Meet our Volunteer Iain MacBride

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Training Advisers have an essential job in providing support to those undertaking training for their appointment in Scouting. The key role of a Training Adviser (TA) is to support a learner through The Scouts’ Adult Training Scheme. Our excellent South East Scotland Scouts TA team provide our volunteers with superb assistance, the tools and tips to feel trained, supported and happy in your role. We couldn’t deliver Scouting without them!

Which is why we are so pleased to introduce you to Iain MacBride, from the South East Scotland Scouts region and Craigalmond District, who works hard in the background to ensure our volunteer leaders and members have the skills, knowledge and attitudes they need to be effective in their Scouting role. You can become a Training Adviser – see more below – and find the perfect volunteer role for yourself. Whether you want to work with young people directly or help behind the scenes, there’s something for everyone at Scouts.

Name – Iain MacBride
Group and District – South East Scotland Scouts region and Craigalmond District
Role – Regional Trainer and Assistant District Commissioner (ADC) Cubs

Fun fact –first time ever abseiled was off the cliff at Lochgoilhead – aged 50! 

What made you agree to be on the Region training team
After being a Cub Leader for a good spell, then ADC Cubs, I was keen to improve my skills as a Training Adviser. So, I did a Regional course on presenting about 5 years ago.  After meeting some of the brilliant trainers,  felt honoured when asked to join the team.  Delivering courses to a roomful of volunteers after successfully leading a large pack of boisterous, enthusiastic noisy Cub Scouts, should be a breeze!  It brings different challenges of course, not least finding ways to keep the training calendar on track despite face to face restrictions by pioneering Zoom courses.

I’ve since discovered a passion for education, doing my very best to  present learning so its  fun, innovative and memorable for the amazing and enthusiastic Leaders its my privilege to meet.  Working with the team  I regularly present three of the Wood Badge modules each term and also the Training Advisers course, helping qualified Leaders with the vital job of supporting even more new Leaders with their training. Now more than ever before, its so important that volunteers are supported and have access to achieve all the training they should have to produce brilliant Scouting.    

Why did you start volunteering with Scouts?   
I loved being  a Cub Scout way, way back when a cap was part of the uniform and became a Scout when we still wore berets, but then had a break from Scouting while studying, career and family were the priorities. My Scouting drought lasted 25 years, but then as a parent, like so many others, I wanted to offer support and when my son first joined Scouting, it reminded me so much of the fun, adventure and joy I had as a child.  Without further delay, I signed up and threw myself into volunteering almost as if making up for lost time. Becoming a Cub Leader, I was delighted to find that Scouting had moved with the times, but was still as much great fun and even more exciting activities than I remembered, and no longer any odd headgear to worry about!  Once I had my Wood Badge, being a Training Adviser sparked my first interest in the training side of things. Eventually I became ADC Cubs in the Craigalmond District and was thrilled to be part of the Cubs 100 celebrations, when we held the biggest ever District camp, truly memorable. 

What is the best thing you’ve done while volunteering with Scouts? 
There have been so many brilliant rewarding moments, its difficult to pick out one – so here are a few best bits. Without doubt one of the best was taking that giant leap to sign up as a volunteer in the first place.  From the smallest, shyest Cub saying: “Thanks I had fun at Cubs tonight” to travelling on two European expeditions, visiting Kandersteg. As a TA seeing the first Leader I supported presented with their Wood Beads was a proud moment and I was happy to bask in reflected glory. The fabulous thrill of almost 200 Cub Scouts doing a Pack Howl around the Bonaly flagpoles at Cubs 100 is unforgettable.  

Have you learned anything new as a volunteer? 
I’m frequently bowled over when I meet enthusiastic and amazing volunteers who do a fantastic job. So that they can be the best they can be, I’ve learnt that high quality Scouting for our young people has strong links to the Adult Training Scheme. It’s the icing on the cake, making it come alive to engage as many volunteers as possible is the way forward. It may sound like I’ve got a bit of a passion for this, but the more qualified Leaders out there, the better, safer and more fun we can all have!  

How do you think volunteering helps in your life? 
From when I first was involved as a parent helper over 20 years, I had first hand experience that Scouting is massively inclusive –  it made a big impact then and in later life. As a partially-sighted person, I know the benefits and value of a supportive teams and how open attitudes towards diversity and inclusion is embraced and championed in Scouting.  Like many parents, I’m proud that my children have grown up in the movement having so many  fantastic experiences of their own. Now as adults, they are carving their Scouting careers with the new generation of Leaders. Life has its ups and downs for everyone, and volunteering for me has often been that steady rock when needed.  During the last two years especially, many have discovered Scouting can have a hugely positive impact on our well-being and I certainly look forward with excitement and confidence to the future as part of it. . 

What would you say to anyone who is thinking of volunteering with Scouts? 
Don’t put it off!  Seize the moment and make the most of it. Yes, I know only too well, that’s easier said than done. Volunteering is a commitment, but you don’t need to have a set of extra- broad shoulders brought in to try it out and do it.  Scouters are by nature friendly, supportive, share common values and enjoy helping young people and adults alike. There’s support there if you need it, volunteering can be so rewarding, exciting and at times demanding – whether you can give a little time or a lot, come along among and try the challenges.  

Do you want to become involved with training at South East Scotland Scouts? We’d love to have you part of our team.

Our South East Scotland Scouts 7 Districts teams, who are – BordersBraidCraigalmondEast LothianEdinburgh North East, Midlothian and Pentland are all looking for: 

Our South East Scotland Scouts Region needs: 

  • Training Delivery Managers
  • NEW: A helper to Assistant Regional Commissioner Adult Training – Mary Dick who leads the wider regional training team. Are you interested in developing your training skills, knowledge and experience?


Trainers are key to the volunteer training scheme at the Scouts. As a volunteer, we value their contribution to delivering the #SkillsForLife to our young people and in helping make Scouting as much an adult experience as it is for the young! If you’ve decided to help others to complete their training then we have the resources and tips to support you. If you have the personal skills (no prior formal qualifications are required), interest and means please reach out to the Training Team for an informal chat. Thanks!