There are three stages to the ICS programme

It is compulsory to complete all stages of the programme.


Once you have applied to take part in ICS (and if you are eligible) you will be contacted by the main ICS office and to talk about which agency you have been assigned to.

If you are assigned to Restless Development, shortly after you have heard from ICS, you will hear from our Selection Officer - congratulating you on your successful application. They will then invite you to a Selection Day.


Selection Days are an opportunity for you to find out more about Restless Development and for us to get to know you a bit better and assess whether you are suitable for the programme. We will always make sure that people feel relaxed and at ease on the day because we want to see everything you’ve got to offer.

Selection Days typically run as follows: an informal interview where we can learn more about why you want to go on ICS, then lunch will be provided and  finally there is an information session and some group activities.

Read what Ben, one of our ICS volunteers from Hull, had to say about his selection day.

The room was full of people of a similar age all in the same boat as myself, wanting a change in their life, wanting an experience to savour. The day was more of an introduction to the charity, we learnt the overall aims of Restless development and what work they are doing to achieve those aims.

You can see all of our Selection Day FAQs here.


Once you are selected, the preparations can begin. You will receive the support of one of our two Volunteer Support Officers who will work with you to get you ready for your placement. This involves getting your visa, what vaccinations you need, supporting your fundraising as well as arranging your training.


Fundraising is an opportunity to gain new skillls and have fun, and all volunteers receive one-to-one support to fundraise. We are looking for volunteers who are committed to the programme and your fundraising is a demonstration of your level of commitment. To learn more about Fundraising for ICS, look at our FAQs under the Application section. 


Before you go on your placement, you must go to a two day pre-departure training. These have been designed to cover a wide range of topics related to volunteering overseas and International Development. This training coupled with guided learning means that our volunteers can support ICS projects effectivly and understand how they contribute to a wider programme of developoment work. These weekends are also a really great opportunity to meet others going to your country and find out more about your placement.


In Country Placements last for 10-12 weeks. You will live and work in partnership with national ICS volunteers from the country you are placed in. You will work together in your teams, becoming an integral part in the community, on exciting and valuable programmes that are part of a wider development programme where the objectives are set in partnership with communities.

Our local staff and the ICS Team Leaders will support you throughout your time overseas. Their knowledge of the community and programme will help to make sure that your placement is both valuable and enjoyable.

Each ICS programme is designed by our County Programme staff, with input from volunteers in each placement, and is based on the needs of the local community. You'll build on the work done by previous ICS volunteers, as well as the years of work done by our local staff and volunteers. Your placement will make a substantial contribution to the aims of the Country Programme, while also helping us to achieve our ambitious global strategy.

Your team will also be equipped
with the tools and knowledge to be able to capture the stories of the people you meet. You will receive a copy of the Capturing Stories Toolkit that will give you guidance and ideas on how to creatively document your work and the communities you work with.

Here are some examples of the work our ICS volunteers have been involved in overseas:



Network LogoICS does not stop when the volunteering placement ends: every ICS volunteer from the UK and from developing countries carries out an Action at Home project as a part of the final 6-month phase of the ICS programme. When you complete your placement, you will be part of a network of thousands of people supporting the values of youth-led development, and taking action to influence and bring positive change.

You will attend an Action at Home training weekend upon a month of your return from placement and continued support and guidance to take action from Restless Development. Visit the Action at Home page for more information or read this blog about some of the most creative actions!






ICS is a learning opportunity for you. By taking part on ICS you will learn new skills, meet new people and learn things that you can’t get from a book or article in the UK. ICS is journey that will encourage your personal development all the way through.


development impact


It is important to us that the projects we run in country have development impact on the communities we work in. In many cases, we have been working in these communities for many years and you are adding to the impact we have.


active citizen


Active citizenship is the active engagement of people in their own societies, in pursuit of social benefits beyond family and friends. Such engagement builds stronger societies that play an active role in community and national development. By August 2016, ICS will create a global community of more than 14,000 active citizens – a lasting legacy of young people contributing positively to their communities and to fighting poverty. We want to help you become an active and engaged citizen through Action at Home and beyond.


We encourage our volunteers to share their experiences once they are home as part of their Action at Home. Our volunteers have done this in a variety of ways including; making videos, writing blogs and, telling their story through local and national media.



Placements are running throughout the year and into 2018. Applications must be submitted several months before departure. Our summer placements are particularly popular, so you're advised to apply further in advance if you'd like to go in the summer.

"For anybody between the ages of 18-25, I’d strongly encourage you to apply for ICS. This is a great chance for you to go overseas and develop invaluable life skills. You just need to be a young, enthusiastic and open minded person!" - Jordan, ICS volunteer, Nepal.


For more information read our FAQs,
call or email Restless Development on:
T: 020 8017 2890
E: ics@restlessdevelopment.org

Or ICS on: 
T: 0208 780 7400
E: enquiries@volunteerics.org

International Citizen Service (ICS) is led by VSO and funded by the UK Government. Our consortium partners include: Balloon Ventures, Challenges Worldwide, Pravah, Raleigh International, TearfundInternational Service, VSO and YCare.



We are the Youth Collective. If you believe in the power of young people, join our movement.