“It seemed like a closed cycle at the onset, requiring prior experience to gain experience, with no obvious way in”. Training and undertaking voluntary positions marked Daniel’s pathway towards the humanitarian field: “I quit my previous job and made it my quest to find a way, positioning myself better with training and voluntary positions to move nearer to the sector. I think availability is important”.
The first foot in the door came whilst Daniel was volunteering in Greece in 2016 in response to the European refugee crisis: “During my time there I interacted with many organisations involved in the European refugee crisis response and I stumbled across a paid position as a WASH coordinator, which my previous training with RedR had put me in good stead for. The opportunity came from a combination of experience, positioning and being in the right place at the right time.
Besides technical knowledge and expertise, soft skills are also vital for engineers working in the humanitarian sector. These include things such as “being teachable, absorbing information and learning from others. It's a diverse environment and there are a lot of different ways of doing things” says Daniel. “Formal training can really help to see the bigger picture, though experience itself seems to me the most valuable”.
Finally, Daniel remarks how RedR’s Affiliate Scheme has also helped him to build a career in the humanitarian sector: “Through this scheme and speakers events, I’ve built an understanding of the humanitarian environment and been able to touch base with various organisations, who I have later met in the field. Overall, the affiliate scheme has helped shaped my focus, leading me into conversations and subsequent opportunities”.
Daniel is currently working in Bangladesh in response to the diphtheria outbreak amongst the Rohingya refugees.