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Ashley's Wood Badge

Ashley is a Trustee of The Scout Association, Chair of UKHQ’s Appointments Committee and a Group Scout Leader in Bath. He’s recently completed his second Wood Badge and tells the story of how his first one landed him the job that started his career in retail.

'While studying at university, I came up with a brilliant plan to join the world of work for a little extra cash. Searching around, I decided to apply for a customer service role in my local supermarket. It wasn’t something I was looking to turn into a career (little did I know!), but I still put a lot of effort into the application.

Needless to say, Scouting featured quite a bit in my application. I shoehorned it into everything, so when the title 'Achievements' appeared on the screen, there was one thing I knew I could boast about… my Wood Badge. As an Assistant Section Leader, I prided myself on achieving the ultimate adult training award. With all the training I had done, the work I put in and the evidence I had gathered, how could I not be proud?

Anyway, the interview came around and we were going through my application.
‘A Wood Badge?’ said my soon-to-be manager, peering over the reading glasses  perched  on  her nose. 'What exactly is a Wood Badge?'

I didn’t hesitate to explain. I told her that what I learned about people with additional needs could easily be translated into making sure customers with additional needs felt comfortable; that what I had learned about planning a programme for young people meant I was effective at managing time and managing projects; and, that what I had learned about challenging behaviour in young people could even be useful in dealing with irate customers.

She chuckled. ‘Yes, I can see that being very useful indeed.’ ‘So, it means you’ve been on a load of courses?’ she asked.
‘Not exactly.’ I said ‘In Scouting, we believe in learning by doing, so you have to actually go away and do stuff in order to get the training signed off. I’ve had to plan meetings, run meetings, keep records and, well, basically put everything I’d learned into practice.’

The interview didn’t last much longer. That manager later told me that she was so impressed by  what I had learned, the skills I’d had to show to gain a Wood Badge, and my ability to relate those skills to the role to which I had applied, that she made her mind up immediately.

Having just been awarded my Group Scout Leader Wood Badge, I can’t wait to see how I can use the skills I picked up in gaining it, elsewhere. An interview for a manager’s position is on the cards soon, and I think I know what will be getting another mention…


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