FOTA
Friends of the Award

Supporting Young People to Achieve

FOTA support a large network of volunteers who together deliver the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and JASS to thousands of young people every year in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Here are the main roles which volunteers undertake.

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DofE Leaders & Helpers

Making a commitment of a few hours every 1-2 weeks, you'll lead, guide, inspire and encourage a group of young people through their DofE Programme. You'll help your participants plan and train for their expeditions.

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Expedition Supervisors

Helping on a few expeditions per year, you'll ensure participants are safe while they undertake their expeditions, and you'll help deliver the training they need. Requires an outdoor leadership qualification.

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Expedition Assessors

Helping on a few expeditions per year, you'll support each team of participants to meet the DofE's 20 Conditions of Expeditions, and help each participant understand the value of their experiences.

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Kit Store Volunteering

Making a commitment of a few hours every 1-2 weeks, you'll help to maintain our store of expedition equipment, issue it to groups heading out on expedition and check it after use.

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Assistant Expedition Leaders

Helping with a few expeditions per year, you'll assist with training, supervision and logistics, gaining experience which could help you achieve a leadership qualification.

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Other Roles

Could you help us with fundraising, social media, administration or finance? Or maybe you could deliver a Skills, Volunteering or Physical activity to one of our groups? We may be able to use your help - please get in touch.

DofE Leaders & Helpers

DofE Leaders lead groups of young people through all aspects of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme. You’ll lead, guide, inspire and encourage young people, agree their programme choices and approve their progress in eDofE. You don’t have to be a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award holder yourself and you don’t have to be a fan of the outdoors! Our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award groups are in:

  • Schools, often run by teachers and other staff and with lunchtime or after-school meetings;
  • Open DofE Award Centres, run by volunteers and open to young people from across an area, often based in a school building, meeting later on a weeknight;
  • Youth and Community centres around the city.

DofE Helpers are adults who can spare some time to help our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Leaders run. You may give general support, e.g. admin or accounting, help run one section or provide specific training.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Co-ordinators set up and manage the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in a centre. If you become a Co-ordinator, you’ll support your Leaders and oversee all groups.

Time Commitment
2-3 hours per week: afternoon or evening meetings with your group every 1-2 weeks during term time, plus admin, planning and preparation time.
Requirements
  • Ability to work with young people
  • Organised, reliable and trustworthy
  • Registration, PVG membership, ID and reference check
Required Training
  • Introduction to the DofE
  • Child Protection
Recommended Training
  • Expedition Supervisor Training Course
  • Group Leaders Training
Find out more…

Expedition Supervisors

Every Practice and Qualifying expedition must have a Supervisor, who:

  • Has responsibility for the safety and welfare of young people on the expedition.
  • Ensures that the expedition is planned properly, meets the DofE’s 20 conditions, and has the appropriate approvals.
  • Ensures that expedition teams are properly trained and equipped to do their expedition.
  • Organises a supervision plan.
  • Supervises the participants throughout the expedition. The level of supervision varies from direct instruction and accompaniment to remote supervision where the team are free to make their own progress and decisions.
  • Is the focal point for communication before, during and after the expedition, keeping everyone informed.
On a given expedition there may be one or many Supervisors depending on the number of teams and participants. Some supervisors are also DofE Leaders or Expedition Assessors. You may decide to help particular groups on a regular basis or you may prefer to help groups on an as-needed basis using our fortnightly emailed list of expeditions needing assistance. During the winter months, you could help DofE groups out with occasional or regular training sessions.
 
If you are a positive, encouraging person who wants to support young people on their expeditions and help them overcome the many significant challenges they may encounter during their expedition, then we want to hear from you!
Seeing the participants coming into their own on the hill - gaining confidence and dealing with a new experience in very often a new location has been hugely rewarding"
Peter Macleay & Amy Richards
Supervisor and Leader, South Edinburgh Open Award Group
Time Commitment
1-4 full days including overnights, as many times per year as you wish. You’ll receive a list of expeditions needing assistance every 2-3 weeks, and you can sign up to individual expeditions whenever they suit you and you are able to make a commitment.
Requirements
  • Ability to work with young people
  • Registration, PVG membership, ID and reference check
Required Training
  • Outdoor leadership qualification, e.g. Lowland Leader, Mountain Leader.
    • Most expeditions are on foot, but we’d also be delighted to hear from qualified canoeing and cycling leaders.
  • Expedition Supervisor Training Course
  • Outdoor First Aid (every 3 years)
  • Child Protection
Recommended Training
  • Expedition Skills Module
  • Group Leaders Training
Find out more…

Expedition Assessors

Every Qualifying DofE expedition team must be assessed by an Accredited Expedition Assessor. The Assessor:

  • Ensures that the aim of the Expedition section is met.
  • Protects the interests of the DofE.
  • Ensures that the 20 conditions of the Expedition section are fulfilled.
  • Provides, as appropriate, local expedition area information to teams to help them decide how best to meet the 20 conditions.
  • Is a fair, impartial and positive person who adds to the expedition experience, supports the team and sees a successful outcome.

The role is open to anyone with an understanding of the outdoors (especially walking). On a given expedition you may be asked to assess between one and four expedition teams. On a Silver expedition, the Assessor can’t be someone who has previously been involved in the participants’ expedition training or practice expedition. On a Gold expedition, the Assessor must be completely independent of each team.

