can take to career change into the charity sector


1.  Understand your transferable skills

The most important thing you can do when looking to make a career change for teachers, is to get clear on your transferable skills. Not only will this help you feel more confident about your worth when searching for roles and reading job descriptions, but it will help you articulate your experiences clearly on a CV or at an interview.

Think about an average day, week and year, about the relationships and systems you manage, and start collating your skills.


2.  Research roles you’re interested in

Researching roles like those mentioned above will help you develop a clear idea of the core competencies employers are looking for. Once you start to become familiar with the terminology used, you’ll quickly work out whether your experience matches.

Start keeping a spreadsheet of the roles you like and your corresponding skills. CharityJob makes researching simple, with the ability to select remote roles and specify required salary.


3. Upskill with short courses

While you needn’t retrain, there are ways to upskill and strategically add to your CV. You’ll find a wealth of short and informative courses on the CharityJob Courses Hub with topics such as diversity and inclusion, bid writing and volunteer recruitment. If you’re interested in a particular charity role, looking here may give you some ideas for topping up your CV.


4. Reposition your experience and skills

Other sectors may not be aware of the breadth of your experience, and you need to be careful you don’t list duties on your CV. Being able to articulate the transferable skills valuable to each specific charity role is key.

For a comprehensive course on how to reframe your skills, experience and impact for a range of charity roles, have a look at CVs & Resumes for Teacher Career Change.


5. Don’t be shy about selling yourself

In the education system, we’re very used to performance reviews and reflective practice, which can mean selling ourselves doesn’t come naturally. But no-one else is going to sell you!

The time for side-stepping the limelight is over and you need to start claiming the amazing skills you have to offer. Think about it like this, if you don’t share how brilliantly you could do the job, someone less experienced and passionate might get it.

How Teachers Have Amazing Transferable Skills for the Charity Sector

There are literally hundreds of charity roles out there as career change options for teachers, for which you’d be perfect. Get clear on your skills and the types of roles you could do, and then start reaching out to inquire about jobs and introduce yourself.

Teachers bring with them a complex and invaluable mix of stakeholder management, team development, training and mentoring, project management, programme development and much more. The time for only looking at resource creation and curriculum design roles is over.

Increasingly, the charity sector is recognising the experience that teachers and education leaders can bring to their teams. The more experienced you become in repositioning your skills, the wider the range of interesting roles you can apply for.

Start searching for roles today and let’s find your adventure after teaching!


Joanne Howard

Joanne is an experienced teacher and education leader turned Teacher Career Coach. She specialises in helping teachers reframe their skills to secure roles in a wide range of sectors. Her podcast and Facebook group passionately celebrates teacher career change and provides lots of inspirational stories.