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Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.
Leadership training for students

With the right guidance, you could lead, motivate, and inspire. Leadership training with GVI can help you become the leader you want to be. 

What makes a great leader? Is it charisma, intelligence, or skill? If you’re wondering if you’re got what it takes to lead, you’ll be encouraged to know that leadership comes down to your skillset. And leadership skills can be learned by anyone. 

With the right training, you can hone your leadership skills and set yourself up for a successful career. 


A GVI participant practises leadership skills while on a project in Phang Nga, Thailand.

What are leadership skills and why do you need them?

Leadership doesn’t necessarily have to do with your status or where you sit in a hierarchy. It’s more about an overall attitude and an ability to motivate others to reach a common goal. 

To be a good leader, you will need to possess a range of soft skills that will help you to interact with and positively influence team members. These leadership skills can be among your most valuable assets and are therefore instrumental in your career progression

Leadership skills appeal to employers. They indicate that you have strong interpersonal skills, can make decisions, and can solve problems. When you’re equipped with leadership skills, you’ll be able to take on a wide range of challenges.  


A GVI staff member runs training at the base in Chiang Mai, Thailand. GVI staff run leadership training programs on internships, and programs that are over four weeks.


Essential leadership skills include communication, patience, integrity, agility, positivity, and the ability to give useful feedback. 

As with all competencies, with focus and commitment, you can improve your leadership skills. Start when you’re still a student to get a head start on your career. 

How to develop your leadership skills

If leadership is a goal for you, you can take focused steps to boost your skills. Here are a few of the key ways you can develop your leadership abilities. 

1) Follow your passion

A participant practises leadership skills in a GVI teaching program.


In order to lead, you need to be passionate about what you do. 

When you are motivated by passion, you’ll find it easier to put in the hard work required to reach your goals, and inspire others to do the same. Plus, people are more likely to recognise you as a leader when you are truly engaged in your work. 

If you’re not sure what your passion is, you can explore different causes or career paths through internships or volunteering programs. For example, you could try out marine conservation work or teaching women in vulnerable communities

2) Find out your leadership personality

A GVI community liason takes part in leadership development while delivering the menstrual health program in rural Laos.


Leadership can come in many styles and forms. You could be a strong decision-maker, or more inclined to listen carefully to feedback from a team before making a decision. You could motivate people through your charisma or by detailed goal setting. 

The way you lead is an extension of your personality. Use your strengths to your advantage. For example, if you have a lot of empathy and are a good listener, you’ll probably be great at building relationships. 

3) Set goals

Leadership skills are important for professional development, no matter your career goals. Pictured: A GVI participant facilitates a workshop with girls in Cambodia.


By setting concrete goals and tracking your progress towards them, you will stay motivated to achieve your leadership goals. 

For example, this might encourage you to take on extra responsibilities. You might consider signing up for a new and challenging experience, or enrol in training to help continue your professional development. 

4) Take a leadership training program

Leadership training programs are one of the clearest ways to development leadership skills. Pictured: A GVI participant leads a session in Cambodia.


Completing a certificate or qualification is one of the most direct ways of developing leadership skills. 

Top leadership development courses will help you become a stronger, more confident leader. Leadership courses help you to identify where you need to develop your skills, plus give you the chance to learn alongside other aspiring leaders. 

Leadership training programs are also a great addition to your resume, as it will prove to future employers that you are dedicated to improving your skills. This will help you stay one step ahead of the competition when job hunting. 


GVI participants practise soft skills such as problem solving as part of leadership training activities in Phang Nga, Thailand.


Taking leadership training when you’re still a student is an excellent way to set you up for the future and make sure you’re prepared when the time comes to step up and lead. 

You can find leadership training courses online, formal academic training at business schools, or you can access leadership skills training through your workplace. Ideally, to hone your skills you will have both theoretical training and the opportunity to put that knowledge into practice in real-world scenarios. 

GVI offers a leadership course that combines both academic and practical training to help you meet your leadership goals.

GVI’s leadership training courses

After gaining a leadership certificate with GVI, participants are better equipped to take on leadership roles, such as teaching.


GVI’s volunteering and internship programs not only give you the chance to do something truly meaningful, they also help to boost your employability. By taking part in a GVI program, you’ll have the chance to work on your leadership. 

GVI offers program participants the opportunity to gain a leadership certificate endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), an organisation consisting of over 30,000 leadership professionals. 

All GVI internships include this certified leadership course, and you can also add it onto any program you’ll be joining for four weeks or more. 


Improve your leaderships while on a GVI project. Participants practise leadership skills such as problem solving while contributing to sustainable development programs.


Our leadership course will teach you the theoretical concepts around leading a team, and give you the chance to put these principles into practice in real-world scenarios. Leadership training activities on the course include assignments, reflection periods, and one-on-one mentoring. 

When you complete the course, as well as having newly developed soft skills designed for leadership, you will receive a 12-month ILM membership. This means you will have ongoing access to leadership development resources.

Take the lead on your future career and start your leadership training today. Browse GVI’s internship programs and you’ll make a difference in your own life and the wider world.

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