Group Leader Interview – Rob

Name: Rob
When Started: April 2014

Position Held: Senior Course Leader
Background: English degree and Primary PGCE; worked in primary education for several years.
Hobbies / Interests: Running, walking, painting, drawing, football, gaming, singing, watching films and then quoting them.

What centre do you work at and what’s great about where you live?
I work at the Barhaugh Hall centre in Alston and there are many great things about the area I live in. Not only is Alston moor on the doorstep of many great areas of adventure such as the Lake District, Northumberland, Hadrians Wall and Scotland (to name a few!). The area itself is phenomenally beautiful and itself an area primed for exploration. The Pennine Way, South Tyne Trail and several Coast to Coast routes run straight through the area!

Why did you choose Robinwood?
I came to Robinwood as a teacher very early on in my teacher career. I loved seeing a different side to children that would not normally be seen in a classroom – an opportunity for children who often get overlooked to excel and shine and a chance for the normally confident children to realise where the edge of their comfort zone is and stretch themselves. I realised that this was a job I would love to do and so I decided to make the change.

How did you find the selection process?
A really positive experience compared to other interviews and selections. Panel interviews are really intimidating environments to answer difficult questions so it was brilliant that all interviews were informal and one to one. It was reassuring to know that everyone’s contribution was valued rather than just the loudest person being listened to. Everyone has a fair shot.

What’s your favourite thing about working for Robinwood?
In any job you have, you always remember the people the most. I’ve worked with some amazing colleagues in my time here – those who can make even the dullest task seem to fly by. Some of those colleagues have become good friends and I wouldn’t change the memories I’ve made with them for anything.

What was the highlight of training?
Getting to go on activities as volunteers while others practised running activities! Although scaring each other in the Dungeon of Doom training using some handily placed Scream masks was great!

What’s the Coolest part of your job?
Having a child saying that they want to be a Robinwood instructor when they grow up is a cool thing to hear. Oh, and ‘using creative storytelling’ to get children interested in activities. It’s not lying to children. Honest.

What is it like working with 7-11 year olds?
It gives you different challenges, and that is what makes the job interesting. Different year groups provide a different set of development points – and even two schools with the same year group can be so different! It gets you to change things up, keep it fresh and interesting.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Most people, including myself, will tell you that the final few hours before the end of your last shift on nights is the toughest time to be a Robinwood instructor. Keeping yourself busy and effective is vital. But there’s often lots to focus on and get done on that final morning which is great.

Describe your first group in 5 words.
Beaver Road School, Awesome group.

What’s the nicest thing someone has done for you since you started?
Sometimes, when you’re having a tough day, a timely brew will just make everything better. It’s how the majority of things are solved in my home county of Yorkshire anyway.

What’s the funniest thing a child has said?
I Shouldn’t laugh at this but, after a particularly dramatic Piranha pool introduction and 10 minutes into the session sees one of the particularly loud boys from the group begging to be let out of the session:

Boy: Just let me live! I just want to live. Why won’t you let me live??

It was very hard for myself and the teacher to keep a straight face, but we calmed him down and got him involved in the group again. Although we had a chuckle about it afterwards.

What’s been your funniest moment?
The it’s a knockout social days are often a great place to find funny moments. Often satisfying watching people getting hit with inflatables!

What is your favourite session to run and why?
Stream Walk is a fantastic session. So many different ways to run it, and it’s a chance for children to splash about and be kids in a totally different environment

Have you been on any social events and what were they like?
The social events have been great. The It’s a knockout event at the castle is a great way of meeting staff from the other centres and have fun with them. We’ve also had some great centre socials – we’ve done paintballing, airsoft , falconry and a bonfire at centre. It caters for a lot of tastes.

Have you tried anything new since starting Robinwood?
A huge amount of new things. Climbing, scrambling, kayaking, canoeing, archery, coasteering, caving, mine exploration. I’ve even picked up things I’ve not done for a long time – hill walking and competing in fell races again!

What extra training have you done since joining Robinwood and is there more you plan to do?
I’m working towards my CWA training and assessment, but I’ve already picked up my level 1 paddlesports award, my archery GB level 1 award and my foundation safety and rescue training, as well as a very useful first aid at work qualification.

What advice would you give to someone considering applying?
It’s important to know that Robinwood is all about working together as a team. Interviewers aren’t necessarily looking for the strongest individual. Demonstrating teamwork and positivity under pressure are admirable traits.


It was very hard for myself and the teacher to keep a straight face