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FAQs

Q. Why is VolkerFitzpatrick supporting this initiative this year?

A: We are partnering with Raleigh International, a well-established sustainable development charity which places volunteers at the forefront of tackling poverty. Last year we sent four lucky colleagues to Borneo ,Tanzania and Costa Rica specifically as Volunteer Managers. This year we wanted to encourage our younger colleagues to have the opporutnity of a lifetime.

Through the implementation and development of infrastructure projects in developing countries, Raleigh volunteers make a real and lasting difference. This aligns to our brand and core business strategies and cements the connection to the importance of inspiring and empowering active global citizens & improving the sustainability of poor communities. It gives us a platform for current and future employees to develop skills and experiences, to explore new situations and challenges; all of which will enhance your leadership and team management skills going forward

Raleigh's programmes in Costa Rica focus on access to basic services for indigenous communities and protecting natural resources.

Due to a history of inequality, indigenous groups across Costa Rica experience a higher infant, child, and general mortality rate as well as higher rates of malnutrition and disease than the rest of the population, often from largely preventable diseases.Raleigh work with these communities and the government to increase the provision and use of basic services such as education and healthcare.

With 5% of the planet’s biodiversity within its borders and 25% of the country a protected area there is a great deal of natural resource to preserve. Raleigh work with the national parks system and people who live on the fringes of the parks to encourage them to adopt more sustainable livelihoods and improve communication between each other.

Raleigh International have been running programmes in Costa Rica since 2002. Building strong relationships with partners and communities. Giving thousands of young people experience in sustainable development work, as well as life and leadership skills that they carry with them throughout their lifetime.

Q: Who are Raleigh International?

A: Raleigh International is a sustainable development charity that exists to create lasting change through youth. Their programmes focus on providing access to safe water and sanitation, protecting vulnerable environments and building resilient communities. Work is delivered through collaboration between local communities, partners and volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds, nationalities and life stages. They operate in partnership with communities, non-governmental organisations and governments in Borneo, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Nepal and Tanzania. Since founding as a charity in 1984, Raleigh volunteers have become a global community of more than 40,000 people committed to building a sustainable future.

Q. Why was Raleigh International chosen as the partner for this programme?

A. Raleigh is an expert in meeting community and environmental needs with sustainable projects that volunteer teams can be part of implementing. They have 30 years’ experience of doing so. The holistic approach of Raleigh and diversity of its projects will enable VolkerFitzpatrick to leverage our core business strengths and our employee’s professional technical and behavioural skills to support social and economic development of communities living in poverty around the world.

Q: Who can apply for this programme?

A: This opportunity is available to all staff aged 18 to 24 years at date of departure, plus:

  • You must be a permanent employee of VolkerFitzpatrick
  • You must be willing to give up two weeks of your annual leave in order to participate (Participants on ITP will be deducted the equivalent value from their final year sponsorship if they leave before the end of June) 
  • You need to be willing to undergo a DBS check 

Q How and where do I apply?

A: You can apply directly online via the application page In order for your application to be considered it is mandatory that you meet the eligibility criteria.

Q: What is the selection process?

A: Following the submission of your application, it will be reviewed by our multidisciplinary reviewing panel and successful applicants will be invited to a face to face selection interview, which will give them an opportunity to present their applications more fully and answer any outstanding issues and/or questions applicants may have. Depending upon the number of applications received we may also need to conduct some telephone screening interviews prior to the panel selection. It is anticipated that successful applicants will be invited to an interview on 18 April 2016 in London.

Successful applicants will then be asked to apply online directly to Raleigh International for the final part of the selection process.

. Q: Is the programme free to apply for?

A: VolkerFitzpatrick will fund the participation of its successfully selected employees for the duration of the overseas programme. VolkerFitzpatrick will be responsible for:

  • Return economy airline tickets to the expedition (not internal transfers).
  • All in country costs such as project, food, accommodation, insurance and internal country transportation once you have left the UK.

Successful applicants will be responsible for:

  • The obtaining and cost of any specific visa requirements as appropriate to the country of expedition.
  • The cost of any compulsory or recommended vaccination costs prior to and/or post expedition.
  • Any associated costs concerning the signing of a medical form by their doctor
  • ANY necessary personal equipment (boots, clothing etc. as per Raleigh’s personal equipment list).
  • Costs of travel to and from home to departure airport including any associated accommodation costs.

NB: All successful applicants will be expected to raise a minimum of £800 through charitable activity to support the work of Raleigh International prior to departure on the expedition. This is a condition of application.

Q: Does VolkerFitzpatrick help get my visa, vaccinations and flights?

A: VolkerFitzpatrick, in conjunction with Raleigh International will liaise to ensure you are apprised of recommended flight options and transfer times, and the payment of these economy flights. If colleagues wish to change or upgrade then they do this at their own cost.

