Questions?

Are the summer roles paid?

Our Team Leader and Senior Mentor roles are paid at professional rates. Our Project Volunteer role is (unsurprisingly!) unpaid. Our remaining roles, aimed primarily but not exclusively at university students and recent graduates, receive a bursary in recognition of the time individuals contribute while they gain valuable experience and apprenticeship.

What are the differences among the Team Mentor, Residential Mentor and Community Mentor roles?

The Team Mentor role exists only in Birmingham and covers two fortnights in the summer. The Residential Mentor and Community Mentor roles exist only in London; each covers a continuous month in the summer.

Looking at the London roles specifically, the Residential Mentor covers four successive Team Challenge weeks, living residentially with participants and working with them on a theme like sport, film or performance. The Community Mentor covers four successive Real Challenge (non-residential) weeks, helping teams assess community needs, choose a project and present their plan to an expert community panel.

All of these roles require working four weekends (Sat & Sun) in September to support teams’ delivery of their community action project.

How much time do I have to commit?

Time commitment ranges from four weekend days to over a month, depending on role.

Can I work in more that one programme/period?

Yes! By design, most roles work across multiple programmes. Senior Mentor roles are designed for a single programme, but we encourage those who can to participate in two programmes in the summer. It gives Senior Mentors a chance to have even more impact, starting a second programme with all the knowledge and experience they’ve gained in the first. We think it is best to have a few days off in between to catch your breath, though!

Why are some programmes shorter than most?

The programmes in Hammersmith are shorter than the others, since they are testing a condensed version of The Challenge.

I already have a CRB disclosure; do I need another with you?

You almost certainly do.  The checks carried out for a CRB disclosure depend on the role title submitted in the application and on whether the individual is identified as needing to work with children.  Your existing CRB may or may not include all the checks that our roles require.  Also, if the check is more than a year old, then it is out of date for this new role.  Our team will discuss this with you before asking you to submit a CRB disclosure application.

Is the training mandatory?

Yes.  It is very important that we help you prepare for the challenging role you will be taking on in the summer.  If you absolutely can’t make a scheduled date, talk to us about options.

Why is the same role paid differently depending on location?

Pay for each role is set based on the role, the length of the programme (some are shorter than others) and whether the programme is in London (where both costs and pay are slightly higher than elsewhere).

Are expenses paid?

In general, yes. During your work in the summer programme, expenses incurred solely in carrying out responsibilities with The Challenge will be reimbursed. During the first two weeks of any programme, there should be little or no expense incurred. During the third week and in the ongoing community action project, you are more likely to have claimable expenses. More detail on specific items:

Travel to selection or training events: we do not reimburse travel costs for our selection and training events. We do try to help with the travel where we can – for instance, laying on (and paying for) minibuses to transport from rail stations to the camps where the events take place.

Accommodation: we do not reimburse for accommodation costs. During the first two weeks of each programme, accommodation is provided for all but the Friday and Saturday nights. For those nights and for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of the third week, out-of-town staff will need to find accommodation. We can help connect you with a local mentor who is happy to ‘put you up’ for those nights.

Meals: we do not reimburse meal costs. During the first two weeks, all meals are provided except Friday dinner through Sunday lunch. In the third week, lunch is provided.

Telephone: we will reimburse the expense of calls or texts made for Challenge business on personal telephones.

Travel: For volunteers, The Challenge will reimburse the cost of local travel required to reach the place of work and to carry out work responsibilities. For paid staff, The Challenge will reimburse the cost of local travel required to carry out work responsibilities, not including the commute to and from the designated place of work. We do not reimburse the cost of getting to the metropolitan area where the programme is being held. For instance, if you live in Leeds and are mentoring in a Birmingham programme, we do not reimburse your travel for getting to Birmingham for the start of your role or getting back to Leeds after the role is finished.

General: You may incur a range of small expenses in September in helping their teams plan and carry out their community action project. We will reimburse reasonable expenses (if in doubt, check with your Real Challenge Logs Officer) if you provide receipts.

What living costs are included?

Accommodation: During the first two weeks of each programme, accommodation is provided for all but the Friday and Saturday nights. For those nights and for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of the third week, out-of-town staff will need to find accommodation. We can help connect you with a local mentor who is happy to ‘put you up’ for those nights.

Meals: During the first two weeks of each programme, all meals are provided except Friday dinner through to Sunday lunch. In the third week, lunch is provided.

Can I apply for more than one role?

Yes.  You can apply for more than one, and we can work with you to determine the best one for you.

Can I apply if I am not a UK resident?

We welcome applications from international applicants! However, you must already have authorisation to work in the UK. In other words, you must be the holder of a British passport, an EU national or already have a work permit.

If you have any other questions or concerns please email us


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