Aid worker programme

Every year we recruit and train aid workers. They're deployed on international Red Cross humanitarian and development field operations. Find out more about the programme, the skills you'll need and how to apply.

We are one of a small number of National Societies globally that recruit, train and provide aid workers for field operations. Our aid workers overseas are supported by funding from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through the New Zealand Aid Programme and by our generous donors.

Aid workers are recruited on an ongoing basis.

Applications are now closed for this year's International Mobilisation and Preparation for ACTion (IMPACT) training course. 

We receive applications all year round.

Applications received from 26 August 2016 will be considered for next year's IMPACT course (to be held in 2017).

Apply to be an Aid Worker

What's it like?

Read our aid workers' blog posts, From the Field, to find out what it's like on deployment overseas (scroll down to 'Recent stories' below).


Standard missions range from six to 12 months, with shorter missions of 2-8 weeks offered during emergency responses. Aid workers are employed by New Zealand Red Cross on fixed term contracts that cover salary, travel costs, all pre-deployment and post-deployment support, medical clearance and insurance.

Appropriate missions are dependent on demand, availability and suitability. There is no guarantee of an immediate international deployment.

Minimum requirements

  • A minimum of three to four years' experience in area of expertise
  • Must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • Previous humanitarian experience and/or cross-cultural experience are desirable.

Professions and expertise currently being prioritised

  • Water and sanitation/WASH specialists and engineers
  • IT&T specialists
  • Development and Recovery co-ordinators
  • Disaster Management specialists
  • Shelter and construction specialists
  • Community Health practitioners
  • Logisticians.

Potential aid workers should also:

  • Be adaptable, flexible and mature in judgment
  • Possess strong communication skills, initiative, diplomacy, cultural sensitivity
  • Have the ability to live and work in a team, usually under arduous and sometimes dangerous conditions
  • Be in sound mental and physical health
  • Be computer-literate
  • Fully accept and apply Red Cross Principles, and be prepared to acquire an understanding of the Movement and its ideals.
  • Be available to deploy for a minimum of six months

What to consider before you apply

  • What are my true motivations for applying for aid work?
  • How can I practically and genuinely make a difference?
  • How do I feel about living and working in areas of insecurity where my health and wellbeing may be affected?
  • Am I able to adapt quickly and sensibly to an unknown and unfamiliar environment?
  • Will I thrive in working in a diverse cultural environment and accept the challenge of adapting to different work styles and personalities?

Application process

If you meet the criteria above please submit your application now. 

Please note that we can't answer speculative enquiries regarding aid work, or feedback on CVs.

Your application must include:

  1. Completed New Zealand Red Cross aid worker application form and current CV, in specified format
  2. Cover letter
  3. Scanned copy of the front page of your passport and/or copy of residency status

Aid worker training

The IMPACT course provides in-depth training on the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Disaster Response Law, life as an aid worker, health and safety and field operations.

The course is held in New Zealand. Travel, meals and accommodation are covered by New Zealand Red Cross.