Please let the webmaster know of any Skills section opportunities you hear about.

Programme planners, Activity ideas lists and Session planners relating to the Skills section may be downloaded from the DofE website.

Advanced Driving and Biking Courses

Advanced courses for motorists and motorcyclists run by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) are well-proven and are concerned to teach people road safety skills beyond those required for the standard L-plate test. Those who complete these courses are demonstrably safer and better drivers than the "average" driver or rider.

The Thames Valley RoSPA Group is one of the largest in the country (110 drivers and 40 bikers) and has an excellent training record. We have a dedicated and trained team of Tutors (all volunteers) who are certificated by RoSPA. They are regularly re-tested (every three years) and pursue their own additional training through quarterly workshops.

There are costs; normally a course of about a dozen drives costs £47 and the advanced test (conducted by an advanced police driver) costs £48 - we bundle these together for £90. However, these are reduced for those under the age of 26.

Normally, it takes about six months to complete the course and take the advanced test, so there is a good degree of commitment required by those participating. A significant part of the course is concerned with care for others and awareness of the hazards and dangers of driving and riding.

For several years now, RoSPA have been looking to recruit younger drivers and riders - with limited success. However, a link with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award might encourage insurance companies to reduce premiums for younger road users, since refusal to help might generate adverse publicity for insurers!

For further information, please contact Paul Sheppy (Training Officer, Thames Valley Group, RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders) on 01235 521092.

Rifle Shooting

Isis Rifle Club is keen to support young people who would like to develop their skill in the highly disciplined sport of target rifle shooting. The shooting range is in Beckley, on the outskirts of Oxford, so is an accessible opportunity for schools in the Oxford area that have individuals interested in this sport.

The club is part of the Oxfordshire Rifle Association and has a strict code of conduct in place, which is outlined below along with the benefits this opportunity will provide:

  • Safety and discipline: The safety of each shooter is paramount. There is no exception. There are rules that govern how any range, indoors or outdoors, will operate. The “Range Officer” is in charge and whatever they say must be obeyed without question. Any instruction is given for the safety of all.

  • Taking instruction: In order to develop as a shooter, it is essential that individuals are prepared to listen and take instruction from the experienced coaches and squad members. When shooters start in the sport, no-one expects perfect scores. However, to progress, they are expected to heed the advice of those providing support.

  • Being part of a team: Whilst we all seek to perform to the best of our individual abilities and improve our personal scores and consistency, most competitions allow for teams to enter. As such, each shooter is entered as part of a team and is expected to support their team mates. Given that there are also many competitions that recognise individual performances, shooters can gain personal glory in the sport. However, our aim as a club is to succeed as a club.

  • Opportunities to compete at different levels: Shooting is an international sport at which the UK home nations have excelled within all disciplines and classes. It is a sport in which you can compete and progress from club-level, through county-level, to national and international competitions. As there is no age limit, many competitive shooters continue to succeed into their old age. That cannot be said for most other sports.

  • Concentration: It is sometimes easy to lose focus if a few shots don’t go well. Whilst a poor shot cannot be undone, the next shot can be perfect. It is important to keep a high level of concentration – not only on the sight picture, but on your breathing, position and trigger control. By gradually improving each aspect of your shooting, it won’t be long before you achieve your first “possible” – 100 points.

  • Adapting to new situations and blocking out distractions: When shooting outdoors, shooters have to contend with light variations (from bright to shade), change in wind direction and strength, sometimes rain and cold too. Remember that everyone else is shooting in the same conditions, so everyone has the same advantage or disadvantage. Shooters learn how to adapt to changing situations and will pick up tips from more experienced shooters. As shooting outdoors is very different from the indoor range, this is where you will be able to demonstrate your technical skills and what you have learned.

  • Commitment: As with all sports, shooters need to put in practice time. Isis Club members have regular weekly time at the range – Tuesday evenings from 6.00pm. We would expect shooters, who are keen to progress in the sport, to attend the majority of these weekly sessions.

  • Have fun: Whilst target rifle shooting provides personal challenges for every individual and provides many competitions for individuals and team, it is, above all, a social sport. It is important that new shooters feel welcome in their clubs and at the ranges. We welcome potential Duke of Edinburgh Award participants to try the sport and for parents and teachers to also visit the range and meet the members.

For more information and expressions of interest to visit the club, please contact:

James Plunket

T: 01865 358170

M: 07507 885169