Become an aid worker

Jake Suddaby with Save the Children staff

Jake Suddaby got an an internship with Save the Children after volunteering with us and attending several RedR courses.

© Jake Suddaby

Want to become an aid worker but don’t know where to start? Let us help you take the first steps towards a rewarding career.

Humanitarian skills

There are opportunities in many different areas of relief work, from water and sanitation to communications, programme management and shelter. It's important to consider what skills you already have and what training you will need to work in disaster relief and development.

Aid worker training

It's not enough to simply have a particular skill or profession, it's also vital to know about humanitarian values, principles and the structure of the sector. Many people undertake a Masters in a field relating to humanitarian work. Alternatively, attending an introductory course, such as our one-day So You Think You Want To Be A Relief Worker?  workshop or five-day Essentials of Humanitarian Practice course, will provide you with the knowledge to make informed decisions about your career and help you understand the contribution you can make. 

Research the humanitarian sector and keep up-to-date with current issues

It's important to understand how the sector works and understand current issues facing aid workers. Check out our resources centre to find publications on humanitarian issues and standards. Regularly check news and other information websites, such as ReliefWeb and, and read books and publications relating to aid work and development issues.

"It's not what you know..."

As with many careers it is not always what you know, but who you know. Take as many opportunities as possible to network and meet those already working in the sector, RedR events are a great place to start. One of the key benefits of attending workshops and other entry level RedR courses is the chance to speak to people who have worked in the field. 

Get experience

Gain as much experience as possible. Travelling or undertaking voluntary work in countries where humanitarian work takes place, or working as a volunteer for an aid agency in their headquarters shows commitment. Jake Suddaby (above) made the switch from the corporate sector to the humanitarian world by volunteering with RedR and undertaking some of our introductory courses.

Become a RedR Affiliate

The RedR Affiliate status has been designed specifically for those individuals looking to use their professional experience within the humanitarian sector.

The programme provides the support and guidance needed to develop a humanitarian career and gain the field experience required to become a RedR Member. The benefits of becoming an Affiliate include access to the RedR Members' network, training discounts, and the chance to be mentored by an experienced RedR Member.

All Affiliates must have 3 years professional experience in a role with transferable skills to the humanitarian sector; a strong humanitarian commitment; and undertake a short recruitment process.  To find out more, visit the Affiliates section of the website contact our membership team.