  • You will need to obtain a valid visa and will receive support from Raleigh in making an application for your visa.
  • You will need to sort out your visa with guidance from VolkerFitzpatrick and Raleigh International to ensure they meet the correct standards for travel.
  • You will be solely responsible for organising all mandatory and recommended vaccination prior to departure. You will need to plan a period before the departure to fulfil vaccination duties. You will receive the necessary support from the Raleigh support coordinator for this. 

 Q: What do successful applicants commit to?

A: The successful applicant commits to:

  • Joining an overseas Raleigh programme for five weeks, in summer 2016.
  • Contribute two weeks (10 days) from personal annual leave allowance for 2016 or two week's sponsorship for ITP participants.
  • Coving the cost of any personal kit (details to be confirmed)
  • Being in possession of a valid passport (with at least seven month’s validity and two clean pages).

Q: Does the VolkerFitzpatrick travel insurance apply?

A: Raleigh covers both medical and personal accident insurance whilst you are on the programme. This includes treatment for any everyday medical problems that may arise, as well as medical rescue and repatriation on the rare occasions it may become necessary. It is important to note that our insurance does not cover medical treatment once the employee have returned home or loss of earnings caused due to illness.
 
If you travel independently after the programme, you must take out full insurance cover (medical, personal accident and baggage) starting on the day the programme finishes, as Raleigh is no longer responsible for you.

Raleigh does not cover you are personal belongings whilst you’re on the programme – you will need to take out your own baggage and money insurance.

Q: How many employee placements are available for summer 2016?

A: Three overseas placements and two reserve places.

Q: Will I be travelling to the same country expedition as my colleagues?

A: Yes.

Q: What happens concerning medical advice?

A: Raleigh will be providing all full supporting documentation for each participant on the programme which will include:

  • Medical forms and advice
  • Vaccination information and form to be completed by each individual
  • Expedition personal kit list
  • Programme information

Additionally you will have access to Raleigh’s medical coordinator for confidential advice and support. Raleigh’s medical forms will need to be completed in full and you must be able to demonstrate you have had the required vaccinations ahead of travelling. Failure to do so will result in you forfeiting your place on the expedition.

Q: How fit do I need to be?

A: Raleigh programmes are accessible to a wide range of physical abilities and levels of fitness, teams of Raleigh volunteers are always mixed in terms of fitness levels, and you are not expected to push yourself beyond your physical capability. Having said this, Raleigh is a physical lifestyle so if you are concerned about your level of fitness we recommend increasing exercise prior to the expedition with extra walking, swimming or cycling (a good opportunity to break-in new trekking boots)

Q: Who takes part on expeditions?

A: Volunteer’s come from a wide variety of backgrounds, careers and life experiences. Some volunteers may have extensive travelling or outdoor experience and others may have never even been camping before! Raleigh accepts applications from all over the world, so joining one of their expeditions is a great way to meet people you may never otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

Q: How big are the project groups?

A: There will be two volunteer managers on each project and approximately 10 group members.

Q: How can I contact home while away?

A: All communication between the team overseas and home will be directed through Raleigh’s field base in the country and Raleigh head office in London. Raleigh has a tried and tested communications process to ensure that messages of an urgent nature are communicated in a timely manner.

Q: Can I take my mobile phone, will there be internet?

A: You are welcome to take your phone overseas; however phones are not permitted on project sites. There will be a secure place to leave valuables at Field Base and you may access these at the beginning and end of project phase. We discourage phones on Raleigh for numerous reasons. Often areas are so remote that there may be no signal. Also, the phones are easily lost or damaged due to climate conditions. There is unlikely to be a place to charge them, and most importantly, they can have a damaging effect on team dynamics. You will have some access to internet during induction training and potentially local internet cafes. Generally you will be living an email free lifestyle during Raleigh. Solve problems as a team and soak up the surroundings. It might feel strange at first, but you will love it in the end!

Q: Once selected, what if my circumstances change and I am unable to commit to the assigned expedition (at any stage)?

A: Firstly, you must make every effort to be fully aware of your commitments to this entire programme and your ability to carry these out before applying. In the case of withdrawing, a selected reserve will be contacted immediately to fill the space.

Q: Can I leave the expedition at any time if I decide to?

A: If, during the project you begin to feel like you want to leave the programme we would encourage you to talk it through and resist making a hasty decision. If you do reach the decision to leave, Raleigh would make arrangements for your flights to be changed and for you to return home early.

Q: Are the locals aware that we are coming? Will we be welcome? Will they like us being there?

A: Yes, yes, and YES! Raleigh’s project partners understand Raleigh’s approach to development work, and our work with volunteer groups. The project and community will have been identified with this in mind and selected as a beneficiaries based on this.

Q: Can I wear contact lenses?

