Why should I choose ICS?
How long do placements last for?
Where could I be working?
Will I be part of a team?
How do you help me prepare for my placement?
How is ICS funded?
Do I need to fundraise?
Do I need to book my plane flight?
Can I travel before, during or after my ICS placement?
Do I need to speak the local language(s)?
What happens when I return home to the UK?
How do I know if ICS is for me?
What is an ICS placement like?
ICS is a once-in-a-lifetime volunteering opportunity open to all 18-25 year olds.
Funded by the UK government and led by VSO, this is not a holiday. It's a chance to immerse yourself in another culture, challenge yourself, and build confidence. With ICS, you can gain valuable life experience and develop skills that potential employers take seriously.
General Volunteer placements last 12 weeks. These are for young people aged 18-25 at the time of departure. 12 weeks might seem like a long time, but we know it takes time to understand a community and its issues.
Team Leader placements last for 6 months. These are for experienced people aged 23+.
ICS is a development programme that brings together young people from the UK and developing countries to volunteer in some of the poorest communitiees in Africa, Asia and Central America.
International Service are currently recruiting for volunteer placements in Ghana and Burkina Faso. We encourage you to think about what projects and countries you would like to work in, but we cannot guarantee a particular country.
Yes - you'll be part of a team of 5-6 volunteers from the UK, working alongside volunteers from the country you'll be working in. You will be supported by two Team Leaders.
You'll also be working with a local partner that has asked for your help, learning from each other, and living in the heart of the local community.
There are some practical things you need to do, such as arranging your vaccinations and visa. We will support you throughout this process.
All volunteers attend a pre-departure training weekend in York. This helps you understand more about development issues, and prepare for living and working in a different culture.
Once you arrive in-country, the first few days of your placement are dedicated to learning more about the country and culture.
The UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) funds 90% of the ICS programme. The other 10% is funded by volunteer fundraising.
All UK volunteers and team leaders are asked to raise a minimum target of £800 before departure on an ICS programme. This is an individual target, and you will be fully supported by an ICS Fundraising Officer.
Fundraising is a really important part of your journey as an ICS volunteer. It shows you are committed to the programme and that you really want to make a difference.
The money you fundraise is a contribution towards the cost of your placement. Asking volunteers to fundraise means we can give more young people an opportunity on the ICS scheme.
International Service will book the flights for you and will send details once they are organised. All volunteers will travel together on the same flight. This means that you cannot travel before or after the programme, and all flights will leave to and from the UK.
Every part of your placement is designed to make sure you are safe and secure during this life-changing experience.
You are only allowed to travel outside of your local community for project related activities, with permission from International Service. This is the case for every agency that delivers ICS, and is not a reflection of security in a particular project or community. You may read ICS blog posts which feature volunteers travelling, but these are historic and the travel policy has changed across all ICS projects.
You must travel with your group on the pre-booked flights both to and from the placement. It is also essential that you are available to attend training before and after your placement, and carry out your Action at Home project when you return.
Language skills aren't a requirement of the scheme. However, there are many languages you will come across on your placement. You'll get some training in-country, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you pick things up. However, it's important to try and learn at least the basics before you depart.
If you do have language skills that's a bonus - you'll have an advantage when it comes to integrating into the local community, and being able to work in a hands-on way. Language skills are essential for Team Leaders, depending on the country of your placement.
You will share your experience and what you've learned with your community in the UK. A final training session with us in York will help you do that.
When you get back to the UK, you'll be supported to carry out at least one activity in your local or wider community that draws on these experiences.
This might involve campaigning and lobbying, volunteering or holding a talk at a youth or community centre.
- You don’t need specific qualifications.
- We're looking for volunteers who are committed to helping others, flexible, adaptable, and good at working in a team.
- You must be living in the UK. If you don't have a British passport, you must have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or be an EU/EEA citizen living in the UK.
- The scheme is for everyone regardless of their financial background.
You can also click here to read blogs, written by the volunteers themselves on placement.
Remember to select you heard about ICS through International Service