Staff & Volunteer FAQs

Home Team Challengers Staff & Volunteer FAQs


  • The recruitment process – what do we need from you?

    In order to ensure we are employing the safest and best possible Play and Youth Workers to work at Challengers schemes there are a number of processes you must complete.

    The interview process comprises a group recruitment event which lasts a couple of hours and includes a number of group activities to see how playful you are and how well you work in a team as well as some administration to prove you are who you say you are!

    Once you have successfully completed the interview process we will carry out a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to make sure you have no criminal activity that would exclude you from working with children or vulnerable adults. This involves completing a form and providing us with some identification to prove your current address and photo ID. We then send this off to the DBS and once they have completed their checks they send you a certificate, which you have to pass on to us. The process takes on average 3 weeks. If you have joined the DBS Update Service please let us know at your interview.

    We also gather 2 references from previous employers or people who know you well (although not your family) to say whether they think you are suitable for the work.

    You must also complete and return (preferably by email) the recruitment paperwork (Terms and Conditions, Tax form, Medical Questionnaire and New Employee form) that we have sent you – these documents are all mandatory before you start working for us so please return them quickly so your start date is not delayed.

    Alongside this administration, you must complete an induction.

  • What does the induction consist of?

    The first section of the induction process is the new recruit training session, which is normally a morning or afternoon session. The date for this training session will have been shared with you when you were invited to interview and will be confirmed once you have successfully passed an interview.

    After this you will have an induction to the scheme that you will work at. The induction can vary from scheme to scheme. Normally though it’s a couple of hours during a day when the scheme is running where you will be shown around and introduced to both staff and children or young people. The Leader will give you useful information about working at Challengers and what we expect from you as well as what you can expect from us.

  • How does the probationary period work?

    During your probationary period you will receive on the job training and support to help you learn the role. This time is given so that you and your line managers can work together to make sure that the job is right for you, and that you are right for it!

    If you do not want to carry on working for us during this time period you need to give one week’s notice.

    Once you have successfully completed the probationary period you will become a permanent member of the Challengers Team!

  • What are Challengers schemes opening times?

    You will need to check the specific schemes that you are working at for the exact days and times – you can do this by reviewing your rota.

    If you are working at a Playscheme you will need to arrive and be ready to start at 9am.

    If you are working at a Youth or Young Adult Scheme you generally need to arrive and be ready to start at 9.30am.

    (Saturdays and holidays, After School Clubs, Youth Nights and Young Adult Nights are different).

  • How does the rota work?

    We use an online booking system to arrange our rota for schemes. You will be given access to this once you have completed all of the recruitment processes and will be sent details and instructions via email at that time. You login using your email address and a password that you set you up via a link we send you.

    Once you are logged in you can use a calendar to see the events that are available to book on to – book as many as you want to at the scheme that you work at, be careful because you will not be able to cancel bookings you make. If you want to move scheme or work at multiple schemes you must get the approval of the scheme leaders involved before making bookings at different schemes.

    Once you have made your bookings, Leaders and Project Managers will review and change your booking to a confirmed shift where you are needed to work. You will be emailed to say bookings have been confirmed but you can also ‘View My Rota’ on the booking website at any time.

  • How do we pay staff?

    Zero hours and hourly paid staff are paid one month in arrears, on the 25th of each month, into the bank account that you specified in your appointment paperwork. For example: any work you do in the month of June will be paid into your bank account on 25th July.

  • Will I ever be asked to work at other schemes?

    Some of our staff work at multiple sites and some are occasionally asked to work at other schemes to help where there are staff shortages.

    If you are only 16 or 17 you would only be able to work at a Playscheme. Once you are 18 you can work at Youth or Young Adult Schemes as well.

    We would always ask you, not tell you, to work elsewhere and it is unlikely unless you can get a lift either from another staff member or drive yourself. It would only ever be at a Challengers scheme and you wouldn’t be asked until you had the confidence and experience to go to a new scheme.

  • How does the holiday entitlement work?

    As an hourly paid or zero hours worker you accrue holiday entitlement as you work shifts. The more shifts you work the more holiday entitlement you will receive!

    When you want to take holiday you must complete a holiday request form and submit it to your scheme Leader. Your leader needs to approve this request and forward the document to our HR

    team. If you have accrued enough entitlement you will be paid for this holiday at the same time as any hours you worked in that month, a month in arrears.

    If you already have shifts booked for the dates you want to go away then you need to give plenty of notice for your shifts to be cancelled in order that we can cover them. If you do not give enough notice your request may be denied.

    You may be asked to find cover for yourself if you are asking for leave at short notice where you had shifts already booked.

  • Is it ok to work elsewhere?

    Yes. Lots of our staff work 2 or more part time jobs, and as long as you are able to commit the minimum amount of shifts to us we have no problem with staff members working elsewhere.

    We just ask that you tell us about them, especially if it involves working with Challengers families.

  • How do I know if I am working?

    Log into the booking website.

    Click on the ‘view rotas’ tab at the top of the page. For each date look at the status section – if it says ‘On Rota’ it means you are booked on and will be expected to work, if it says ‘I can work’ it means you have given your availability for that date but have not yet been booked on. You may still be booked on at a later stage.

  • What do I need to wear?

    You should always wear your orange Challengers t-shirt, with trousers or shorts that are comfortable and easy to move around in.

    You should wear closed toe shoes that are comfortable and easy to get on/off.

  • Who do I tell if I need to cancel or change a shift?

    There is no way for you to cancel bookings you make on the website therefore if you need to cancel a shift for any reason you must phone your Scheme Leader or Project Manager giving as much notice as possible.

    You should not email as you cannot be sure that your message has been received.


  • How old do I need to be to volunteer with the children and young people?

    We are pleased to take Volunteers from all ages but you must be at least 15 to be a Play Volunteer and 18 to be a Youth Volunteer.

  • Where is my closest scheme?

    Visit the What we do page to view where and when our schemes run across Hampshire, Berkshire, and Surrey.

  • How long does it take to be recruited and start volunteering?

    On average it can take 6-8 weeks from application to volunteering on scheme.

  • Do I need to come to an interview?

    We assess all Volunteers prior to volunteering on scheme to check they are mature, resourceful, and playful enough to cope with the sometimes boisterous nature of the environment. Once you have applied we will invite you to a recruitment evening where you will complete a DBS, have an informal chat with a Project Officer or Leader, complete a written safeguarding test, and carry out a play activity. This is also a chance for you to decide if it’s the right choice.

  • Do I need any special training or qualifications?

    No, but you can’t volunteer with us until you have completed Challengers basic safeguarding and behaviour management training and have received your up to date Enhanced DBS check (this has to be registered with Challengers).

  • How much time to I need to commit to as a Play or Youth Volunteer at Challengers?

    We like to be as flexible as we can with our volunteers. Ideally we are looking for commitments such as:

    Over 3-6 months
    1 or 2 Saturdays per month
    1 or 2 Sundays per month (if available)
    1 evening (or more) per week during term time for After School Club (2.30pm start) or a Youth Night (6pm start) – check to see if there is a Youth Night in your area.
    Guildford Swim Club – every Saturday for 2 hours (4-6pm)

    Over the school holidays
    3 days a week in the school holidays (Easter, Summer)

  • Do you pay expenses for Volunteers?

    Yes – we pay expenses up to 15 miles to and from the place of volunteering.