About the programme
ICS brings the skills, enthusiasm and energy of young volunteers to development projects who have actively asked for help. Local volunteers work alongside ICS volunteers, exchanging ideas and collaborating on finding effective solutions to real-life problems. This means that progress is focused and sustainable.
Volunteering offers a life-changing experience for young people and an opportunity to help improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. Participants learn firsthand about the challenges of poverty and what can be done about it. They leave the programme as better-informed active citizens with new skills for life – and to offer to potential employers.
The application form is your chance to shine. This is the only information that we receive so you must really sell yourself. If we are ever oversubscribed we may prioritise applicants who have shown a previous commitment to helping other people. Try to think of examples from school, college, hobbies or work. Convey why you want to go overseas. ICS is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so please take your time and give as thorough and detailed answers as you can.
The scheme is aimed at people who are at a formative stage in their lives. Volunteering at this age builds skills and attitudes that remain for life, both among UK volunteers and their partners overseas. ICS values the contribution of young volunteers, their ability to engage their peers, to act as a catalyst for community participation and to demonstrate in action that everyone has a role to play in development. ICS is also open to older volunteers aged 23-35 who have the necessary skills and experience to be Team Leaders.
ICS aims to provide a life-enhancing opportunity to as many people as possible. If you have already volunteered, you are not eligible to apply again. However, returned ICS volunteers with leadership and motivational skills can apply for Team Leader roles using the standard application form.
We recommend you apply as soon as you can, but you should apply at least three months before you wish to go overseas. This gives you enough time to fundraise, get all your necessary vaccinations, go to training and generally get ready for your overseas placement. If you are looking to go overseas during the summer, these placements are the most popular due to university and college holidays falling in this period. If this is the only time you can go, then get your application in as soon as possible.
Lead partner agency VSO has a long and impressive history of working with young people in developing countries. Our other partners are also trusted experts. Between them, they offer a wide range of projects focused on reducing poverty and they are each well-equipped to train and support our volunteers, both here in the UK and when they reach their destination countries.