Skills were a big focus at this week’s Positive Change event – a career conference for the many people looking to break into the international development sector.
Vicky Peaple, programme officer from the donor organisation STARS Foundation, talked about the importance of (often overlooked) need for admin – you could be organising and dealing with paperwork, applications and people, after all – alongside analytical and finance skills. This is all on top of contextual experience gained in the field and the standard passion, drive and commitment stuff.
CARE International’s human resources director Harbinder Kaur went on to say, yes, experience and qualifications are important but candidates need to put more emphasis on skills when applying for roles.
There was also lots of discussion about how competitive international development is; a masters degree and long stretches in the field volunteering might stand out in other sectors but these are actually pretty standard fare across the budding international development workforce.