Recruitment Team

Role: The recruitment team are responsible for telling the world about our projects! They also have an important role in advising potential volunteers on projects that might suit them. They're always available on the phone.

Recruitment Team
Ian Birbeck - Group Trips Manager
Ian Birbeck - Group Trips Manager
Ian Birbeck
Group Trips Manager

Ian is in charge of our Group Trips programmes. He regularly visits schools and groups around the UK to talk about plans for group trips, as well as attending many general school talks and career fairs. Ian has been involved with Projects Abroad since 1992, when he was one of the very first Projects Abroad volunteers in Moldova. Ian has since worked in a variety of roles in the UK and in many of our destinations.

Ian has visited Argentina, Ghana, India, Myanmar, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru, Romania, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Togo and Vietnam.

More information about Ian

Where is the most beautiful location / country you have been to?

New Zealand takes some beating. The Lake District in England is beautiful.

What would be number 1 on your bucket list? (Things to do before you die)

Good question. Watching a Test Match in India is definitely on the list

What is your favourite dish?

Roast beef preferably cooked by my mum.

Who is your role model, and why?

My father in life. A good fellow.
David Gower on the cricket field. Pure class!

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?

Definitely scoring a hundred.

Tell us something about yourself that we might not expect?

I worked in Tropical Agricultural Research over three years.

If you could be a professional in any sport, what would it be?

Cricket

What would you say is your favourite aspect of Projects Abroad?

The great people you meet. Like working for the United Nations but better!

Dom Duff - Group Trips Advisor
Dom Duff - Group Trips Advisor
Dom Duff
Group Trips Advisor

Dom joined the Group Trips team for Projects Abroad in 2015 after graduating with a Geology degree from the University of Brighton. He is the Content Creator for the UK Groups website as well as assisting the team in visiting schools, groups and careers fairs. Dom enjoys playing gigs with his band and numerous sports including skating, skiing, surfing and mountain biking.

Dom has visited Sri Lanka.

More information about Dom

Where is the most beautiful location / country you have been to?

Without a doubt, I’d have to say standing on Inspiration Point in Yosemite National Park in California; USA was truly breath-taking. No wonder it’s a popular desktop background!

What would be number 1 on your bucket list? (Things to do before you die)

Aside from things like skydiving, mountain climbing, travelling the world and seeing the northern lights, my number 1 would definitely be to eventually get married and raise a child.

What is your favourite dish?

Having recently turned vegetarian this is a bit trickier, but it would definitely have to be either Mexican or Italian, mmm!

Who is your role model, and why?

I’d have to say one of my biggest role models would have to be Jack Johnson. He has the most relaxed and positive outlook on life through his career as an acoustic musician and professional surfer, but he uses his status and wealth to fight for environmental causes, charities and initiatives.

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?

Winning the award for graduating top of my class with a degree in Geology was amazing.

Tell us something about yourself that we might not expect?

I play bass in a metal band based over in Brighton, UK. We usually play gigs around the south of the UK but we had the chance to do a tour of England a number of years ago.

If you could be a professional in any sport, what would it be?

It would definitely have to be anything extreme; surfing, mountain biking or skateboarding.

What would you say is your favourite aspect of Projects Abroad?

My favourite aspect of Projects Abroad, aside from the fantastic staff that I work with globally, would have to be the fact that it benefits people, animals and environments from developing communities and habitats all over the world, as well as giving unique opportunities for those willing to give their time so that they can help, connect and experience a completely different culture to their own.

Zack Sanderson - Group Trips Advisor
Zack Sanderson - Group Trips Advisor
Zack Sanderson
Group Trips Advisor

Zack first joined Projects Abroad part-time in 2011 assisting the admin team. Zack worked with special needs children at care centre in Addis Ababa back in 2009. He joined us on a Business project in China in 2013 and was involved on our Care & Community project in Sri Lanka in 2015. Since then he has joined us full-time for his industrial placement year within his Retailing, Marketing & Management degree at Loughborough University. Zack is now part of the Group Trips team as well as working with our smaller recruitment offices around the world. Zack is an avid sports fan who is West Ham season ticket holder and plays football and cricket.

Zack has visited China, Sri Lanka, India, Romania and Ethiopia.

More information about Zack

Where is the most beautiful location / country you have been to?

Seychelles.

What would be number 1 on your bucket list? (Things to do before you die)

Explore the coral reefs of Australia.

What is your favourite dish?

Homemade Roast Dinner.

Who is your role model, and why?

My Dad and Mark Noble.
My Dad, because he has inspired me through his community work in the UK and overseas in developing countries. His work was recognised by the Queen herself and he was awarded an MBE. He lives to serve others and he gave me the opportunity to witness severe poverty first hand at the age of 11 by taking me to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia which is where my passion for helping people less fortunate than us began.
Mark Noble because he has been ever-present for my beloved West Ham United and is a true leader and legend who is dedicated to everything West Ham, giving him the nickname Mr. West Ham.

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?

