Joseph Carroll (MSc Conflict Studies 2017) volunteered with Teach A Man To Fish as an International Programmes Assistant after encountering their team at the annual LSE Careers International Development Volunteering Fair in January. We chatted with him to see what it was like to volunteer for the organisation. They’re currently recruiting an International Programmes Assistant so why not apply if Joseph’s experience sounds like something you’d enjoy too?

Why did I get involved?

Hoping to start a career in international development, I wanted to find an organisation that I could gain experience from while I studied. I met Teach A Man To Fish at the International Development Careers Fair, and spoke to some members of the team who were very helpful and friendly, and I was hooked by the innovative approach of the organisation to development through education. Their model of combining business and education, to support schools through profit generation while teaching young people core skills, struck me as a fantastic way to promote sustainable education worldwide.

The charity also offered fantastic opportunities for professional development. They accept many of their volunteers are using the position to get their first experience of international development, and don’t expect you to have prior experience in the field. They spoke with me about my career aspirations early on, and made sure that I was given tasks that gave me experience in relevant areas that I would later call upon in interviews or job applications.

What I’ve enjoyed

I was truly immersed in the work of Teach A Man To Fish from the outset, and have been given a variety of work ranging across their operations. I worked on Fundraising, Communications, Monitoring and Evaluation, and the general operations of this international NGO. I was kept busy without being overloaded at all times, and enjoyed the dynamic nature of my work. Providing general support to the main operations team of the charity, my tasks changed every time I was in the office, allowing me to gain experience of a huge range of skills and tasks. Alongside this, I had more long-term projects for fundraising, which also gave me experience in delivering on long-term projects. I also had direct contact with the schools worldwide that the charity works with, which gave me a sense of perspective about the impact of my own work and that of the organisation as a whole.

The working atmosphere in the office has been fantastic, as the team are extremely friendly while also being incredibly hard-working. Their unrelenting work ethic is highly motivating and has pushed me to deliver on tasks swiftly and to the best of my ability. They were also highly understanding about me fitting my work around my studies, and allowed me to frequently change which days I worked. I also took time off around exams and for holidays in June. Overall, they have been extremely accommodating both on a personal and professional level, adapting to my career plans as well as my academic needs.

What I would say to anyone considering applying

I would highly recommend this position to anyone wanting to start a career in international development. Even if you don’t want to focus on education or business enterprises in the long run, Teach A Man To Fish offers great insight into the field as a whole and will give you valuable experience to take on to any job in the future. They are willing to tailor the work to your own goals and aspirations, while making sure that you are fully immersed in the organisation. The team is extremely friendly and motivating to work with, and their flexibility with volunteers makes this a brilliant opportunity for working while studying.

If you want to volunteer overseas this summer you can check out our overseas opportunities of the week. Alternatively, you can search CareerHub for more volunteering opportunities, email volunteer@lse.ac.uk with your questions, or book an appointment with us. Also don’t forget to follow the Volunteer Centre on Instagram for inspiring #VolunteersofLSE stories!

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