Hello Dear Reader,

I was listening to and An Hour a Week with Cubmaster Chris over on PTC media, and he declared that May is training month.

With this in mind, I thought I would look over the UK training bits and pull together a blog post that tries to explain what training in the UK is all about.

The Scout Association’s Adult Training Scheme

The Scout Association is a voluntary movement dedicated to the development of young people between the ages of six and 25. Each week over 100,000 adult volunteers, in a variety of roles throughout the UK, help Scouting to achieve its aim. While The Scout Association’s primary purpose is the development of young people, it also seeks to offer personal development opportunities to adults, both within their Scouting role and as individuals. The Adult Training Scheme is one means by which adults in Scouting can be supported in their chosen role. It can also help to meet personal development needs.

That is a very nice paragraph but what does it actually mean. Well in the UK we have a process whereby a person, who is either new to the movement or who are changing roles must go through the appointment process and then start on the path to completing their wood badge.

The appointments process can and should be very simple, it is about ensuring that a person taking on the role understands the commitment that is about to take on, and ensuring that the person is suitable to work with young people. More information about the appointments process can be found here The Appointment Process: Guide to Appointing Adults.

This post is not about appointments but about training but it helps set the scene the graphic below shows nicely the steps taken towards gaining a Wood Badge.

What is a Wood badge??

I thought I would just give you a bit of history on the Wood badge to start

When Gilwell Park was purchased for the Scout Movement in 1919 and formal Leader Training introduced, Baden-Powell felt that ‘Scout Officers'(as they were then called) who completed a training course, should receive some form of recognition. Originally he envisaged that those who passed through Gilwell should wear an ornamental tassel on their Scout hats but instead the alternative of two small beads attached to lacing on the hat or to a coat button-hole was instituted and designated the Wood Badge. Very soon the wearing of beads on the hat was discontinued and instead they were strung on a leather thong or bootlace around the neck, a tradition that continues to this day.

The complete history can be found on this factsheet <CLICKY>

Outside of the UK there are different schemes and ways in which the Wood Badge is presented however here the completion of the wood badge is an indication that a leader has completed the relevant modules for their role.

Anyway back to Training so we have completed your appointment and we are now faced with 37 training modules shown in the Module Matrix and your prob

ably thinking what is next.

Hopefully on completion of your appointment you will have been informed who your “Line Manager” is (for want of a better word) e.g. if your taking on the role of Scout Leader (SL) your “Line Manager” would be the Group Scout Leader (GSL) you should also be advised who your Training Adviser (TA) is, it may well be the same person.

A discussion should then take place between the three parties you, your GSL and your TA (if the GSL is the TA then they should use different voices for each role. OK maybe no but it would be amusing if they did) to discuss the best route to complete your Wood Badge. I would also strongly recommend downloading the Adult Personal File (<CLICKY>) as this document will really walk you through your Wood Badge.

There are now two key stages to the Adult Training Scheme


Where you have the opportunity to gain or improve the knowledge and skills which are needed to perform your role.

As the scheme recognises prior learning, knowledge and experience individuals may not need to complete learning for every aspect of the scheme.


This is when a Training Adviser will check what you have learned and that you can apply the skills you have acquired to your role.

Validation is essential for every module.

So how do you complete the learning well The Scout Association recognises that an individual has different needs. They will have different prior knowledge and experience, learning styles, personal circumstances, motivations and support mechanisms (both inside and outside of Scouting). Therefore a range of learning opportunities is provided.

An individual’s learning needs might be met in a range of ways, one of which could be a training course. They might also be met by reading a book, watching a DVD, talking to a friend, through practical work, by watching a demonstration, or perhaps by simply reading a set of instructions. Individuals are encouraged to use the method or methods most appropriate to their needs in order to gain the relevant learning.

The Scout Association tries to demonstrate in its methods of adult learning the same methods that it employs with young people. Any range of learning experiences is therefore likely to include:

  • ownership of the learning process by the individual
  • learning by doing
  • interaction with others during learning
  • a high proportion of learning ‘on the job’
  • personal support from a named individual
  • contributions by line managers, peers and others to the learning
  • demonstration of the learning ‘in practice’.

Geography or personal circumstances should not be a limiting factor for adult training. Therefore, the opportunity for individuals to do their learning at home (through the use of distance learning methods, primarily workbooks, video and e-learning) has been built into the scheme. As one of the key principles of the scheme is flexibility, it is essential that adults have access to these different options.

Gilwell neckerchief and beads
Image via Wikipedia

So there you have it an overview of the next step for you is to talk to your Training Advisor and complete that Wood Badge and join the 1st Gilwell Scout Group. Remember that you will also have a Local Training Manager in your District you can talk to and a County/Area Training Manager in your County/Area.

Other Resources

Adult Training Pages – CLICKY

Adult Personal File – CLICKY

Adult Training Scheme – CLICKY

Learners Resources – CLICKY

Module Matrix – CLICKY


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  1. Kiff
    27 May, 2010

    If your sat there smugly reading this thinking I have completed my Wood Badge – remember you are suppose to under take 3 hour of training per year to maintain your Wood badge.

  2. Nick Wood
    27 May, 2010

    Thought it was 5 hours!
    I think the current scheme is much better than the old ones as it takes into account what experience you already have, so you don’t have to do things you already know.
    I remember my Dad having to do the camping part of the old Wood Badge scheme despite the fact he’d been a Scout since he was 10!

  3. Kiff
    27 May, 2010

    I stand corrected Mr Wood, you are correct it is 5 hours

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