School Leader, De La Salle College

2nd August 2015

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The School Leader at De La Salle College led his first World Challenge expedition to Peru in 2002. Since then he has visited Madagascar, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Namibia, Vietnam, Laos and travelled to Borneo and Malaysia during the summer of 2014. Before retiring, he will lead his final expedition back to Peru in 2016.
"I always like to go somewhere different and just pick countries that I think will offer interesting experiences for the boys. Every trip is different but I think a highlight for me has to be Madagascar because it was a little unexpected.
"We had planned a seven day trek across the island via the 'smuggler's route' but obviously made good time as we were at the coast by the end of day three! With four days to kill we found out what there was to do in the area, found a place to stay at a small family owned plantation that had sleeping huts on the beach and where we spent some time relaxing and whale watching. I just loved the spontaneity of it.
"Whenever I get the chance to catch up with older boys who have been on a World Challenge, they all say how it is the best thing they have ever done. As well as it being a great experience, I think it is also a really valuable opportunity for the boys because it gives them an understanding of the real world. Whether it is dealing with bustling markets, living in tents or coping with bug bites, they need to look after themselves!
"When I talk to university tutors they all say that having an experience like World Challenge on an application form does make a candidate stand out and I think it also says something about that individual. The expedition tends to attract a certain type of boy: someone who is kind, considerate and keen to do something to help others.
"One week of the expedition is spent working in some very disadvantaged communities and there is a lot of work that goes into fundraising for the trip – this is certainly not a ski trip! I've noticed the majority of Challengers go on to professions like medicine, teaching, policing, social work, all with a strong social purpose.
"For pupils not going on to university, having an experience like this down on your CV gives you something to talk about in an interview that shows life experience. Being able to cope with the pressures of an expedition shows independence and resilience; traits valued in the workplace.
"As a teacher I have felt driven to continue running these opportunities because I want to give the boys a chance to see what else is out there. Living on an island like Jersey is very beautiful but you need a bit of excitement!
"I am retiring in a few years' time and I do worry about whether opportunities like this will continue to thrive in the modern teaching profession. It is a lot of responsibility and as our profession becomes more risk averse it seems that fewer, younger teachers are willing to take on that responsibility. 
"This is where companies like World Challenge make all the difference. Each trip is run by an Expedition Leader so as a teacher you know that there is someone else to share responsibility with. I trust World Challenge because they have the experience and expertise needed to deliver these exciting opportunities safely and reliably."