Assistant Programme Leader

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Location: Fully residential role in London, West Midlands and the North West

Length of role: Two, four or six weeks

Dates: June to September 2012


Job description

We are looking for Assistant Programme Leaders who will work for two, four or six weeks during summer 2012 and live on the programme on a fully residential basis in London, West Midlands or the North West.

The Assistant Programme Leader (APL) is responsible for the pastoral care of all 60 young people on the programme and is in charge of behaviour management. The APL will report to the Programme Leader in the delivery of the Personal and Team Challenge weeks of the programme.

This role is suitable for a specialist in managing behaviour of young people with significant experience of residential youth work. This is an extremely fulfilling and demanding position which involves supporting the pastoral care and development of 60 sixteen-year-olds.

About the organisation

The Challenge Network is a fast-growing social enterprise that connects and inspires people across Britain to strengthen their communities. The Challenge is a programme that brings together young people from different backgrounds, builds their confidence, and challenges them to make a difference in their local community. In 2012, 10,000 young people across London, the West Midlands and the North West will take part in The Challenge, for an intensive three-week summer programme followed by four weekends in the autumn.

The Challenge programme 

We bring together sixteen-year-olds from across a community and challenge them to connect with people from different backgrounds, learn key skills for the workplace, and make a difference in their community.  They achieve this by completing three challenges:

  • The Personal Challenge: socially mixed programmes of young people bond through a week of challenging outdoor activities.
  • The Team Challenge: teams return home and use their skills to experience serving the local community.
  • The Real Challenge: teams work to design and organise activities that will bring the local community together. The Real Challenge Design takes part during the last part of the summer programme and the Real Challenge Action takes place over four weekends in September.

All young people who complete The Challenge graduate from our programme and are directed into year-round volunteering and social action opportunities through The Challenge Society.

About the opportunity

A single programme for an Assistant Programme Leader lasts two weeks and includes outdoor activities and residential experiences.

The Assistant Programme Leader will:

  • Work intensively with individual challenging young people as required throughout the Personal and Team Challenge
  • Provide floating support to the five teams of young people as required by the Programme Leader
  • Support each of the mentors in working with their teams and to give them some time off
  • Support the Programme Leader in management of the discipline system where required.

All meals and accommodation are provided for in this role.


All Assistant Programme Leaders receive four consecutive days of training in May or June to deliver The Challenge.

Work dates

The Assistant Programme Leader will work for one, two or three full two-week roles (i.e. two, four or six weeks of work) plus work on up to two additional days per role: the final day of Real Challenge Action (29th or 30th September) and graduation (13th or 14th October). Please see the Work Dates schedule.

About you

Candidates must demonstrate the following skills and characteristics:


  • Extensive experience of working directly with groups of young people
  • Experience of working with young people with behavioural difficulties
  • Experience of working with young people in a residential environment
  • Experience of working in a fast-paced and demanding environment
  • Willingness to develop project management and decision making skills


  • Experience of working with sixteen-year-olds
  • Experience of managing or motivating groups of people in stressful environments (in a paid or voluntary capacity)
  • Experience managing projects or events (for example youth programmes or complex events)

We also look for all employees to show The Challenge characteristics. These are:

  • Trust-building: Works hard to build trust with people. Brings people together in the community
  • Responsibility-taking: Takes responsibility for actions and attitudes. Claims and solves problems in the community
  • Understanding and Empathy: Works to understand others – their strengths, fears and needs. Ready to stand up for someone who is different.

Further details

This is an excellent opportunity to be involved with an exciting programme which has tangible results for the young people involved.  The role is demanding and fast-paced but highly rewarding.  The compensation for this role is £1,350 for each two-week period. This payment includes pay in lieu of annual leave and is subject to tax and National Insurance deductions. Staff will be paid through The Challenge payroll on a weekly basis.

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