Coaching & Volunteer Development & CPD

We’re proud to provide top quality, practical outdoor coaching for orienteers, as well as coaching education if you’d like to become an orienteering coach yourself.

Scottish Coaching Certificate in Orienteering

We offer two levels of coach qualification, awarded by the SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority), all taught and assessed by appropriately qualified professionals, and subject to the rigorous standardisation processes of the SQA.

For all levels, coach education covers planning, delivering and reviewing of coaching; for Club Coach ( SCCO L5) the focus is on a single session, for Lead Coach ( SCCO L7) a series of sessions. There is no restriction on the level of “technical difficulty” (TD) at which a coach can operate, except that they must always be working within their own technical competence. Higher coaching qualifications reflect greater knowledge and skill as a coach but coaches choose their own preferred area of deployment in line with club/SOA requirements.

We encourage every club in Scotland to have a small team of coaches led by one Lead Coach , with support provided by Club Coaches and/or people who have attended the Coaching Foundation course. This corresponds to Silver club accreditation

The focus of all our courses is on practical outdoor coaching.

Guide to Coaching Levels

Coaching Foundation (CF)

The Coaching Foundation (CF) is a one-day introduction to coaching; there is no assessment. The content of CF is a sub-set of the Club Coach (SCCO Level 5) course. Most learners go on to complete the Club Coach qualification after doing CF.

CF courses are held throughout Scotland, approximately 2 to 3 times a year – these can be provided at a club’s request in addition to those open courses on the course list.

CF is open to SOA members, while full British Orienteering membership is required for the SCCO qualifications as it is a prerequisite to hold a licence to coach.

Club Coach ( SCCO Level 5)

Club Coach aligns to the CIMSPA Coaching Assistant professional standard, with coaches delivering sessions which are appropriate for their level of orienteering and coaching knowledge. The focus of the Club Coach is the single session, usually progressing a skill within the session.

Training for Club Coach comprises some independent learning before the tuition and assessment. The course assumes that learners have completed CF or the BOF Introduction to coaching course. Facilitated learning takes place over 4 online sessions with formative and final assessments being carried out over one day’s face-to-face tuition .

Club Coaches are qualified to coach in lower risk areas, such as parks and small, well bounded woodlands.

Pre-requisites for Club Coach

  • Recent evidence of competence at TD4 (Light Green) or above before assessment at Level 1. This is usually by means of a competition result.
  • Age at least 17 at time of final assessment
  • Current member of British Orienteering

Lead Coach ( SCCO Level 7)

The Lead Coach aligns to the CIMSPA Coach professional standard and may work alone or co-ordinating a small coaching team, usually within a club or a small cluster of clubs. A Lead Coach can focus on a series of coaching sessions, often working towards a particular event. They understand about progressing skills from one session to the next, using different areas and refinements to make each session useful to a range of participants.

A Lead Coach might mentor another coach working towards that qualification.

Lead Coaches are qualified to coach on larger areas, and can undertake a short workshop on “Coaching Safely in Remote Areas” to allow them to coach in areas which would otherwise require a Level 3 qualification.

The Lead Coach course involves some independent learning and written tasks before and after the 1.5 days tuition element, a series of logged and self evaluated experience supported by a mentor, and the final assessment when all other tasks have been completed. Learners have up to 2 years from the start of tuition to complete the qualification.

Pre-requisites for Lead Coach

  • Recent evidence of competence at TD5 before their final assessment. As for Club Coach, this is usually in the form of a competition result.
  • SCCO Level 5 (or UKCC L1) orienteering coach qualification or equivalent
  • Current member of British Orienteering.

Specialist Coach

In addition to the role described for Lead Coach, a specialist coach might also work with individual athletes competing at or aspiring to top competitive levels. At this level the coach often takes on the role of guide and mentor to the athlete; he/she tends to help the athlete to analyse performances, set up useful practices and help with lifestyle and psychological aspects of the sport. Specialist coaches may also be qualified to organise extended training camps, overseeing a group of athletes away from home as well as managing a coaching team and other adult helpers. The Coach may wish to concentrate on other groups such as disabled athletes, coaching female athletes etc.

The format for Specialist Coach is also scheduled for redevelopment to reflect the current demand, now that the new Club Coach and Lead Coach courses have been completed.

Pre-requisites for Specialist Coach

  • Familiarity with the specialist area in which they wish to work. e.g. performance, disability, coaching female athletes.
  • SCCO Lead Coach (or UKCC) Level 2 orienteering coach qualification or equivalent
  • Current member of British Orienteering

Course fees are shown on the SOA’s Course Schedulesportscotland currently offer subsidies to people undertaking coach qualifications. Details are on their website or available from the SOA coaching and Volunteer Officer.

The qualification pathway is summarised in the associated diagram:

SOA Coaching Pathway

Diagram showing the SOA coach education pathway

Coaching Qualification, Licensing and CPD

Scottish Orienteering (SOA), in conjunction with British Orienteering (BOF), run a coach licensing scheme to ensure that coaches are covered by British Orienteering’s insurance and give the club and participants the reassurance that the coach has shown commitment to best practice. As SOA remains under the insurance of BOF, we adhere to similar expectations for coaches to be licensed however we do stipulate our preference for trainings, which are recognized by BOF.

To be a licensed coach you must have:

  • A Coaching qualification (which does not lapse or expire)
  • Signed the coaches’ Code of Conduct, sent to BOF and SOA coaches coordinators
  • Current SOA/BOF membership. SOA membership only will not cover insurance for a coach
  • A valid PVG check
  • Valid and up to date First Aid qualifications as explained here:
    • in the case of Level 1-2, a current First Aid qualification that is appropriate to the areas and environments the coaching will be delivered. This will be no less than a 1 Day Emergency, Outdoor or Basic First Aid course. Outdoor First Aid is the preference.
    • in the case of Level 3 and above, a current First Aid qualification that is no less than a 2-day Outdoor First aid course unless the coach is re-certifying and a 2-day Outdoor First qualification was previously held, or the coach can adequately confirm that no coaching is done outside the areas A, B and C (reference then a  1-day course is adequate.
    • Medical professionals (GP’s, A&E) are not required to attend a first aid course. Instead, proof of professional qualifications must be sent to British Orienteering and the SOA.
  • Sport Scotland’s Safeguarding Training, online virtual courses available via
  • Completion of either the updated Event Safety Workshop (ESW) 2020 or having completed within the past 5 years or the online training of Safety for Coaches found in Coaching Resources CPD
  • Upon completion of any of these requirements please inform in order to update your qualification record.

For documents, logs, activities and forms, view all Coaching resources.

Click here for more details of all the courses we run. Some courses are only run on request so please do get in touch with Suzanne if you’re interested or have any comments, questions or suggestions


The SOA employs a great bunch of people who are all qualified coaches and qualified tutors.

For any queries on tutors or courses, or if you’re interested in becoming a tutor, please contact us.

Suzanne Robins-Bird

Suzanne Robins-Bird
Coaching & Volunteering Officer

Judy Bell

Judy Bell