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What are the requirements to become a development worker?

All Progressio placements are different and require a specific skill-set. The minimum requirements include:

  • A relevant qualification
  • Demonstrable experience in a specific area.
  • A commitment to share and learn skills
  • A personal commitment to successfully complete the placement for its agreed length.

Some of the personal qualities of a successful development worker include flexibility, resourcefulness and excellent interpersonal skills.

Do I need to have already worked in the developing world?

No. Previous experience of living and/or working in the developing world is not an essential requirement.

Am I too young – or too old?

No. During the last financial year (2009/10), the average age of a development worker was 39, which demonstrates the level of skills and experience required. Our youngest development worker was 26 and the oldest was 65. So, whatever your age, if you have a commitment to share your skills and experience, we would like to hear from you.

Do I have to be Catholic?

No. We work with people of all faiths and none, and our staff and development workers are people of all faiths and none. However, our development workers should be sympathetic towards our values, which are based on a combination of faith values, Catholic social teaching and secular development thinking.

Do I have to be British?

No. Progressio was one of the first sending agencies in Britain to select and place development workers who were themselves from the global South. One of the great strengths of our development workers, aside from their skills and commitment, is their diversity of backgrounds. In the financial year 2009/2010 we had development workers of 39 nationalities; 43 came from the global North and 89 from the global South.

Can I apply to be a development worker in my own country?

We welcome applications from all nationalities, however we are not able to recruit development workers to work in their own countries. (The only current exceptions are Zimbabwe, where we can only recruit nationals, and in both Haiti and Somaliland, where we are able to consider both nationals and non-nationals.)

For example, we do not recruit Honduran nationals to work as a development worker in Honduras, but a Honduran national could apply for a development worker placement in any other country programme where Progressio works, whether this is in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East or Asia.

Why can’t I apply to be a development worker in my own country?

Our model of development is based on international cooperation and solidarity, and skills and knowledge being shared by people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. We also aim to provide skills and experience which are not available locally to our partner organisations. This is one of the main reasons why we do not recruit development workers to work in their own countries.

However, we do recruit nationals to work in our country offices, and the vast majority of our in-country staff are nationals.

How long is a development worker placement?

Development workers are usually placed for a two-year period to ensure that the placement achieves a sustainable, long term impact.

Occasionally, we have shorter-term placements. The placement length always appears on the placement description.

What will I get paid?

You will receive a comprehensive package of benefits including a pre-departure grant, travel to and from your placement, a monthly living allowance (in line with that of local professionals working in the development/charity sector), accommodation, accident and emergency insurance cover, and holiday entitlement.

What about my family or other dependants?

For most of our placements, we welcome development workers with accompanying dependants. We do not provide an augmented living allowance for development workers with accompanying dependants, but we make provisions including paying their travel costs and insurance cover. The Terms and Conditions section of the placement description states whether the placement allows for accompanying dependants.

Will a development worker placement make a difference in my future career prospects?

Yes. Progressio’s model is a two-way model: you share your skills, and at the same time, you develop new ones.

During your placement, you will have the opportunity to be involved with some exciting work with local partner organisations, some of which have over the years acquired a national and international reputation for their work. You will learn new skills and new ways of working. You will be challenged, and develop. Furthermore, during your placement you will have plenty of opportunities to network with other Progressio development workers and with local and international professionals in the country where you are placed.

Your newly acquired skills and experience will enhance your career prospects. After finishing their placements, development workers often secure new employment with other leading international organisations, NGOs, or with the government. Others decide to consolidate their newly acquired skills by undertaking further study.