ShelterBox prides itself on getting aid direct to the people who need it most – and one of the ways we achieve that is through our ShelterBox Response Teams or SRTs.
Members of our SRTs are all volunteers and come from all walks of life. The first teams were deployed following the Indian OceanTsunami of 2004. Since then, SRT members have delivered ShelterBoxes to victims of disasters in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and the Americas.
Applying to become an SRT is not a decision to be taken lightly. Deploying with our aid into remote and chaotic environments is not for the faint hearted. Conditions in the field can be very basic and SRTs may be operating within days of a disaster that has killed huge numbers of people. Apart from the human tragedy, the infrastructure of the affected area may be in ruins and communications with home limited.
This means our teams must be totally self-sufficient – capable of operating without adding to the burden of the people we are there to help. SRT volunteers need to be fit, hard working, resourceful people, who can apply themselves and make the right decisions when under pressure. Acting as our spokespeople and our eyes and ears on the ground, they are vital to ShelterBox and we are rightly proud them.
Given the nature of the work and the level of responsibility expected of ShelterBox volunteers we are committed to supporting those who choose to volunteer for us. To this end we preferably recruit SRT members from the pool of volunteers who are already aware of our humanitarian work and have demonstrated some prior commitment to ShelterBox.
In New Zealand, this most often means that SRT applicants get involved in our ShelterBox Awareness Programme.
You are expected to play a vital role in raising awareness and funds for ShelterBox New Zealand through speaking engagements, fundraising events and other activities.
> Find out more about the Selection Process
Step 1 Application
When you think you have enough experience to meet the criteria for SRT then your first step is to complete an application form. Please be aware that we only consider applications from those who have demonstrated a commitment to ShelterBox.
Step 2 Interview
For British residents interviews will be held at ShelterBox HQ in Helston, Cornwall. Alternative arrangements will be made depending upon personal circumstances. Applications from outside the UK are welcome but your application needs to be directed to your in-country affiliate. Please contact us for details.
If successful you will be invited to a selection weekend.
Step 3 Selection Weekend
The selection weekend will test your basic fitness, personal attributes and inter-personal skills. Applicants are constantly monitored and assessed by the SRT Training Team and experienced SRT members for suitability. If successful you will be invited to attend a nine day training course.
Step 4 Nine Day SRT Training Course
This is an intensive nine (9) day residential course in Cornwall. The course is designed to be challenging, replicating what SRTs are likely to face in the field on deployment. The course is both an opportunity for you to develop your knowledge and skills in areas such as humanitarian logistics, personal security and ‘getting the job done’, whilst also enabling the training team to further assess your suitability for the role.
Whilst the course is physically demanding, it is certainly not all about brute strength. We are looking for a certain type of person who can think on their feet and remain calm under pressure. If you successfully pass the SRT Training you will be asked to join a unique group of dedicated SRT volunteers as a trainee (or ‘newbie’).
Step 5 Your First Deployment and Continuing Development
Given the unique and unpredictable nature of our humanitarian work we cannot guarantee a deployment for everyone on a regular basis. However, we endeavour to deploy new team members when feasible as operational requirements dictate. As a new SRT you will normally be in a team of four, under the guidance of an experienced team leader and your progress will be closely monitored.
Whilst we are committed to supporting and developing our volunteers, we expect team members to remain pro-active about their involvement with ShelterBox, which includes your continuing development. There are numerous ways to keep up to date with new equipment and procedures and there is a mutual responsibility to work with the training and operations team to ensure you are ready for future deployments.