22 May 2020
Five top tips for aspiring humanitarians

Have you ever thought about becoming a humanitarian but not quite sure what steps to take to get there? Senior Humanitarian Trainer at RedR Australia, Jacqui Symonds, shares her top tips for building a career in the humanitarian sector.

Jacqui began her career in environmental management, working for the state government in South Australia, before joining a humanitarian roster and applying her skills to water and sanitation projects abroad. She shares some tips for anyone curious about humanitarian work.

1. Develop the skills that are required in the sector

Do your research and equip yourself with additional skills that will make you indispensable to humanitarian aid organisations. Key areas include Disaster Risk Management, Gender and Disability Inclusion, and Environmental Engineering to name a few.

2. Don’t rule out your skills

Humanitarian work is not just for engineers or doctors. If you work in HR, finance or a role requiring stakeholder coordination, your skills could be useful. RedR Australia has a comprehensive list of key skills currently in demand.

3. Focus on what drives you

Think about what motivates you to do humanitarian work. Is there a particular cause you feel strongly about? In what areas do you think you could make a difference? The answers to these questions are your selling point. 

4. Undertake training 

Participating in a training course such as RedR Australia’s Essentials of Humanitarian Practice (EHP) is a fantastic way to dip a toe into the sector and network with other professionals at all stages of their career journey. You can meet people who work full-time in the sector, as well as others who have found flexibility around family or other jobs by just committing to a few deployments.

5. Join the RedR Australia roster 

Our roster is open to Australian and international applicants and our pre-requisites are five years’ professional experience in your field of expertise and a minimum 12 months in an international setting. To join you will need to attend two courses - RedR Australia’s Essentials of Humanitarian Practice and Hostile Environment and Awareness Training (HEAT)RedR Australia will provide you with the support to help you through the process while taking into consideration your personal circumstances. Once you are on the roster you get to see all the global opportunities that can really expand your horizons and take your career in a direction you would have never expected.

*Read about Jacqui's own journey into the humanitarian sector*