Awards Plus

Supporting Young People to Achieve

Job Description: Operations & Expeditions Manager

Full job description download here

Contract Term: 3 years from 1 April 2024 Working hours: 4 days/week (negotiable)

Salary: £33-36,000 pa, depending on experience, plus 5% employer pension contribution

Base: Mix of home-working, Edinburgh office base, expeditions covering Edinburgh and The Lothians

Responsible To: Chief Executive


Since 1998 Awards Plus (previously Friends of the Award) has supported young people, irrespective of background or life challenges, to participate in youth awards – primarily the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) but also Junior Award Scheme for Schools (JASS), John Muir Award and others. These opportunities for personal achievement can build self-esteem, help establish healthy lifestyles, and lead to new skills and qualifications to help prospects.

We work with individuals, schools and youth groups in areas of multiple deprivation; young people with learning disabilities or physical disabilities (through collaboration with schools and Enhanced Complex Needs Units); and with referrals from mental health support services, offering 1:1 mentoring support to participate in youth awards.

A 3-year City of Edinburgh Council Connected Communities grant funds Awards Plus to support young people who face barriers to participation in nature-based awards, including the DofE Expedition Section.

The focus of this role is to manage all outdoor-based operations, ensuring that a programme of expeditions, training and outdoor activities is safe, effectively staffed and enjoyable.

Main Responsibilities

· Oversee and manage operational activity including:

  • Adventure Activities Licensing Authority status and Health & Safety compliance

  • Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Approved Activity Provider status and requirements

  • City of Edinburgh Council processes relating to excursions, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, volunteers, procurement.

· Co-ordinate all aspects of expedition delivery for young people who are supported by Awards Plus, including an Open Programme and projects to enable DofE achievement.

· Deliver targets in a 3-year City of Edinburgh Council/Connected Communities Funding Agreement, including completion of DofE Sections/Expeditions.

Main Tasks

· Create and deliver a comprehensive expedition plan incorporating funding targets and expedition requirements of young people supported by Awards Plus. Co-ordinate associated activities including recruitment and management of participants (with a range of individual support needs), resources, leaders and volunteers, pre- and post-expedition administration/evaluations/reporting.

· Ensure compliance of all activity with health and safety protocols relating to Adventure Activities Licensing Authority, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Approved Activity Provider and City of Edinburgh Council requirements. Ensure use of protocols, risk assessments and safeguarding meet all statutory and best practice requirements.

· Integrate opportunities for wider achievement including Lowland Leader Award, National Navigation Awards, John Muir Award, Ramblers Scotland Out There Award and other relevant recognised and accredited awards.

· Oversee enrolment and support for 120 participants pa in DofE activity, including maintenance of DofE accounts, obtaining Section Assessor reports, signing off Sections.

· Oversee outdoor equipment store management. Ensure it meets needs of participants and leaders, and that equipment issued is fit for purpose.

· Manage & train volunteer support (in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council). Recruit, induct and support a pool of qualified expedition leaders & volunteers to co-deliver an Expeditions Programme. Facilitate and deliver training to include relevant qualifications including safeguarding, first aid and safety.

· Maintain an effective administration process, including volunteer information (e.g. PVG checks, training needs, expenses), budget, monitoring and evaluation. Provide reports as required; provide data, narrative and expertise for funding applications.

· Manage staff in relation to provision of expeditions and other outdoor activities.

· Attend meetings and maintain mutually beneficial links with key partners including City of Edinburgh Council, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Lothian Association of Youth Clubs, Awards Network.

· Contribute to the wider work of Awards Plus, including a peer support approach, training, narrative and staff meetings as required.

Employee Specification


· Experience of planning and overseeing youth expeditions, including associated training.

· Experience of delivering and managing participation in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

· Experience in youth work, mentoring, or befriending with vulnerable/marginalized young people, and an understanding of associated issues. Ability to relate to young people in varied circumstances in an open-minded, non-judgemental, respectful way, and advocate for them when needed.

· Experience of outdoor learning methodologies.

· Outdoor leadership qualifications including MLTB Mountain Leader (Summer) level.

· Experience of organising and delivering group work.

· Good interpersonal skills and ability to motivate others.

· Good communication skills, both written and oral.

· Ability to work with minimal supervision, organising and planning own workload.

· Experience working in partnership with multiple agencies.

· Ability to work flexible hours.

· A current, clean, driving licence; car-owner.


· Degree or equivalent in Outdoor Education/Learning, Community Learning & Development, Social Work or related field – desirable but not essential depending on previous experience.

· Experience working with people with mental health difficulties or additional support needs.

· An understanding and experience of youth awards.

· Minibus driving licence.

A Protecting Vulnerable Groups check for work with Children and Protected Adults will be required.

Applications: Closing date 5pm, Wednesday 6 March 2024. Please send CV and a cover letter outlining suitability to Rob Bushby,