The International Citizen Service (ICS) programme offers 18-25-year-olds an opportunity to volunteer on a development programme overseas which will make a real difference in some of the world’s poorest communities. ICS is the UK’s foremost global volunteer programme for young people.2) Thepurpose of ICS is similar to that of National Citizen Service, engaging thousands of young people from all walks of life and setting them onto a path of social responsibility and lifelong volunteering.3) ICS was piloted between 2011-2012 and sent 1,250 UK volunteers to developing countries. The main programme from 2012-2015 will send 7,000 more young people overseas4) Consortium of 6 international development sending agencies with a wealth of experience in implementing an variety of overseas volunteering placements. Led by Voluntary Service Overseas(VSO), the consortium also includes: International Service(IS), Progressio, Restless Development, Raliegh International, and Tearfund.5) UK volunteers will work cross culturally with in country volunteers between 18-25 with a minimum level of conversational English. Volunteers will work with partner organisations in country and will only be working on projects that have specifically asked for help.
ICS has three main aims, each equally as important as the others. This is why this model is sometimes referred to as the ‘three-legged stool’. It ensures a rounded, forward thinking programme, which engages volunteers in life-long social action, both locally and globally. Positive development impact: This aim ensures that:ICS volunteers are engaged in meaningful work and contribute to real development outcomes in the countries they work in. Volunteers will ensure the sustainable effect of the project within the community.Examples of projects include:healthcareeducationHIV and AIDSclimate changesustainable developmentIT and mediasport to build life skills2) Personal development:ie the personal and social development of young volunteers, along the lines of NCS. Participants from the UK and in country will:Learn and practice new skillsWork in socially mixed groupsGain a better understanding of development issues and other cultures3) Local/global citizenship: Participation in ICS will have a long-term impact on participants, by:Creating advocates for international development Creating agents for social change in their local UK communitiesCreating future community leaders in developing countries.
Once in a lifetime opportunity: to work overseas on a real development programme at such a young age, meet like-minded people and set up a brighter futures for themselvesFight Global Poverty: not to cure it completely from the outset but to make their mark, however smallIn country volunteers: ICS volunteers from the UK will be working alongside their peers from the host countryReal impact on…: all overseas projects involved with ICS have asked for the support of UK young people, and their efforts have a tangible impactTraining and learning new skills: All volunteers attend detailed pre-departure and in-country training to ensure they are equipped with the necessary tools to successfully complete their placement. Upon return, volunteers attend a debrief session and then join the ICS alumni, taking part in Action at Home, to engage their local communities. Support to fundraise: many international development placements require the volunteers to fundraise high targets without support. ICS has a dedicated fundraising team to assist volunteers to meet their £800 target, every step of the way. Experience another culture in depth: in most cases, volunteers will stay with host families and fully integrate with the local communities. Increase employability: volunteers learn new and develop existing soft skills, particularly team work, communication, flexibility and self assurance.Personal development journey: volunteers will return with a new perspective and be able to look more positively to their future
What: For my placement I worked cross culturally and in collaboration with Government strands, youth councils, local schools and parents to ensure a successful environmental project combating waste disposal, health implications and climate change through the implementation of a ‘no segregation no collection policy.’ We reached over 9000 people in just 10 weeks, organised community litter picks and trained up some young people to continue with the projects for after we’d left the community. Why:Through taking part on the ICS scheme I’ve gained confidence, flexibility and practical problem solving skills. I’ve made some lifelong friends from the other side of the world as well as around the UK. The experience I got on ICS, aided me in securing my current job. This programme has also helped me in focusing on what I’d like to do in terms of my career – something I had no clue about before I took part in the ICS scheme.