Along with getting into Loughborough University to study Business, I would say travelling to 25+ countries before the age of 21, where I have experienced a range of different cultures and met so many brilliant people along the way.

Tell us something about yourself that we might not expect?

At the age of 14 I scored 3 hat-tricks in three games for my football team and scored a hat-trick of hat-tricks (9 goals) in the following game. 18 goals in 4 games was a strong goal ratio which I sadly haven’t been able to replicate since…

If you could be a professional in any sport, what would it be?

FOOTBALL.

What would you say is your favourite aspect of Projects Abroad?

It’s ability to organise and facilitate trips successfully for volunteers travelling from all over the world who make a worthwhile impact through the time they give as well as the resources that are channelled into these local communities in the developing world. With Projects Abroad, volunteers not only get the cross-cultural exchange from the destination they are visiting but also the multi-national mix of other volunteers who they will meet in destination. We have now had volunteers from 41 nationalities come away with us!

Bessie Richards - Group Trips Advisor
Bessie Richards - Group Trips Advisor
Bessie Richards
Group Trips Advisor

Bessie first started out with projects abroad as a volunteer in 2011; she travelled to Peru and spent time on both the Archaeology and the Conservation projects. She worked in the UK office during the summer of 2015 assisting the recruitment team while she was still at university. This summer, she spent three months working as a Volunteer Coordinator in Nepal with Care & Community volunteers before coming back to the UK office and joining the Group Trips team. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and History from the University of Exeter. Bessie loves reading and taking her two Labradors for walks in the South Downs.

Bessie has visited Peru and Nepal.

More information about Bessie

Where is the most beautiful location / country you have been to?

This has to be the Himalayas in Nepal… breath-taking!

What would be number 1 on your bucket list? (Things to do before you die)

I would love to do a trek on horseback through the Mongolian Steppe.

What is your favourite dish?

My mum’s lasagne.

Who is your role model, and why?

David Attenborough. He’s lived an incredible life and his passion for wildlife and our planet is really inspiring.

What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?

So far, it’d have to be graduating from university

Tell us something about yourself that we might not expect?

I’ve been on Blue Peter twice, but lost my Blue Peter badge when moving house and now no one ever believes me!

If you could be a professional in any sport, what would it be?

Probably rock-climbing; something with a fair bit of adventure involved.

What would you say is your favourite aspect of Projects Abroad?

I not only get to work with a brilliant bunch of people, but Projects Abroad is truly dedicated to making sure we make the best impact we possibly can through our projects. That’s not just an impact on our volunteers, but on the countries and communities that we work with too.

Peter Slowe - Executive Chair
Peter Slowe - Executive Chair
Peter Slowe
Executive Chair

Before starting Projects Abroad in 1992, Peter Slowe was a distinguished geographer and author, specialising in political biography, political geography and military history, based at the University of Chichester. As Chair of the Labour Party's Finance and Industry Group, Peter was an economic advisor to Tony Blair and his government. Over the last two decades, as Projects Abroad has grown, it has taken up more of Peter's time. He is actively involved with all aspects of the business from setting up new destinations to supervising recruitment campaigns in the US and Continental Europe. Peter was born in 1953, and he and his wife Karen have one son.

More information about Peter

Where is the most beautiful location / country you have been to? Nepal conservation. What would be number 1 on your bucket list? (Things to do before you die) Wander around the remoter parts of Siberia, Wrangel Island, Franz Josef Land and Kamchatka. What is your favourite dish? Cod or haddock in a cheese sauce with white wine from Moldova. Who is your role model, and why? Harold Wilson, a great self-made Labour prime minister who changed Britain for the better. What would you say is your biggest accomplishment? Founding and developing Projects Abroad. Tell us something about yourself that we might not expect? I have written 5 books about war, politics, geography and regional development. If you could be a professional in any sport, what would it be? Tennis. What would you say is your favourite aspect of Projects Abroad? Cultural mixing among young people.
David Flaschner - Director of UK Marketing
David Flaschner - Director of UK Marketing
David Flaschner
Director of UK Marketing

David graduated from Leeds University in 2007 with a degree in Classical Civilisation. He then spent a year volunteering and working on a football coaching placement with Projects Abroad in Ghana. He now manages UK Recruitment and Digital Marketing.

David has visited Ghana, Sri Lanka, the Galapagos Islands, South Africa, and Cambodia.

Beth Evans - Deputy Director of UK Marketing
Beth Evans - Deputy Director of UK Marketing
Beth Evans
Deputy Director of UK Marketing

Beth joined the Projects Abroad Administration team in 2012 before joining the Recruitment team a year later. Beth speaks to potential volunteers about our projects, attends career fairs and manages our print and online advertising. Beth enjoys spending time with friends or family, going to music festivals and loves experiencing new cultures.

Beth has visited South Africa, Ethiopia, India, China, Mongolia and Tanzania.

Rebecca Walton - Programme Advisor
Rebecca Walton - Programme Advisor
Rebecca Walton
Programme Advisor

Rebecca first joined Projects Abroad as a teaching volunteer in India back in 2009. Since then she has visited Asia twice and has graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Geography and History. Rebecca is now part of the Recruitment team and speaks to potential volunteers about our projects. She also manages our team of Ambassadors who attend events around the UK.

