Alastair Duncan has gone from strength to strength since his Challenges Worldwide ICS placement from January – April 2016 in Ghana.
Before his Challenges Worldwide ICS placement, Alastair was already eager to work abroad and gain international experience. His goal, to become a Business Analyst for Tata in Pena, India working within Jaguar Land Rover. He identified a Challenges Worldwide ICS placement as the way to achieve international experience, cultural adaptation and experience working in a business.
In his interview with Tata, Alastair was specifically asked about his Challenges Worldwide ICS placement as the overseas experience was essential to the Tata role. Indeed, Alastair stressed that this was “ not travelling” and he left the “gap year attitude” behind as he identified his placement as a sure way to realise his ambitions.
In addition to being valuable work experience, being accepted to live and work into a new community for a prolonged period of time, gave him a greater insight. Being modest, and analysing your own values and looking to “embrace what local people do, understand why rather than criticise and to break boundaries between yourself and counterparts” is one piece of advice he would offer to any volunteer about to go out on placement.
Modesty, along with managing his expectations and marinating a positive mindset, were central to making the most of the highlights. Alastair said that volunteers should “expect it to be life changing” but not to go with preconceived notions, positive or negative of their placement country. There will be ups and downs but in the end, Alastair would always remind volunteers, “You’ll get through it”.
So what exactly did Alastair gain in addition to international experience?
Central to his new role is the client relationship. Through CMI accredited training in-country, he was able to demonstrate to Tata that not only did part of the training he received on placement cover this area he implemented this training in a business during his placement.
For his Social and Entrepreneurial Action (Action at Home), Alastair has offered his newly developed skill set on a voluntary basis to an SME in London. This action aims to secure the success they have had in the first five years of business and has simultaneously allowed Alastair to demonstrate he is capable of transferring the skills he developed on placement to another working environment.
Alastair, we wish you all the best in the future and look forward to hearing more about your developing and exciting career!