aged 18-25 – can apply from 17.5 yearsavailable for 10-12 weeks – volunteers must make this commitment. Over all six agencies, there departures starting at most times of the yeara UK citizen, or have permanent right to remain in the UKmotivated to make a difference – has demonstrable experience of prior volunteeringready to take up the challenge - of working in one of the world’s poorest countries and leaving behind comforts we take for grantedprepared to fundraise - for their place (typically £800)
Apply via website: www.ics-uk.org.ukor post. Ensure when applying young people select ‘Catch22’ for the question ‘WAS THIS THROUGH AN ICS AGENCY?’Selection day: Typically a whole day with other applicants which consists of a practical group exercise, group discussions around possible situations on placement and an individual interview. Based on 7 dimensions which are explained on the next slide.Paperwork: All applicants at the selection day will need to go through a CRB (having a warning or criminal record does not necessarily bar that applicant from participating). They will also need to sign a volunteer agreement, provide doctors details and make a commitment to obtaining necessary vaccinations (paid for by ICS)Fundraising: Once accepted onto the programme, applicants should begin fundraising, with the help of specialist ICS staffPre-departure training: Helps to orienteer volunteers to their placement country. eg preconceptions, language, culture etc. Introduces programme themes and gives participants the necessary international development focus.Placement: Groups depart the UK together and are met on arrival by in-country staff
The 7 dimensions are the competencies by which candidates are assessed during the selection day. Successful candidates need to show they have these skills, at least in part, and/or have the ability to develop them to a certain level before departure. It is important that young people understand each dimension to give them the best chance of getting through the selection day.Positive and realistic commitment: Commitment to volunteering on ICSAware of likely realities (eg participation in ICS is a challenge, they won’t solve global poverty themselves etc)Commitment to learningCommitted to helping others learnPersonally open to learningPractical problem solving abilityPositive approach to practical problem solvingWilling to make decisions where necessaryInventive use of available resourcesFlexibility and adaptabilityBalanced response to changeAlters behaviour in a way that is appropriate to new and demanding situationsOpen to different ways of doing thingsSelf assuranceComfortable in new situationsGood humouredAware of and able to express own needsWorking with othersAble to develop working relationshipsAble to involve others in seeking solutionsAble to negotiate with othersSensitive to the needs of othersSensitivity in interpersonal relationshipsDiplomatic response to cultural differenceNon judgemental approach to different beliefs, behaviours, values and norms
Employability skills: The application form and selection day are based on business standards and young people should be prepared, ie thinking of examples to prove skills, feel comfortable working with people who they are new to etc/ Practicing group exercises : learning the balance between talking, listening and creating opportunities for others to speak i.e. shy people. Being able to ‘think on your feet’ – problem solving, not taking yourself too seriously, ability to take responsibility and being able to self motivate and motivate others.Realistic expectations: Volunteers should be prepared not see the direct impact of their projects, the impact will be felt over time e.g. creating an eco-farm, nothing will have grown before a volunteer leaves, this does not mean that they haven’t made an impact. Also: poverty is not going to be solved in a 10 week programme by a group of volunteers, it’s about learning the long term benefits of volunteering: working within a community to help others, sharing skills and knowledge ensuring a sustainable programme that can continue even ones the volunteer departs, having new experiences and learning new things that you can take back to your home country and share and develop through action at home and beyond.Know your stuff: do some background research into the ICS programme, the sending agencies and the types of projects volunteers could be involved in. This will give the applicants more confidence during the whole process in discussing, implementing and evaluating the programme.Volunteered in own communities: showing evidence of ‘helping others’ is one of the key elements that secure you a space on a selection day. If applicants have any experience in helping others in a paid or voluntary capacity, it is important for them to put it on the application form and be comfortable in discussing this during the selection day interview.
Catch22 are able to provide guidance and advice to young people who are keen on ICS but are perhaps feeling a little nervous and might be lacking in some of the dimensions and/or employability skills to successfully get through the application process. Please share and cascade this presentation, along with our email address email@example.com, throughout your organisation and beyond. Any key workers and young people who have questions or concerns should email us. The ICS website contains videos and further information on the programme. It is also where young people go to apply. Further information and expertise can be found at the ICS Hub, who manage the programme on behalf of the 6 agencies. Please ensure that staff or young people using this service state that they have been referred from Catch22.
International Citizen Service
What is ICS? International Linked to 7,000 Development NCS volunteers Programme Run by 6 Cross- Agencies cultural
Aims of ICS Positive Development Impact Local/Global Personal Citizenship Development
Benefits of ICS Once in a Work alongside Fight global lifetime in-country poverty opportunity volunteers Real impact on projects which Training and Support to have asked for learn new skills fundraise assistance Experience Personal Increase another culture development employability in-depth journey
Case Study Who? Sophie Hickson Host country? Philippines ICS Agency? VSO Project? Environmental
Who is eligible? UK citizen Prepared Ready for Available Aged or have to a Motivated for 10-12 right to 18-25 fundraise challenge weeks remain
Application Process Please ensure when applying Apply via ICS you select website ‘Catch22’ for the question Action at Selection ‘Was this Home Daythrough an ICS Agency?’ Placement Paperwork Pre- departure Fundraise training
The 7 Dimensions Self assurance Practical Flexibility problem and solving adaptability ability Commitment Working with to learning others Positive and realistic commitment Sensitivity to the needs of others
Recruitment Advice Practising Employability Realistic group skills expectations exercises Volunteered Know your in own stuff! communities