A GLASGOW graduate is urging Scots to sign up to a "life-changing" volunteering project.

Ruth Mclennan, 26, scooped a photography award after documenting her two-month volunteering trip in India with a camera.

Now Ruth, who studied architecture at Strathclyde University, is calling on other young people to sign up to the International Citizen Service (ICS), which is funded by the UK Government.

Ruth worked as a team leader on a water, sanitation and health project with ICS partner, Raleigh International at the Naganapura Colony village in southern India from September to December last year (2014).

She fought off nearly 200 entrants in the annual ICS photography competition to become a winner in the education and learning category.

Ruth, who currently works at an architectural film in Fife, applied to ICS after hearing an advert while studying last year.

The group of British and Indian volunteers helped to build 80 toilets and taught village residents about hygiene.

Ruth said: "I knew I always wanted to do some humanitarian work but I didn't know how to go about it.

"This experience was life-changing.

"I really want to encourage other people to apply. It's free. It's UK government funded so it's free but there's hardly any Scottish people who know about it.

"If you've got an interest - whether that's business or hygiene - you'll find a charity in ICS that you can team up with, learn crazy amounts of life skills and come back and you're so employable."

Ruth said being a finalist in the photography competition was the "cherry on the cake".

She added: "While I was in India, my camera was always with me. I wanted to record as many special moments of my ICS adventure as possible.

"I’m really happy that this competition has given me the platform to share the story of the people I met in India and show the impact volunteering and working together with local communities can have.

”It’s hard to put my ICS experience into words, but I feel like the photographs will give people a small insight into my life-changing experience.”

The images impressed the judging panel and will be on display in Westminster Central Hall at the VSO Christmas carol concert.

Andrew Aitchison, award-winning photographer and ICS photography competition judge, said: “Ruth’s photographs capture the essence of ICS and the important role the programme plays in developing communities around the world.

ICS, which is led by the international development charity VSO, works with 18-25 year olds on sustainable development projects across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

To find out more about ICS visit www.volunteerics.org.