Social action learning

Congratulations, you are about to start your journey to become a social action champion and gain a recognised award. By the end of this course you will have undertaken the Employability Skills Award through Social Action, accredited by awarding organisation SLQ.

Throughout this course you will plan and deliver a social action project and develop a set of employability skills that will make you:

When you are ready, click Start course to begin. There are two learning modules to complete. 

Section 1: Social action and the skills you need to succeed


In Section 1 you will...

  • Understand what social action is.
  • Identify the benefits of social action.
  • Rate your employability skills and identify how to improve them.

Throughout this section you will come across a number of activities. Complete each activity to finish this section. 

Social Action and the skills you need to succeed

You may well have already come across the term social action through #iwill

#iwill is a UK-wide campaign that aims to make social action part of life for as many 10 to 20 year-olds as possible by the year 2020. Through collaboration and partnership it is spreading the word about the benefits of youth social action, working to embed it in the journey of young people and create fresh opportunities for participation.

Click to play the video to the right to see how the #iwill campaign is bringing together a wide range of partners to enable young people make a positive difference through social action.

Video reference:

What is social action?

Social action is people taking practical action in the service of others in order to create positive social change that is of benefit to the wider community as well as to the young person themselves.

So, how does this differ to volunteering? 

Let’s firstly recognise that volunteering is fantastic and if you’re already doing that then well done! The key difference is that volunteering is usually to help someone else out in your spare time. With social action you decide what you want to do, it's more of a project aimed to improve a specific need within the community. 

Have a think about the personal benefits of undertaking social action. What do you want to get out of it and how do you hope it will help you?

The great thing about social action is that there are benefits to everyone involved - the community, the training provider (eg: your school/college/community group), employers and, of course, yourselves.

Benefits of undertaking social action

As you identified on the previous page, there are numerous personal benefits to social action. Have a look at the table below, which outlines the dual benefits to both yourself and the community. Did you include some of these in your answer? Does the table identify any benefits that didn’t even occur to you?

Principles of great social action

The #iwill Campaign have identified a range of principles which define great social action.

Given that social action projects can take place in various contexts and settings it is important that these set of principles are applied regardless of how and where a project is delivered.

The skills you need to succeed

Recent research suggests that many young people struggle to identify what employability skills are and how these can be developed. Young people (ie: you!) have also suggested that the gaps between education and employment are daunting. Employers also regularly voice their concerns over the lack of work-readiness of young people.

Undertaking this course, and also planning and delivering your social action project, will give you the opportunity to develop your own employability skills and know how you can use these in the future.

No doubt you will have heard of the term 'employability skills' but there are a number of other terms you may have come across which essentially mean the same things...

Whichever term is used, they are very important and significant to employers. With the ever-changing landscape of work, it is vital that young people are now adaptable, especially when people move jobs these days more than ever before.

What are skills and behaviours?

Skills are the things an individual can do. 

Behaviours are what an individual can use to make them: more effective in performing skills, stand out from the crowd and become more employable.

For example (click on the information icons below):

The 5 key employability skills

A definitive set of skills has been identified. 

These skills have been identified by young people, education and employment representatives as the core five skills that need to be developed in young people (The Youth Employment UK Employability Review – June 2017).

Defining the skills

  • Self-belief
    - building confidence in your own ability.
  • Teamwork
    - enabling you to work with others.
  • Communication
    - your ability to listen and share verbal, written and electronically.
  • Problem solving
    - understanding a problem and using logic to find solutions.
  • Self-management
    - taking responsibility for your actions and doing things to the best of your ability.

Rating your employability skills

It is not expected that by this point your skill set is completely defined –it’s an ever-evolving process so don’t worry if you are not confident in all areas right now. It will come with practice. Adults are still developing these skills after years of practice!

Throughout the next activity, and also once you have delivered your social action project, you will undertake a vital process in enhancing your employability skills - outlined below.


On the next page you will review your current skill set using the scale below.

There is no wrong answer here, so don't be afraid to suggest that your skills might need improving

Rating your employability skills


This skill encompasses self-control, self-awareness, self-regulation and commitment amongst other behaviours. It involves setting yourself goals and managing your time effectively.

Even when you are working as part of a team, self-management is really important as it’s taking responsibility for your own actions, being organised and taking initiative.

When you are planning and delivering your social action project you will no doubt need to undertake a number of tasks as part of your team, so it’s vital that you meet these requirements to ensure that the overall project goes to plan.

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