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We are now recruiting for the position of Operations Manager

June 4, 2013


Our company (Challenges (Un)Limited, trading as Charity Challenge) has been in business for twelve years and is currently 13 people strong. We work exclusively for the charity sector, raising funds for worthwhile causes. We operate treks, bike rides, mountain climbs, skydives and other adventure travel itineraries, whereby our clients raise money for charity through their participation. We operate about 100+ challenges a year and have raised over £35m for 1300+ UK and Irish registered charities to date. We have also just launched a new operation out of Toronto, Canada for the North American market.

To round off the first decade for Charity Challenge, we organised the very successful BT Red Nose Day Climb for Gary Barlow, Cheryl Cole, Kimberley Walsh, Ronan Keating, Chris Moyles, Denise Van Outen, Alesha Dixon, Ben Shephard and Fearne Cotton which raised over £3.35million for Comic Relief.

The company has gone from strength to strength developing an excellent reputation both within the corporate and charity sectors, donating tens of thousands of pounds to local community projects in the countries in which we operate, and building houses, schools and health centres in developing countries as part of our award winning community challenge programme.

the role

We are looking to recruit someone with experience, drive and passion to join our operations team as an Operations Manager. We would expect you to manage a variety of challenges in different countries in which we operate amounting to approximately 10 different itineraries with 40+ departures in up to 11 different countries.  You will work within an operations team of 5 and will report to the Head of Operations.

The role will be one of overseeing and accepting responsibility for the day to day challenge preparation, organisation and operation, including liaison with ground handlers, the flights team, the sales team, the charities with whom we work and the passengers who book on to our challenges, making sure we offer the very highest levels of service and seamless efficiency to our clients and also you will ensure that we are operating to the highest standards of safety (as set out in “Challenge Safe,” our in-house Safety Management System) and quality as well as adhering to good responsible tourism practice.

The role includes:



  • Reviewing and updating all safety documentation for your challenges
  • Booking new departure dates in cooperation with the sales team
  • Researching and setting up new itineraries
  • Monitoring pax numbers, ensuring/monitoring profitability in liaison with the finance team
  • Liaising with ground handlers to ensure all operational details are correct, that any ad hoc changes or difference to exclusive itineraries have been organised and accounted for and any extra costs passed to the sales team.
  • Managing the ground handlers and negotiating rates. Dealing with queries from clients regarding all elements of the challenges and briefing leaders
  • Liaison with the flights team to ensure group flight schedules are all uploaded, leaders’ and medics’ flights are booked, extensions, add-ons and special requests are all in order ensuring any queries are answered and the challenge is running smoothly, handling emergencies / crisis (on call duty including evenings and weekends on a rota basis).
  • Dealing with feedback from the field (from clients and challenge leaders), liaising with ground handlers with a view to implementing changes to improve the programme in order to avoid re-occurrence of problems.  Being pro-active to avoid future complaints, following up on feedback from comments where necessary.


  • Ensuring ground handlers in each country are working within their contract with Charity Challenge (carrying out all of the ground arrangements including hotels, food, transfers and so on).


  • Dealing with feedback from the field (from clients and challenge leaders), liaising with ground handlers with a view to implementing changes to improve the programme in order to avoid re-occurrence of problems.  Being pro-active to avoid future complaints, following up on feedback from comments where necessary.


  • Taking responsibility for the maintenance and improvement of the quality and most importantly, the safety of your challenges – including training and ongoing appraisal of both UK and local leaders.
  • Assisting with the recruitment and training of both UK and local leaders as required
  • Liaising with the flights department regarding airlines and fares to ensure the correct flights are booked for all your challenges and that the agreed fares are within budget.
  • Liaising with clients: helping them prepare for their challenge, sending out visa application info, vaccinations, kit list etc, joining instructions, updates to their itineraries and flight details etc.  Collate challenge feedback and respond where necessary to problems.  Assisting clients with insurance claims on their return etc.
  • Ensuring challenge leaders and doctors on your challenges have signed off contracts.  Ensuring challenge leaders and doctors are prepared for their challenge with briefings, manual and relevant documents.
  • Organising and conducting a debrief post-challenge and detailed information fed back to the ground handler.
  • Prepare and ensure all customer facing documents are up to date and accurate on the website –  Q&A / fact file / itinerary / kit list
  • Attending WTM and other trade exhibitions as appropriate/required
  • Cross checking invoices from ground handlers and ensuring payment is made promptly
  • Assessing current costs and seeing where cost reductions could be made. Acquiring shadow quotes and negotiating with ground handlers to reduce those costs
  • Product Development – developing new challenges in liaison with the Operations and/or Sales team
  • Bespoke challenges – assisting in tailor making exclusive group challenges: sourcing ground handler, devising itinerary to client specifications, liaison with GH and negotiating cost.
  • Management of and responsibility for operations-based projects as per requirements


  • Assess levels of in country branding on your challenges and make recommendations to the marketing team
  • Blog Writing within your country areas.
  • Product and Sales Webinars and Presentations.

 what we are looking for

  • We are of course looking for someone with the relevant group/charity tour operation experience who has a sound knowledge of principles of safety and risk management.
  • Someone with adventure travel experience on at least two continents. Ideally but not essentially, you will have spent some time in South America and have had experience leading or acting as a charity representative on an expedition (although this is not an absolute pre-requisite).
  • In addition, we are looking for someone who is highly organised and process driven  with an excellent level of attention to detail to manage this area of our business.
  • Specifically, you should be able to manage your time efficiently, prioritise work loads and competently project manage many tasks, with a high level of care and attention to detail all at the same time.
  • You should also have the ability to take the initiative with regards to running your own portfolio of challenges and be a confident and competent communicator with clients and overseas ground handlers.
  • You will mainly be using Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Microsoft Outlook as well as our in-house database.

 what you can expect from us

  • We are a small business, friendly office in North London, full of people with passion for what they are doing.  It is a lively and busy environment. This is a chance to do something special, and work not only in the travel but also charity sector.
  • The job will also include experiencing the challenges and or conducting recces so will include some international travel.
  • Salary is negotiable depending on experience.
  • Mon-Friday 0900-1730hrs. One week in 4 will be spent on 24 hour emergency duty
  • 27 Days holiday a year plus your birthday as a bonus day off, and one extra day each year for up to an additional three years.

you can be part of our unique organisation helping to change people’s lives and raise millions for charity!

To apply for this role email your CV along with a covering letter to

Application Deadline: Tuesday 18th June 2013

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