Normally there are around two assessment visits each day at Bronze, and around one per day at Gold. You do not have to walk with the team or camp overnight, so it is quite easy to combine assessing one or two teams with other objectives like visiting coffee shops or climbing nearby hills!

Some supervisors are also DofE Leaders or Expedition Supervisors. Assessing is a great way to gain experience while working towards being a Supervisor.

Accreditation is UK-wide, however you must register with each additional Licensed Organisation you wish to assess for. If you are already an accredited assessor we would be delighted to register you as a volunteer to assess Edinburgh groups.

Time Commitment
1-4 consecutive days, as many times per year as you wish. You’ll receive a list of expeditions needing assistance every 2-3 weeks, and you can sign up to individual expeditions whenever they suit you and you are able to make a commitment.
Requirements
  • Ability to work with young people
  • Registration, PVG membership, ID and reference check
Required Training
  • DofE Expedition Assessor Accreditation Scheme
  • Child Protection
Recommended Training
  • First Aid
Find out more…

Assistant Expedition Leaders

It is often helpful to have additional adult helpers to assist with the training, supervision and logistics of an expedition.

Trainee Supervisors will wish to gain experience of supervising, and this sort of help can boost the number of participants or teams that a qualified supervisor can supervise so it is beneficial for all involved.

Assistant Leaders can be asked to:

  • Drive a car, people carrier, minibus or van with participants, leaders or equipment.
  • Help provide training in expedition skills.
  • Help participants plan and prepare for their expedition.
  • Monitor a checkpoint, or shadow a team, during remote supervision.
  • Supervise expedition teams overnight on serviced, road-accessible campsites where qualified supervisors are not required.

You should work with the Supervisor(s) on each expedition to agree the division of responsibilities. Communication between Assistant Leaders, Supervisors, the Group Leader and the Home Contact is crucial and a good communication plan must be agreed between all.

Time Commitment
1-4 consecutive days, as many times per year as you wish. You’ll receive a list of expeditions needing assistance every 2-3 weeks, and you can sign up to individual expeditions whenever they suit you and you are able to make a commitment.
Requirements
  • Ability to work with young people
  • Registration, PVG membership, ID and reference check
Required Training
  • Child Protection
Recommended Training
  • Lowland Leader Training (or any other outdoor leadership scheme)
  • Expedition Supervisor Training Course
  • Group Leaders Training
  • First Aid
Find out more…

Kit Store Volunteers

Help operate our kit store based in Slateford, which provides low cost hire of outdoor equipment to young people from across Edinburgh for their DofE expeditions. Volunteers may help with:

  • Signing out equipment to participants, who come to collect pre-booked equipent in teams with their leader
  • Picking, packing and signing out orders which leaders are collecting
  • Checking returned equipment for damage and signing it back in
  • Equipment is signed in and out through a computer using a barcode scanner
  • Completing simple repairs e.g. buckles, drawcords, labels
  • Cleaning / drying equipment when it is returned dirty or wet (rare)
  • Tidying the stores and maintaining it in good order
  • Assisting with stockcounts, bookings and billing.

Key skills that you will develop through volunteering:

  • Practical repair skills
  • Administration
  • Customer service
  • Teamwork
  • Independent work

This opportunity could be a DofE Skills or Volunteering section for young people aged 14+. Adult volunteers have full access to our training programme.

Time Commitment
2 hours every 1-4 weeks between March and October, preferably on Wednesdays or Thursdays between 10:00 and 20:00.
Requirements
  • Practical, willing to work with your hands
  • Able to learn and follow simple procedures
  • Friendly and approachable, and able to work with young people
  • Reliable and committed
  • Registration, ID and reference check
  • PVG membership (for adult volunteers)
Required Training
  • In-house training (provided)
  • Child Protection (for adult volunteers)
Placements
We can accept volunteering referrals and work experience placements, however we are unable to provide a guaranteed minimum number of hours, and we cannot provide continuous supervision.

Find out more…

Benefits of Volunteering

As a registered volunteer, you can access:

  • Expenses paid when your help is needed to support an expedition. Transport and camping is always covered, some groups also offer meals for leaders.
  • Free and subsidised training courses.
  • Networking events, advertised via our email list
  • Members’ rates on equipment hire for expeditions or personal trips
  • Social leaders’ meetings approximately every quarter.
  • The feelgood factor of sharing your outdoor knowledge with the next generation.
  • Significant discounts at many outdoor retailers

How to Apply

  • Please Contact Us outlining the role(s) you are interested in.
  • If you know you’re keen, please complete our Volunteer Application Form and return it by email.
  • We arrange an informal face-to-face meeting with all new volunteers, this helps to ensure that you and the role are a good fit, and it gives you an opportunity to ask lots of questions and for us to find out how we can best support your volunteering. At this meeting we’ll give you a PVG membership form.
  • You’ll need to return the PVG membership form along with some identification – this can be done in person or by post.
  • PVG membership applications can take 3-6 weeks to complete. We’ll tell you when this is approved, then we’ll add you to our mailing list and you’re free to volunteer.
Thank you for your interest in volunteering!