Programme Leader

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Location: London, West Midlands and the

North West

Length of role: Three or six weeks (17 or 34 days)

Dates: June to September 2012


Job description

We are looking for Programme Leaders to oversee our intensive summer programme, working both residentially and in the local community in London, West Midlands or the North West, over a period of three or six weeks.

The Programme Leader (PL) is responsible for both the overall running of the programme, and managing a dozen staff. The PL is supported by the Assistant Programme Leader in the delivery of the Personal and Team Challenge weeks of the programme, but not during the non-residential Real Challenge.

This role is suitable for an exceptional people manager with significant experience of working with young people. This is an extremely fulfilling and demanding position which involves managing a team of 12 staff and overseeing 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 teams 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 lasts three weeks and includes outdoor activities, skill development and community service. We are looking for Programme Leaders who can commit for one or two programmes over the summer.

The Programme Leader will:

  • Act as face of the Programme to all staff and participants
  • Manage twelve staff throughout the summer to ensure the highest quality facilitation and pastoral care for all Challenge participants
  • Provide support for the development of staff
  • Manage timings and processes of team to ensure the programme runs to schedule
  • Work closely with Challenge core staff to ensure effective delivery of the summer programme
  • Participate in their programme’s event at the culmination of the Real Challenge Action on 29th or 30th September
  • Attend their programme’s graduation event on 13th or 14th October.

All meals and accommodation are provided in The Personal Challenge and in the Team Challenge, and lunch only is provided in The Real Challenge Design.


All Programme Leaders receive four consecutive days of training in May or June to deliver The Challenge. Please see the Training schedule.

Work dates

The Programme Leader will work for a full three-week role plus work on two additional days: 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:


  • Ability to inspire and lead a large team of staff and young people
  • Experience of motivating groups of young people
  • Experience of working in a residential environment
  • Experience of making decisions under pressure
  • Experience of managing projects and staff
  • Experience of working in a fast-paced and demanding environment

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 contract role is £1,900 per three-week programme. 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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