Thank you for your interest in joining the Team! To help you understand what is expected of you in the early stages of your association with the Team, this note should answer many of your questions. If you want to discuss any aspect of the Trainee program, please contact the Training Co-ordinator via the e-mail address at the end of this note. This note describes the progression from initial interest in the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation to becoming a Full Member. Every Trainee is expected to complete the steps outlined below without exception.
The Organisation only provides training in specific search and rescue skills. It does NOT provide training in the generality of mountaineering. To be accepted as a Trainee Member it is essential that the applicant is an active, all-seasons mountaineer with at least three years experience of general mountaineering. A good level of local area knowledge of North and East Snowdonia, North Wales is essential. The Applicant must be familiar with basic rope-work and be capable of climbing a 'Diff' in boots. The emphasis here will be on understanding gear placements and rope work to protect yourself and others rather than being a super hard leader. In addition, the Applicant must be capable of climbing Grade I snow gullies and be proficient in simple winter belay methods. Training and operations can be physically demanding so a good level of physical fitness and stamina is required. Trainee training and integration into the Team requires a firm commitment to attend and participate on a minimum of one day in every four weekends. This is an essential point that cannot be overstated.
In the first instance potential applicants should download an application for trainee membership known as the "Blue Form". If potential applicants feel that they fulfil the basic requirements given in the "Blue Form", and this note, then the completed "Blue Form" should be returned to the Training Co-ordinator or the Secretary.
The Training Co-ordinator will acknowledge receipt of the application form and. you will be contacted about arrangements for the Initial Hill day. Usually the initial hill day will be conducted in the later part of the year.
This day is an informal day out with a member of the Training Group or nominated Team Member. It is designed to allow us to 'get-to-know' each other, find out more about the Organisation and for both to decide whether to embark on the Trainee Member scheme. This day is normally done in the usual wet and cloudy conditions in Ogwen. This Initial Hill Day must be completed within three months of receipt acknowledgement and instructions. If it is not completed then the Trainee Membership application will lapse.
The Team Member responsible for the Initial Hill Day will make an appropriate recommendation to the Training Co-ordinator. Acceptance or rejection of the application will be reported to the Organisation's Committee and the Applicant and the decision is final. On acceptance, the Hon. Secretary will inform the Applicant of the decision. The Applicant will then be added to the list of Trainee Members. At this stage the Applicant is considered to be a non-specialist for Police insurance purposes. The Trainee will be given a set of Training Log Sheets, the Trainee Member Guide and the Training Calendar. A record sheet listing courses and lectures attended by the Trainee and other relevant information will be held by the Training Co-ordinator. If rejected, the Applicant will be advised of the reasoning behind the decision and may be asked to re-submit an application form at some future date.
All Trainee and Full Team Members receive a Training Log Book that is designed to function as record of search and rescue training, participation in operations and general mountain days. The greater part of the Basic Level section of the Log Book must be completed before the Final Hill Test is undertaken.
During any one year there will usually be:
It is strongly recommended that a Trainee attends at least 6 general Training Events, the Scottish Winter trip, and a First-Aid Course. This level of attendance is required to ensure that the greater part of the Basic Level Training Log Sheets may be completed and critically, during this period, it is vital that the Trainee Member starts to integrate into the Team by visiting Base and mountaineering with Team Members. Failure to attend training events and to start integrating with the Team will be considered at the periodic reviews. It is highly desirable that Trainee Members have at least one hill day with a Team Leader during the training period. It is your responsibility to organise this day.
The Training Group reviews the Trainee Member List each February and September. The onus is on the Trainee member to discuss their training requirements and progress with members of the Training Group before the reviews are held. At these reviews, each Trainee is assigned to one of three classes:
Class 1: Completed Training and is ready for Final Hill Test
Class 2: Further training and/or assimilation time is required.
Class 3: Rejection of application and removal from Trainee List.
A report of each review will be made to the Team Committee and possibly in writing to you.
The duration of Trainee membership should not exceed 18 months and could be as short as one year. The period is basically dependant on the commitment (activity, skills, integration and enthusiasm) of the Trainee. If the period extends much beyond 18 months, then it is indicative that the Trainee is probably not making, or not able to make, the required commitment to the Team. This will be considered during the periodic reviews.
Each Trainee who has been assigned to Class 1 will be asked to undertake a Final Hill Day Test. This test is intended to verify that the Trainee has the core set of mountain skills and has learnt the basic search and rescue skills required for Full Team Membership. On successful completion of the winter Final Hill Test, the Trainee will usually be recommended to the Committee for acceptance as a Full Team member. The Hon. Secretary will formally notify Trainees of their change in status.