Example answer for competency based questions

Applying for the Training Programme? View a sample answer for a competency based question in the Teach First application process.

The example below has been written for the competency ‘Problem Solving’, however, we would encourage you to consider your own individual strength when choosing from the competency options.

“I volunteer at my local animal shelter, helping to exercise dogs awaiting rehoming. Last winter we lost three volunteers within a month and were left understaffed. This led to a hugely increased workload for paid staff members, and dogs were only receiving two walks a day, rather than the usual three.

I began by considering what I could do to help – both the staff and the animals. I thought about volunteering more of my time. However, as I work part time and am studying for a Masters there was a limit to the amount of time I could provide. I considered trying to attract new volunteers - I knew staff members were already struggling to cope with their increased workload, so would have limited time to put to a recruitment drive or training new volunteers.

I therefore decided to instigate this. I put up a sign advertising the opportunity in a local pet shop, as well as in the staff room at work. I organised a lecture shout out for my course at university. My work had a Christmas party and I persuaded them to let me hold a raffle, with the profits going to the animal shelter. We used this money to pay for an advert in the local paper as well as some treats for the dogs.

This generated three new volunteers, who I trained and are now a valuable part of the team. This sufficiently spread the workload, filled our voluntary vacancies and solved the problem.”

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