Our leaders

We are proud to recruit exceptional volunteer leaders who have the ability to inspire, motivate, encourage and develop our Explorers. A love of nature and a desire to help the Explorers to learn and develop is vital and we are very fortunate to have had extremely high quality leaders throughout our history. Our staff and leaders also share a great enthusiasm for adventure and wilderness, and a willingness and ability to share this with a younger generation.

A part of this comes from the strong volunteer ethos which permeates throughout the Society. This helps us to recruit leaders who contribute fully to the spirit of our expeditions as they really want to be there. Inevitably this creates a strong and very positive leader team.

In a survey conducted with Leaders who have volunteered with us over the last five years, our Leaders said:

• 85% said they were better at their day job as a result of volunteering with British Exploring
• 100% list their British Exploring Leader work on their CV
• 74% say volunteering with us has furthered their career
• 75% say it has allowed them to use their skills in a new way. 
• 100% have also acquired new skills. 

In addition to the benefit they bring to young people, 94% of our leaders say that volunteering with us builds their self-esteem, with 90% of them feeling more confident as a result. 


To find out more about our leader opportunities and current expeditions visit our Lead with us page.

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The role of Chief Leader

Our Chief Leaders are instrumental in delivering the amazing expeditions we are known for at British Exploring and we are proud to work with exceptional leaders who have the ability to inspire, motivate, encourage and develop our explorers.

Leaders come from all walks of life and include medics, teachers, military and outdoor professionals. Without exception our leaders are on expedition because they believe in the life changing experience that remote expeditions can facilitate - and because they also know how much fun it will be! The expedition planning starts more than 2 years before departure and involves a great deal of hard work by the team in the British Exploring office and the expedition’s Chief Leader.

Our Chief Leaders help plan the expedition, recruit the leadership teams, train leaders and explorers and then lead an expedition of 70+ people in some of the worlds most remote and challenging environments - they are extraordinary people! Visit our Chief Leader page for more information.

The leader team

Each expedition is different and will often require specific skills or experience depending on factors such as the terrain, climate, transport used and the nature of the explorers. A typical leadership team will include the following roles:

-         Deputy Chief Leader
-         Chief Scientist
-         Senior Adventure Leader / Safety Officer
-         Base Camp Manager
-         Doctors / Expedition Medics
-         Fire Leaders (Adventure)
-         Fire Leaders (Science)
-         Fire Leaders (Social)
-         Fire Leaders (School)
-         Trainee Leader Mentor(s) / Senior Explorer Mentor
-         Assistant Leaders
-         Trainee Leaders (Up to 12 per expedition.)
-         Senior Explorers (Programmes only)

Our approach to volunteering

We are a charity. We do not make a profit. Our job is to support as many young people as possible to transform their own futures through adventures in the wilderness. We run a small and very lean office, work hard to fundraise, as do our young explorers, and as a result each year are able to offer more spaces on our programmes to more young people with least access to opportunity. Some of our programmes are run exclusively for young people facing multiple disadvantage. We are privileged to have the volunteer contribution of fantastic, committed and highly competent outdoor professionals who give up thousands of hours each year to support our work. Our technical advisors do the same. So do our trustees. We also have volunteers working in our office.

Without their combined contribution, our work would not be possible. We understand that we ask a great deal of our leaders as we do with all our volunteers. We think they are exceptional people. Volunteering is an active choice for some professionals in every sector – but it just isn’t possible, or of interest, to everyone. We totally respect that. - Honor Wilson-Fletcher, CEO British Exploring Society

Our approach

Be involved: Fluid and dynamic expedition itineraries. Input, influence and help devise the expedition programme of adventure, science & media. We provide the framework, you expand.
Be valued: High quality training and personal development opportunities for all leaders. Return year on year and develop a long standing relationship with British Exploring.
Be wild: Ambitious and challenging, our expeditions visit truly wild locations and experience the world’s most spectacular environments.
Be unique: Be challenged, be tested and stand out. Enhance your CV with the original expedition company. Be scientific: Great adventure meets meaningful science. Incorporate your own area of expertise and deliver top quality scientific fieldwork.
Be professional: Access our high quality Training Programme and develop technical, leadership and facilitation skills.
Be yourself: From academia to the military, education to medicine, social work to professional science, outdoor education to professional exploration; whatever your field, join the team.
Be equipped: Receive exclusive discounts with retailers for all your outdoor equipment needs.

During expedition

• Continued technical training and acclimatisation
• Senior Leadership from world class expedition professionals
• The opportunity to lead and develop an adventurous and scientific expedition programme that exhilarates, challenges and inspires
• Experience some of the world’s most spectacular and inspiring locations
• Expand your leadership skills by going to more remote and challenging locations than any other expedition organisation
• All accommodation and subsistence (incl. expedition rations and fresh food)
•  All basic expedition and group equipment (e.g. tents, stoves)
• All required technical and safety equipment (e.g. ropes, climbing helmets & harnesses)
• The latest communications technology (e.g. satellite phones, yellowbricks, VHF radios)
• 24/7 support network based in the UK 
• In country agents providing localised expertise

Claire - explorer testimony

Our leaders were amazing and the whole fire were surprised by how close we had got with them by the end of the trip, truly felt safe and cared for by them whilst also having a lot of fun and getting stuck in with us. Trainee Leader Hannah struck a lot of us particularly as she was so helpful when we first arrived and did an amazing job at helping us to settle in. When she was with our fire you wouldn't have been able to tell she was a trainee leader, she directed us and helped us just as much as Jack and Rachael (Leaders) did and we were very sad to see her go to another fire.

What makes British Exploring unique is the ability for them to make you feel like your part of something wider than just the three weeks that you are on expedition. It sparks a personal journey longer than those three weeks and there is also a sense of belonging to the history and companionship of the society once you're involved.

The expedition was an unmissable opportunity and the best three weeks of my life so far. Once in a lifetime experience with lifelong friendships made.

Before expedition

• Support throughout the application process from our dedicated and friendly team
• Full induction to the British Exploring Society
• Full expedition training
• Travel expenses for training events
• Membership benefits including discounts with equipment retailors
• Free branded expedition t-shirt
• Free 16hr wilderness first aid course
• Access to the leader CPD programme and discounted courses

After expedition

• Expedition debrief day
• Put British Exploring on your CV
• Be considered for future British Exploring leadership opportunities with all costs covered.
• Continue on the pathway towards a Chief Leader position
• Continued access to the leader CPD programme
• Continued leader newsletters with up to date info, details of further training courses and events.