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In November 2019, Scouts Scotland ran a Training Conference for Trainers and Training Advisers from all over Scotland.  It was a great opportunity to meet people in similar roles, and find out about the latest changes to the material and methods of delivery.  One session I joined was about delivering training via video-conferencing – at that time it was TEAMS that was suggested.  I thought then how useful it would be, especially for those in more distant parts of the Region, and who find travelling harder – because of the time taken, lack of suitable transport to the venue, or other commitments.  I decided I wanted to explore this further.   How little we knew then! 

Roll on a few months, we were all in lockdown, and no face to face Scouting was happening.  There are workbooks for a few modules, but apart from that the only way to deliver training was by video-conferencing. My understanding of the word ‘Zoom’ in the context of computers was something you did in or out to see more or less detail.  There was a steep learning curve ahead.  

The training team took on the challenge and reviewed the various modules to find ways to make the training work. Whiteboards were used instead of flip charts or post-it notes, breakout groups were created, slide packs were amended. One of the more challenging features was the practical exercises – we had to scratch our heads a bit to get some alternatives for these. 

South East was, for a while, the only Scottish region delivering any training.  In the last 2 years, we’ve delivered a huge number of modules to hundreds of leaders and helped keep everything ticking over.   Especially since we used Eventbrite for booking, we’ve had leaders join us from all over the UK, and in some cases, SE leaders on holiday in exotic locations joining in for a module.  Dedication! 

Now we’re almost back to normal.  We can deliver face to face training again and have offered a few courses.  

Apart from First Response the take up hasn’t been overly enthusiastic. While Zoom is brilliant for some personal circumstances, the benefits of face to face are huge. 

Benefits of Face to Face training:
It’s not just what’s in the course material, it’s the chats with other leaders, exchange of ideas, and suggestions on how to solve a problem that’s nothing to do with the module. The chats at coffee breaks are absolutely invaluable and if it’s possible for you to manage face to face training I’d strongly recommend it. I’m hoping that I can liaise with the Districts outside Edinburgh and arrange at least some of the modules to be delivered locally. All we need is a decent number of participants, and a suitable venue and we’re off.  

If you’d like to save yourself the travelling, please contact your ADC (AT) to let them know what you’d like so they can check the local demand and let me know. Don’t worry – there are no immediate plans to stop the Zoom training, but options will be available.  

For those who need First Response, and additional date has been set for 12th June (, and there will be some over the Summer.  Don’t forget the Hampshire model though – we know we can use it up to 31/08/2022, but don’t know what will happen after that.  

Finally – if you get an email from UK Scouts saying your Safety or Safeguarding are about to expire, just do it.  Do yourself, your GSL/DESC, your DC and the Regional team a favour by not going overdue. Not to mention the young people, who’ll be safer as a result.  You can send completion certificates to a Training Adviser, your GSL/DESC, your ADC(AT) or, if you’re really desperate, to me.  It’ll take less time to do the training than it does to explain why it’s not done!  

Mary Dick
ARC Adult Training