Project Leader role

Project Leaders positions are open to any member of staff from Round Square Member Schools. Providing an overseas venture for young people is a major and serious undertaking and as such, Round Square has established procedures for the selection of the RSIS Leadership Team to ensure that they possess all the technical and personal qualities relevant to the nature of each project.

Leaders should be technically competent both in outdoor education leadership, First Aid and medical issues and also possess good 'soft skills' in order to relate to the needs of the students. 

Project Leaders should have prior experience of a RSIS Project and service project leadership experience working with 16-18 year olds, preferably in a wilderness setting. Project Leaders should also have a high level of First Aid qualification (preferably Wilderness First Aid or equivalent) and some experience of service work or travel in the project destination or a similar environment.

The Project Leader is ultimately responsible for all safety while on Project and should be aware of all their responsibilities from the start to the finish of the whole process. The Project Leader is defined as a competent individual who takes overall responsibility for the whole period of a Project and Cultural Phase, as a volunteer representative of Round Square. The Leader is there on each Project as a safety officer and facilitator – ensuring that students are constantly learning from their experience. The Project Leader has responsibility for all periods of direct supervision and responsibility for allocating competent leaders for any sub-groups during periods of indirect supervision. Project Leaders are different from the local Project Manager, whose role is purely to organise the logistics of the Project.


Qualifications and Desirable Qualities of a Project Leader:


  • Works in a Round Square member school OR is an Honorary Member of RS with recent experience of working at a RS school OR is a teacher who has recently left a RS school and who has been a recent leader on RSIS;
  • Knowledge and experience of risk assessments and incident management systems;
  • For itineraries that include technical activities such as high level trekking/climbing/canoeing, a mountain leader qualification/canoeing qualification or internationally recognised equivalent is highly desirable;
  • First Aid qualification, preferably at least a 4-day wilderness/far from help-based qualification;
  • Lifesaving qualifications for water-based activities;
  • Experience of leading groups of young people on a Project (preferably Round Square);
  • Experience and knowledge of developing young people’s leadership, development and team-working skills. Empathy with the needs of young people is essential;
  • He/she should be open minded, flexible, global in outlook, a lover of the outdoors and all the associated challenges. Above all the Leader must be able to cope with the unexpected, because he/she will face some very challenging situations;
  • Experience of international travel to less developed countries; and
  • Good reading, report writing and budgeting skills



  • Project destination experience;
  • RSIS Project specific experience as Deputy Leader or accompanying adult;
  • Ability to cope with a multi-racial, mixed gender and multi-cultural group of young people and staff;
  • Approachable;
  • Good humoured;
  • Supervision and decision making skills;
  • Professional conduct and maturity;
  • Facilitation skills; and
  • Has attended a Leader Training session run by Round Square.



Pre-Project Responsibilities:

  • The Project Leader must be fully conversant with the contents of the Round Square safety policies and the Leaders Manual that will be sent to them on confirmation of their role.
  • The Project Leader needs to be knowledgeable about medical matters relevant to the country and area of the country in which the Project takes place. In the case of Projects in mountainous areas, the Project Leader should specifically be aware of high altitude problems.
  • Leaders must ensure they are up to date with First Aid qualifications/skills and life saving qualifications (for water-based activities).
  • Leaders should make an effort to read as much as they can about the country and area they are visiting, as well as reading the RSIS information and reports on previous Projects. Where possible he/she should have discussed the Project with as many previous leaders as possible.
  • The Project Leader must be aware of the RSIS Emergency and Incident Management Plans and Critical Incident Management Plans, and must always initially consult the RSIS on-call manager on all incident management and media related matters.
  • The Project Leader needs to be fully conversant with their specific Project Risk Assessment and Emergency and Incident Management Plans, and indeed will be expected to work closely with the RSIS Projects Support Manager to complete these.

Responsibilities During Project:

The Leader’s most important role on the Project is as a supervisor, safety officer and facilitator – ensuring that students are constantly learning from their experience. This role will include (but is not limited to):

  • Arriving in the destination a couple of days before the students to meet with the local Project Manager and ensure all is in place.
  • Running the RSIS Orientation Plan for all team members on arrival with the help of the Deputy Leaders
  • Ensuring all safety on the Project, particularly for the areas of:
  • Worksite (safe working environment, equipment, clothing)
  • Accommodation
  • Transport
  • Cultural Phase
  • Medical and Evacuation
  • Equipment
  • Communication
  • Participant health and hygiene
  • Supervision of the team (direct and in-direct)


The Project Leader must also:

