CAREERS: HOW I GOT HERE - Wumi Onadipe, head of international programmes, Y Care International

What was your first job? I was the gender development co-ordinator for a rural women's organisation in Nigeria.

What does your current role involve? Y Care is the overseas relief and development agency of the YMCA movement. I am responsible for the development and administration of all our overseas programmes, which equip street and working children, young women and disabled people with general and HIV/Aids education and vocational training.

My role includes strategic planning and implementation, managing and supporting staff, liasing with donors and other international agencies, co-ordinating response to emergencies and managing of our partnership with local YMCAs in programme countries.

Roughly outline your career path Following the job in Nigeria, I moved to the UK to work in community development with a local authority and a housing group. I had a brief spell of consultancy work overseas before taking up a short-term role as advocacy co-ordinator at Women's Training Link. I then joined Population Concern, where I was programme manager for just over six years, before starting my present role last week.

What has been your biggest career achievement? Supporting young people in Kenya to push forward with a health and livelihood project I had managed. They could only continue the work after registering as a community based organisation.

What has been your biggest career regret? My short break from international development work in the early 1990s.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? You need commitment and self-motivation to develop and you should consider volunteering time to gain experience.

Are there any charities you support financially or with time? I support some children's and Christian organisations with donations and volunteering.

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