A: No. Wearing contact lenses is not permitted due to the increased risk of infection associated with using contact lenses in a dirtier environment. This applies to all types of disposable and non-disposable lenses, including continuous wear lenses. This will apply during the community phase.

Q: What about the living conditions?

A: The living conditions will be basic. You will be living in remote areas for the duration of the expedition and will not have the relative luxuries of home. This will be a challenge in itself and you need to be aware that washing and sleeping conditions will be the same as the communities enjoy.

Q: What personal equipment do I need?

A: Raleigh will provide a personal equipment list and guidance for each participant. The equipment list is drawn up using Raleigh’s experience and will include boots, clothing, bags and personal sleeping equipment such as sleeping bags and mats. You will receive this information with the programme joining instructions once they have received confirmation of their place on the expedition.

Q: Does Raleigh cater for vegetarians?

A: Yes. Raleigh has over 2,000 volunteers each year with a multitude of dietary requirements which they are able to accommodate. Raleigh will be providing food for each team based on the required calorific content for the work volunteers will be undertaking. As part of the expedition experience the team will be asked to cook for themselves and participants will take it in turn to cook for each other. There will be an opportunity to sample the cooking of the host community at certain times within the programme but we do not want to exhaust the community’s food supplies and therefore will be providing our own. The medical office in Raleigh head office is available to speak to you regarding any dietary or medical queries.

Q: What will happen if I get sick, injured or if I have allergies?

A: All project managers carry, and are trained in the use of, extremely comprehensive medical kits. This is standard Raleigh protocol designed and prescribed by their chief medical advisor in the UK. It provides for treatment from minor wounds, through antibiotics and analgesics to severe trauma care equipment and medication. It is designed to maintain the health of our volunteers on project and to save lives in any emergency situation. All sites are supported by our 24-hour operations room in field base where a medic is on call for advice and emergency treatment. This forms the first line of medical care. All projects have vehicle accessible routes to a local hospital and a planned and rehearsed evacuation procedure to the hospital in the event of an emergency. The field base team know which hospitals have exactly what equipment available so that the best hospital can be used depending on the situation. In the event that prolonged treatment is required our insurance company can facilitate repatriation to your own hospital in your home country. All medical treatment, from the most minor case, is recorded and reported to our medical coordinator in Raleigh head office London, from where family can be informed and consulted as required. Please ensure that any allergies are disclosed on your medical form.

Q: What happens if there is an emergency?

A: Before every expedition, Raleigh carries out a full risk assessment of the whole expedition and each project site. The volunteers also do their own risk assessment when they arrive, which encourages a vigilant attitude towards safety within the group. As well as this, Raleigh has comprehensive emergency and evacuation plans in place for every project site and assess the local medical facilities. If any individual has to return home Raleigh also have services in place to assist this. Raleigh has a comprehensive medical and personal accident insurance policy, offering the best medical care available and a repatriation service where necessary.

Q: I am concerned about security.

A: Safety is at the heart of everything Raleigh does. All their volunteers receive full safety training on expeditions and our head office provides 24 hour emergency cover and support for each expedition. They focus on preventing accidents, but sometimes accidents do still occasionally happen. For this reason they have a robust Crisis Management Plan, comprehensive risk assessments and casualty evacuation and emergency plans for every project site in place, covering all eventualities from natural disasters and political instability to individual incidents.

  • Qualified Staff: Every expedition has a number of qualified doctors and nurses working in volunteer manager roles.
  • Equipment: Raleigh provide all the required safety equipment including buoyancy aids, helmets, protective goggles, GPS receivers, flares and communications equipment.
  • Communications: On every expedition, Raleigh has a network of high frequency radio communications so that field base can carry out a 24-hour radio watch and project sites can call in twice daily if they need advice or assistance.
  • Advice: We consult with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office regularly and have good relationships with the British Authorities, Government ministries and agents in each country who will give us early warning of any potential problems. Local medical services, emergency services and the military are also on hand to help if needs

Raleigh code of conduct:

Before applying please read the Raleigh Code of Conduct and Terms & Conditions. You will need to accept Raleigh’s Code of conduct if you volunteer overseas. A summary is below.

• No alcohol consumption • No illegal activities, including drug taking • No personal phones or communication systems on project site • No inappropriate relationships during expedition • Respect the local culture, traditions and customs • No acts of physical or verbal violence • Do not put yourself or others at risk • Protect the environment

The aim of the Raleigh International Code of Conduct is to create a positive and safe environment where all participants know what is expected of them, and to help them work alongside each other to achieve both the goals of the expedition and the individual’s personal aims.

Q: Where can I find out more information?

A: Besides these website pages you can find further information about Raleigh International here. Also if you find that your questions aren’t addressed in this FAQ or in the links indicated above, then please contact Sharon Lindars, HR manager for VolkerFitzpatrick who will be happy to help you.

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