Rebecca has visited India, Nepal, Cambodia and Morocco.

Bridget Oelbüttel - Programme Advisor
Bridget Oelbüttel - Programme Advisor
Bridget Oelbüttel
Programme Advisor

Bridget joined the Projects Abroad UK marketing team in November 2015, after having spent six years in different education based positions such as a kindergarten assistant and language teacher and two years working as an office administrator. She now speaks to potential volunteers about our worthwhile projects and interesting destinations. Bridget enjoys entertaining friends and family, as well exploring her home in Cape Town, South Africa.

Sarah Ward - Programme Advisor
Sarah Ward - Programme Advisor
Sarah Ward
Programme Advisor

Sarah is part of the recruitment team and speaks to potential volunteers about our projects. Sarah has a background in marine conservation and is a keen SCUBA diver; she completed her PADI Divemaster training in 2014 and has assisted on marine conservation projects in a number of places.

Nadeesha Ranawaka - Alumni Coordinator
Nadeesha Ranawaka - Alumni Coordinator
Nadeesha Ranawaka
Alumni Coordinator

Nadeesha joined Projects Abroad in April 2010 to the Social Media Team. In 2012 she joined the Alumni team and gets in touch with UK volunteers after they finish their placements and helps to develop the UK Alumni Network. She holds a degree in IT. She has also completed higher studies in World affairs and is very interested in reading books.

Hannah Atkins - UK Content Creator
Hannah Atkins - UK Content Creator
Hannah Atkins
UK Content Creator

Hannah joined the UK team in 2016 as a Content Creator, helping to write website updates, newsletters and the like. She has an undergraduate degree in Politics and English, and an Honours in International Relations. Hannah is a born and bred Capetonian, and has travelled across Western Europe – but there are plenty more destinations she'd like to explore.

Overseas Recruitment

And we have people helping us recruit volunteers from around the world too.

Will Pashley - in Australia
Will Pashley - in Australia
Will Pashley
in Australia

Will first joined as a volunteer teacher in Moldova in 1992. Since that eye opening experience he has gone through a variety of jobs and travels and now runs the Australia office from Adelaide. He is a regular sportsman who is frequently found with a cricket bat in his hand.

Claartje van Wayenburg - in Holland
Claartje van Wayenburg - in Holland
Claartje van Wayenburg
in Holland

Claartje coordinates out recruitment in the Netherlands. She has joined Projects Abroad in 2008. She has worked for our office in Cape Town, volunteered with us in Thailand and has recently visited our projects in Ghana, Cambodia and Fiji. She studied Leisure Management and enjoys scuba diving and travelling.

Ashish John - in India
Ashish John - in India
Ashish John
in India

Ashish has been working with Projects Abroad since January 2009. After working for operations in Nepal and India, Ashish has joined Recruitment Team in India in 2013. He believes that Indian students should get a chance to explore the world. He is a cricket player and is often seen with a bat during his free time.

John Cullen - in Ireland
John Cullen - in Ireland
John Cullen
in Ireland

John has a degree in English and Philosophy from NUI Galway as well as a Masters degree in Marketing. He joined Projects Abroad as a Disaster Relief Coordinator in Nepal in 2015 and is delighted to take on his new role as Recruitment Director for Ireland.

Simona Eco - in Italy
Simona Eco - in Italy
Simona Eco
in Italy

Simona has volunteering and working experience in different countries of Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. She is now back in Italy where she coordinates with Serena our new recruitment office, opened on August 2007 in the beautiful city of Naples.

Lukasz Lach - in Poland
Lukasz Lach - in Poland
Lukasz Lach
in Poland

Lukasz has been working for Projects Abroad in Poland since October 2011. He is an enthusiast of the Faroe Islands and in his spare time he enjoys running a website about these islands.

Tom Pastorius - Head of Global Recruitment
Tom Pastorius - Head of Global Recruitment
Tom Pastorius
Head of Global Recruitment

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Education: B.A. in Philosophy, Princeton University, M.S. in Business in Administration, New York University
Favorite travel experience: Crossing a glacier in Patagonia
Projects Abroad countries visited: Argentina, Bolivia, Botswana, Cambodia, China, India, Italy, Jamaica, Ghana, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam

Mitsushi Kawao - in Japan
Mitsushi Kawao - in Japan
Mitsushi Kawao
in Japan

Mitsushi runs the Japanese Recruitment Office and joined Projects Abroad in 2013. He has enjoys travelling and has visited 50 countries around the world. Mitsushi has experience working in the travel industry and thoroughly enjoys football.

Lars Lindberg - in Sweden
Lars Lindberg - in Sweden
Lars Lindberg
in Sweden

Lars manages the Swedish recruitment office since 2012. He has a long background in international exchange programmes and enjoys visiting new countries.


Lars has visited Ghana, Peru, Romania, South Africa, Tanzania and Togo during his time with Projects Abroad.

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