Volunteer

Find out about helping deliver the DofE Award in Aberdeenshire

Connect with your community, meet young people & like-minded adults.  Keep mentally & physically active.  Gain personal development through training.  See young people flourish, meet challenges and learn about their environment.  Get discounts on equipment from local outdoor shops!

Volunteer roles (Click to read the formal Aberdeenshire Council role):

HelperProvides general support to the members of a DofE Centre

Leader– Guides participants, assists with the outdoor training and supports Supervisors on expedition

Expedition Supervisor– Responsible for the safety of a team of 4-7 young people whilst on expedition

Expedition Assessor– Ensures DofE expedition requirements are met (this role can be combined with the other roles)

Centre Coordinator–  Runs a DofE Centre

Please contact awards@aberdeenshire.gov.uk to arrange an informal chat to discuss matching your experience, skills & goals to a DofE role.  Volunteering is a rewarding, sociable & fun experience!

Find more information about volunteering at the main DofE website

Training:

There are 3 areas of training:

  • Specific courses relating to DofE: Introduction to DofE, Expedition Supervisor and Expedition Assessor
  • Aberdeenshire Council courses in Data Protection, Safeguarding, and Remote Supervision/ Low Hills Leader
  • National Body qualifications such as Outdoor First Aid and Mountain Leader

Aberdeenshire Council aims to contribute to the cost of essential training for DofE roles

Start your DofE Volunteer journey by completing this DofE e-induction course

Discount Reward Card

Volunteer Enrolment Form

DOFE Volunteer Enrolment Checklist

Volunteer Confidentiality Agreement

P1090568e

A volunteer’s story

I think I am a fairly typical DofE volunteer; whilst dropping my own teenagers off at their DofE training events I’d get chatting to the friendly and obviously like-minded outdoorsy volunteers.  Having spent a lot of time in the hills I rather naively offered to hang around & help out, but turns out there was a formal procedure to go through!

After initial PVG / Disclosure checks and being formally recruited as an Aberdeenshire Council volunteer, I came along to the busy fortnightly training meetings at the local DofE Centre where I’d help with the young folk’s expedition planning & training.

I was surprised by the scale and complexity of the award- there’s a lot to learn!  But there’s plenty support, DofE put on training courses to help you guide the young folk in planning their volunteering, skills and physical sections and progress through the Bronze, Silver & Gold levels.  Aberdeenshire also put me on Child Protection/ Safeguarding and Data Protection courses.  I had plenty outdoors experience, but no qualifications.  For the first year I went along on a couple of Bronze 2-day expeditions just as a spare pair of hands.

To be responsible for a team of 4-7 participants though I’d need a 1st Aid certificate (minimum 6 hours tuition) plus Aberdeenshire Council’s Low Hills training course.  To enrol on the course you need to have a log book of 20 hill walks.  The course usually runs over a weekend and covers navigation, remote supervision and campcraft.  Completion of the course allows a Leader to take a group out on paths & tracks up to 600m, but only in the north-east of Scotland and within 5km of an accessible track.

I’ve now been volunteering for several years and enjoy connecting with the young folk, the camaraderie with the other volunteers and having real purpose behind being out in the hills!  (I’ve got a few funny stories to tell as well!)  It’s great to see youngsters get a taste of outdoor adventure, take responsibility and achieve satisfaction from their own efforts.  I particularly like seeing them (midges and rain permitting) relaxing in the evening after getting their tents up and cooking their meal, hearing the laughter and barmy banter; the simple joy of being in the middle of nowhere with no parents!  I didn’t do DofE myself but this is one way of repaying the debt I owe to the teachers who ran my school hill walking club and initiated what was to become a lifelong love of walking, biking, canoeing, sailing and cross-country skiing.

Having now done the 1 day Expedition Assessors course means I can officiate at Qualifying Expeditions; it’s a happy time when you congratulate a team on a successful Expedition.

Since some of our Silver & Gold teams are keen to be more adventurous, my next step is to gain the more useful Mountain Leader national qualification.  I’ve been on the excellent 6 day training course and I’m now working my way through the 20 ‘Quality Mountain Days’ I need to log before going on the 5 day assessment course.

My own kids got a great deal out of DofE; one has nearly finished his Gold Award, volunteered as a helper at the centre and has now embarked on a career in outdoor education.  My wife felt a bit left out, so she is now a volunteer too!