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Working at The Oakes

Do I need to come for a whole year?
A whole year is our preference – from September (where we do the bulk of our training) to August (the end of the summer camps). However, if you are only able to come for part of a year please specify when and how long in the application form. We will then consider your application in light of this.

How long is a typical work day?
Work days typically start at 8:30am and finish at 5pm, with a one hour lunch break. During camps, the work day starts earlier and continues into the evening, with opportunities for breaks throughout the day at various times depending on your role.

What kind of young people attend camps?
The young people who attend camps may come from a vast range of backgrounds and age groups. The camps can be divided into three main categories: church groups, school groups and holiday camps (often small groups of friends). Our approach with school groups is educational rather than evangelistic, but we cover the same basic topics of the Christian message. We also offer Discipleship Camps aimed at those who are already Christians.

What happens on a study day?
The study days will focus on various topics covering the following areas:

  • Bible overview – learn how the whole Bible fits together and has one central theme.
  • Evangelism – learn how to effectively share the good news and be a witness to others.
  • Child and youth ministry – learn how to deliver God’s message in a relevant way.
  • Discipleship – learn how to be a follower of Jesus in the 21st century.
  • Team building – learn how to work effectively as a team.

A typical study day will comprise of four 1½ hour sessions, and will either involve in-house or guest speakers or team group-work. Some study days may simply involve attending a nation-wide training conference based on the appropriate topics.

Our three main training aims are:

  • to equip you with the skills and experience to share the Gospel, particularly with children and young people, through every aspect of your life.
  • to help you learn how to handle the Bible in order to prepare for ministry at three levels: personal, small group, and large group.
  • to encourage you to develop a servant spirit where you genuinely desire to serve God above all else, put the needs of others before your own, and give 100 percent in everything you do to God’s glory.
Is there a code of conduct?
While at The Oakes, we expect you to live a lifestyle conducive to growing, and increasing your effectiveness, as a Christian. Your conduct should not compromise the aims of The Oakes, and should be determined by common sense judgment and Biblical guidelines. Dating between team members is discouraged. Dating under-18s or non-Christians is considered inappropriate. Whilst on team, your choice of entertainment and clothing should be above reproach. Use of non-prescribed drugs (inc. smoking and alcohol) are generally inappropriate.

Will there be any form of accountability or review?
Each team member will be assigned to one of the permanent team to meet on a monthly basis. These ‘one-to-ones’ will provide opportunity for accountability, feedback and support. Reviews will take place twice a year to determine progress and give valuable feedback.

Living at The Oakes

How many days off will I have?
From arrival in mid-September, to departure at the beginning of September you will have approximately 85 days off. This usually takes the form of one day each week plus a few 4 or 5 day ‘mini-breaks’ after busy periods. An additional 15 days off are available on request, however, these are more likely to be approved during less busy times (i.e. during the school terms).

Are there local churches I can attend?
Weekly church attendance is strongly encouraged. There will usually be an opportunity to attend a local church on a Sunday, although when there is a weekend camp this will need to be in the evening. You are welcome and encouraged to attend any local church.

Will food be provided?
All food will be provided free of charge for the team. On camps and other work days, lunch and evening meals will be prepared and provided for the team through our commercial kitchen. On camp days, breakfast will also be provided. At all other times, team are responsible for making their own meals in the team’s private ‘residential’ kitchen with food provided by The Oakes.

Can you accommodate my dietary requirements?
In providing food for the team, we will strive to accommodate your dietary requirements.

Will I be able to use the Internet or phone home?
Wireless access to the Internet is available to all team members around most parts of the house. This can be set up on your own computer / device, or you can use one of the designated ‘team computers’. We will also cover reasonable costs incurred through phoning home (even for internationals).

Will I need to share a bedroom or bathroom?
Please be prepared to share a bedroom with one or two other team members of the same sex. Please also be prepared to share bathrooms, showers and toilet facilities with all other team members.

What should I bring or not bring?
  • Clothing: Since the majority of your time will be spent running camp activities or doing manual labour, a large proportion of your clothing should be fit for this purpose. The temperature outside might range from as low as -5°C (23°F) in the winter to 30°C (86°F) in the summer, although be aware the English climate is very unpredictable. You will also need some modest swimming gear (a one-piece for girls, shorts for guys). Laundry facilities are available to use at no cost.
  • Footwear: Footwear should be worn around the house. Bring footwear suitable for catering work (covering the entire foot, e.g. trainers/tennis shoes) and also for outdoor work. Wellies/galoshes are recommended for muddy/wet environments.
  • Bedding/Towels: We can provide you with towels and bedding – this should help with your baggage allowance if you’re flying here!
  • Electronics: You may bring small electronic items such as hair appliances, laptops, alarm clocks. Please do not bring large items such as televisions or bulky desktop computers. For internationals, see the question “Will my foreign electronics and appliances work in the UK?
  • Furniture: Each team member will be provided with a bed and a chest of drawers. Due to limited space in the bedrooms, please do not bring additional furniture with you.
  • Musical Instruments: If you are musical and intend to help with the music on camps, then you may want to bring your instrument with you. This is usually fine. Be aware that larger instruments tend to be left in the meeting room which campers may have access to, although they are told to leave them alone.
  • Sports Equipment: Please let us know if you would like to bring large sports equipment such as a bike.
  • Vehicles: You are welcome to bring your own road-worthy vehicle if you have one.
Will my foreign electronics and appliances work in the UK?
UK power outlets may be a different shape and output a different voltage (240V) to your home country, so adapters may be required. Even with power adapters, hair appliances (driers, curlers and straighteners) designed for a lower voltage may not work well or could malfunction. On the other hand, computers and phone chargers are often very versatile and are designed to take a wide range of voltages, so only a shape converter may be necessary.

What are my transportation options?
There are two team cars which may be driven locally by approved team members with full UK licence or a valid foreign licence. There are also bus and tram stops (within 5 and 15 minutes walk respectively) which are part of a city wide network. Sheffield has a train and coach station which are part of a country wide network. The nearest international airport is Manchester which is easily accessed by train from Sheffield.

How much spending money will I need?
All food, accommodation, training and much more is provided by The Oakes. See the Join the Team page for more information about covering these expenses. You may wish to have additional spending money available to buy clothing, souvenirs, confectionery, take public transportation, buy cinema tickets and so on. This can vary significantly between team members, so it is difficult to advise on any figure.

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