  • Work with the Deputy Leaders to ensure that one of them meets all students on arrival at the airport and also see them to the airport and ensures they are checked in for departures at the end of the Project.
  • At all other times the Project Leader must remain with the group overseeing all safety and facilitation of their experience (including any Cultural Phase activities). On occasions where the group is split up, the Project Leader must delegate an adult for each group of students. This delegated adult is then responsible for that group of students until such time as specified by the Project Leader.
  • The Project Leader shall keep a careful budget throughout the Project and communicate this to the RSIS Projects Support Manager after the end of the Project.
  • The Project Leader shall involve the team in risk assessment during the trip, and run dynamic risk assessments (particularly as regards transport, accommodation, activities and Project tasks), and keep a record of these, as well as any changes to the main Project risk assessment.
  • The Project Leader must keep a record of any incidents or near misses, which occur during the trip on the templates provided in the Leaders Manual. Where a student has had a near miss or minor incident, the Project Leader must provide details of the incident to the on call team immediately.
  • The Project Leader must keep the RSIS Project On-Call Manager informed at all times while on project, on arrival, once a week thereafter and on departure, by phone or email.
  • The Project Leader needs to be up to date with the current political, security and environmental situation in the immediate locality of the project, the region, and the country. The Project Leader needs to be aware of local weather patterns and associated problems as part of their Project-specific risk assessment.
  • The Project Leader is responsible for liaising with the local Project Manager for all logistical matters that arise during the Project.
  • The Project Leader must contact the RSIS On-Call Manager immediately in the event of a serious incident or emergency. The RSIS Project On-Call Manager is the central point of communications to parents, schools, insurance and other stakeholders.
  • The Project Leader shall conduct reviews and de-briefs with the students throughout the Project to ensure that any areas of concern are aired, and that the students are evaluating their experience. This is especially important for those participants on the Leadership Intern Program whose experience will need more detailed reviewing and evaluation.
  • The Project Leader must ensure that the Project Leadership Team is fully briefed and up to date at all times while on Project. There should be a daily staff debrief while on Project and each staff member should log events of any significance and send these to the RSIS Projects Support Manager on return.
  • The Project Leader must abide by the same Project Rules as all other participants for the duration of the trip.

Post Project Responsibilities:

  • Upon returning home the Project Leader must complete the following documents and send to the RSIS Projects Support Manager for dissemination (as per the Leaders Manual):
    • Prepare a confidential short report on the Project for the RSIS Projects Support Manager within 1 week of the end of the project.
    • Prepare a full Project report including Students’ contributions/diary where applicable within 6 weeks of the end of the project.
    • Prepare separate reports on adult and student participants for the RSIS Projects Support Manager within 6 weeks of the end of the project.
    • Send all accident / near miss and medical reports to the RSIS Projects Support Manager immediately on their return. These will then be forwarded to parents as necessary with any requirements for future treatments being flagged.
  • The Project Leader must account for all expenditure during the Project and, wherever possible, obtain receipts for monies paid out. The budget report and receipts should be sent to the RSIS Projects Support Manager for processing.
  • The Project Leader must send 30 to 50 high-resolution photos of the Project to the RSIS Projects Support Manager on return. These will be used for marketing of Projects.


How Round Square Supports its Leaders

Our Leaders are extremely important, not only because they ensure the safety of all our Projects, but also because they deliver the ethos of Round Square to all of our project participants. We do our very best to support you before, during and after the project by:

  • Covering all your expenses (travel, vaccinations, visas, in country costs);
  • Providing you with as much detail on the project as possible before you leave;
  • Helping you put together all the paperwork needed before the project;
  • Giving you 24 hour support while you are on project;
  • Delivering training and briefings face to face and/or through Skype, phone, the website and paperwork;
  • “Growing” our own Leaders through taking on Deputy roles before becoming a main Project Leader; and
  • Helping you to gain extra qualifications or training (such as First Aid qualifications) that are necessary for your role and professional leadership development.


Project Leader Application Process

  1. Description of role sent out to schools;
  2. Potential Leader sends CV and covering letter to Round Square;
  3. Potential Leaders are short-listed, and references are checked;
  4. Interview (face to face, over the phone, or using Skype or equivalent);
  5. Leader appointed, or deferred which is confirmed in writing;
  6. Leader reads RSIS Leaders Manual and Ops Policy documentation, and then completes and signs an information form (including a Code of Conduct);
  7. Check on qualifications (certificates of proof); and
  8. Criminal record background check or equivalent done.




Participation fee £TBC plus flights