Working in international aid and development

Are you interested in working in international aid and development? Opportunities exist for short-term humanitarian and emergency relief work through to long-term development programs. You’d be helping communities build skills and resources and find sustainable solutions to problems such as poverty, as well gaining real-world job experience.

Areas of work

The type of work includes:

  • advocacy and human rights
  • business planning and development
  • disaster recovery
  • economic planning
  • education – teaching and training in the community, vocational and trade areas
  • engineering, civil planning and infrastructure
  • environmental sustainability and agriculture
  • fundraising
  • governance and risk management
  • medicine and healthcare and research.

Key sectors


Australian aid – the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is only one of the many Australian Government departments and agencies involved in delivering Official Development Assistance.

Non-government organisations (NGO)

Opportunities exist within non-profit, independent and non-state organisations, which could be faith based or non-denominational.


For-profit organisations usually employ contractors and consultants.

Academic and research

Universities may provide education support and assistance for the research and development of commercial products.

Preparation and self-development

There is a lot you can do to prepare yourself for work in this area:

  • volunteer: familiarise yourself with the mission, values and organisational structure of community and aid work settings (this will help you develop practical skills)
  • travel independently: independent travel helps you develop self-management, adaptability, and insight into other cultures and customs
  • learn another language: this will assist with integration into a local community
  • research: identify careers and organisations you may want to work for
  • attend industry events: this will help you gain insights into organisations and networking opportunities
  • learn to address selection criteria in job applications: this will help you show how your skills, qualifications, values and attributes meet the requirements of the position and organisation
  • self-audit: identify your experiences, qualifications, skills, personal motivations and values
  • explore further study: studying helps you build your skills and knowledge. Find opportunities to focus on topics relevant to aid work and consider specific courses such as the Master of International Development Practice.

Gaining experience


Work opportunities