Why transferable skills matter in the workplace

July 12, 2023

What are transferable skills and why are they important in the workplace?

It’s become increasingly important for an employee to possess a set of skills that can be applied across different job roles and industries. Known as transferable skills, these skills are useful for a variety of professions and industries and can help give you an edge over the competition in today’s rapidly evolving job market.

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What are transferable skills? 

Quite simply, transferable skills are the abilities that you develop throughout your career, which can be transferred and applied to different contexts. Often seen as ‘soft skills’, these skills are not limited to a specific job title or industry but can be leveraged across various work environments. They can encompass a wide range of proficiencies, such as customer service, project management, leadership skills, coaching skills, operations management, digital marketing, and social media expertise. 

Let’s break down some of the essential transferable skills you’ll need as an employee. 

Customer service skills are crucial in any profession. Being able to measure effectiveness, build brand and influence people are particularly valuable. These skills support effective communication, being able to articulate ideas clearly, listen actively, and convey information effectively. Customer service and retention skills are useful for customer or public facing roles, as well as managers and communicators who have to collaborate with or influence internal stakeholders.  

Project management skills also come in handy in any industry. Problem-solving skills are particularly useful. As are management, time management, teamwork, and adaptability. Project management training can help with prioritising and tracking tasks, meeting deadlines, and efficiently allocating resources. You’ll need these skills in virtually any job or industry, as they ensure productivity and reduce stress for everyone involved. ESP’s P3.Express training shares a practical project management framework that supports project planning and collaboration. 

Strong leadership skills are valuable across industries and at different career levels. Leadership encompasses the ability to inspire and motivate others, make informed decisions, and effectively manage teams. Being able to contribute ideas, listen actively, and resolve conflicts is vital. These skills are relevant in management positions, project leadership, team coordination, and entrepreneurial ventures and can lead to a departmental lead, team manager, event organiser, or team leader position. This incredibly versatile skill opens up a wide range of opportunities for career growth and exploration. ESP’s Leadership and Management courses help individuals to effectively manage teams with confidence.  


Coaching skills are essential for anyone leading teams or mentoring individuals. Being able to collaborate and work in a team helps to achieve common goals and fosters a peaceful and productive work environment. Managers can use coaching skills to develop their team members and even support them through apprenticeships. Coaching skills can be transferred across leadership and management roles. 


Operations management skills are highly practical for any aspiring senior leader. These can include analytical skills and critical thinking, which are crucial to have in your repertoire. Analytical skills involve being able to gather, interpret, and evaluate data to make informed decisions and solve complex problems. Critical thinking is similar, and involves the ability to objectively analyse information, evaluate arguments, and lead change. These skills are highly applicable in roles that require problem-solving, decision-making, or risk assessment. Our Operations Manager Level 5 course is ideal for building management skillsets. 


Social media skills are highly sought after in business and can teach you about goal setting and building strategies. Keeping up to date with social media platforms and understanding how to manage your personal and business online presence are particularly useful for marketing and admin roles. These skills can be gained through fully funded and short courses. 


Digital marketing skills teach analysis and evaluation of strategies as well as important marketing techniques, such as product positioning. Marketing also teaches adaptability, which is highly sought-after in industries that undergo frequent technological advancements or market fluctuations. ESP’s Level 3 Digital Marketer course helps to develop skills for sales and marketing roles in particular. 


An investment in transferable skills is an investment in your business 

By developing transferable skills, employees get the chance to broaden their career prospects because they have the foundation of being able to adapt to new opportunities and challenges.  

In turn, employers must recognise the importance of investing in employees who want to build these skills and provide opportunities for training and development. The benefits of having employees with transferable skills are numerous.  

  • Having employees with diverse sets of skills enables you to build agile teams. If you pull in individuals with different strengths and areas of expertise, the teams you put together will be dynamic, innovative, and able to tackle tough projects. Being able to excel and work toward a goal together fosters inclusion and collaboration, which leads to increased employee satisfaction and productivity.  
  • When you invest in employees with transferable skills, you are essentially building a talent pool within your organisation that can move seamlessly into different teams or departments. Having this flexibility means you are able to respond quickly to changing business needs and easily capitalise on emerging opportunities. 
  • When you have employees who possess transferable skills and can work in any area of your business that’s required, you’ll be able to keep up with market shifts more efficiently, which is crucial since they are quite prone to volatility at times.  


Examples of applying transferable skills 

If you’re still unsure of how some of these skills can be applied in different scenarios, let’s take a look at some examples: 

Are you a military veteran? It’s important to remember that transferable skills are not exclusive to any specific profession. Veterans are one population that have acquired valuable transferable skills during their service that can be applied to the civilian workforce.  

Two skills that are prominent with former military personnel are project management and effective communication as they are ingrained in military training. Managing and delivering projects on time and efficiently and being able to communicate important information quickly and clearly makes veterans valuable assets in civilian roles in any industry. 

Looking to transition careers? Transferable skills can make career transitions easier and provide new paths for professional development. For example, having basic teacher training can open doors to various positions, such as supporting roles in nursery schools or as a teaching assistant. Likewise, customer service skills will help beyond customer-facing roles as they are also valuable when working with other teams in your organisation. 

And finally… Gain skills when you leave school 

As we enter the summer holidays, you might find yourself with some extra free time. Or maybe you are in a transitional phase of your life, in the middle of a job search trying to figure out what to do next. Why not fill your time and better yourself at the same time by developing transferable skills?  

Consider refresher courses, introductory programmes, or even structured courses that equip you with essential transferable skills. By choosing to level up your skill set, you’ll be ready for whatever opportunity might come your way and enhancing your CV at the same time.  

So, how can employers facilitate the acquisition of transferable skills among their staff? One effective approach is working with The Education and Skills Partnership who offer courses tailored to meeting your company’s needs. Our courses cover a range of areas, including customer service, project management, leadership development, and digital marketing, just to name a few. Investing in education and training for your employees actively contributes to the growth and versatility of your workforce for the future, all while you reap the benefits of a highly skilled and adaptable team in the present. 


How can we help? 

The Education Skills and Partnership team is passionate about learning and development. We work with employers and employees alike to design a training and education programme that fits the needs of both parties.  

Our learning and skills coaches are highly skilled and well-qualified in what they do. What’s most important to us is that our learners feel cared for and listened to and that our courses help them fulfil their potential, progress in their profession, and meet their individual career development goals.  

To discuss how we can support you on your journey of developing transferable skills, get in touch with our team for a free consultation.

For the full list of apprenticeship funding criteria and guidance, visit gov.uk for more information.

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