Rosie took her career to the next step thanks to the Challenges Worldwide ICS placement

Rosie Coleman, 25, from London, took a big risk – to leave the high-flying London job she wasn’t enjoying to apply for ICS. Two placements with Challenges Worldwide later, she’s back in her home city – but with a new career and outlook, thanks to her accreditation with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

I lived in London, working as a Head of Marketing for a tech incubator, but it was a career I’d fallen into. My degree was in International Relations and I was always more passionate about those issues than the career path I’d ended up in.

Then one day I broke my wrist and had to move back in with my parents. At 24, that was eye opening. I vowed that when I could tie my laces again I’d take life by the horns. That’s when I found ICS.

Rosie being awarded her CMI certification by Matt Roberts from the CMI

It was a no brainier. Three months’ experience, fully government-funded and off the back of it, a professional consulting qualification from the CMI. Nine months after leaving for Ghana, I was a qualified business consultant.

I was working with a small tailoring company called Callex Clothing, which had ambitions to become the capital, Kumasi’s next big fashion house. My work with them formed the groundwork for my CMI diploma.

It taught me the fundamental importance of establishing a good client relationship, trust amongst the team and co-working strategies through my work with my Ghanaian counterpart.

Challenges ICS volunteers work with small to medium sized businesses like this company

Working on the CMI qualification helped structure my 12 weeks in Ghana – a time that can feel quite daunting for any young person in a new country and culture. ICS and the accreditation partnership between Challenges Worldwide and CMI brings that all together.

Not only did it mean we had a strong support network but we had tangible expertise to take to our new clients we were working with on placement. And for those questions we didn’t know the answer to, we had a point of reference. It had gravitas. Ghana was life changing.

After returning to the UK, I had the confidence to do some travelling across sub-Saharan Africa. But with the bug to carry on volunteering, I applied to be a Team Leader – and it was confirmed. I was to head to Rwanda using my experience with Challenges Worldwide to lead a team of volunteers.

"12 months after leaving, I'm not going back to London in the same capacity"

It gave me the motivation to take my CMI qualification that I had now gained to diploma level – and a structure for what could have been an otherwise unstructured time in my life. As a Team Leader I wanted to be one step ahead of the team I was training.

Almost 12 months after leaving I’m not going back to London in same capacity. I’m pleased to say I’ve got a job in the Department for International Trade, drawing on the experience I’ve made over the last year. Thanks to ICS, I have a commitment to professional learning for the next stage of my career.

Read the original article, written by Jack Howson, in the International Citizen Service website.