Become an Expedition Leader
With the right experience and qualifications, you can step into one of the most rewarding and stimulating careers in overseas expeditions
Every World Challenge Expedition is accompanied by an Expedition Leader and we pride ourselves on attracting the best in the industry. Our pay and benefits package has been designed to reward loyalty and aid the development of our Expedition Leaders through their career with World Challenge.
Qualified Summer Mountain Leader (minimum) – more information on how to gain this qualification can be found here.
Equivalent military and overseas qualifications will also be considered.
Youth work experience
It is essential our leaders have proven experience working with young people, ideally aged between 13-18, and have a working knowledge of youth development in an outdoor setting. We ask for a minimum of 8-10 weeks of active youth work experience to include some form of residential responsibility.
A minimum of one month’s personal travel experience in Central/South America, Africa or South East/Central Asia. Many applicants will have travelled extensively in these regions, which allows them a greater choice of expedition at placement.
Once you have submitted your application for one of our expeditions, we check your qualifications alongside your experience before offering you a place on one of our Potential Leader Courses.
Potential Leader Course
Feedback and expedition placement
On completion of both parts of your Potential Leader Course, we review all of your feedback with our Head of Operations and look to sign you off as a World Challenge Expedition Leader. We then get in touch with you and let you know the outcome. If it is successful, we also take this opportunity to discuss expedition options for the coming year. If your application has been deferred, we formulate a personal development plan with you so that you can reach the required level.
Continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities
Our CPD programme typically runs from November – June. Options include a facilitation course accredited by the Institute for Outdoor Learning, a water safety and river crossings course run by our Technical Advisor and a high-altitude course run by our expedition medicine expert. Be sure to take advantage of these courses, which are run at cost price. Some are free to attend, and if there is a cost, you can use any training credits you have saved up against it (see our Expedition Leader Pay & Benefits for information).
Meet the Leader Evening
In most cases, this is your first chance to meet the team that you are set to accompany on expedition. Meet the Leader evenings are part of our extended expedition build-up programme and generally happen between February – May for summer departures. The meeting normally takes place at the school and is hosted by a full-time member of World Challenge staff.
Expedition Preparation Conference (EPC)
Your expedition starts here! The Build-up Day is normally held at the school on the day before or day of departure (depending on the departure time). This is a chance for you and the team to go through all the important final checks, including passports, documentation and personal kit. A run-through key safety briefings helps to prepare the team for arrival in country.
"I teamed up with World Challenge in 2009 because I wanted to take my own love of mountaineering and travelling, and encourage young people to get out there and explore the world... It is so nice to see how the Challengers develop throughout the expedition; it really is a life-changing experience and I often stay in touch with groups long after they've returned home." Vanessa Johnson (Expedition Leader)
After Build-up Day, you set off on expedition for a duration of between 8 days – 6 weeks.