British Standard has recently brought out BS 8848 in response to calls to make overseas adventure activities safer. This is an extremely rigorous set of criteria and requirements to ensure that any expedition, whether it be a school trip or an Artic Exploration is conforming to industry standards of good practice.
There are currently two levels of compliance, self assessment and peer assessment, the later being much more detailed. Quest Overseas has had self assessed status since the standard was published, and has successfully completed peer assessment by the Young Explorers Trust in September 2009. Quest Overseas was the first gap year organisation in the industry to successfully achieve this safety standard.
Ethical Volunteering provides advice & information for people who are interested in international volunteering and want to make sure that what they do is of value to themselves and the people they work with. Whether you have a few weeks or a few years there are now loads of organisations that will help you find a volunteer programme. But some of these programmes are much better than others. Quest Overseas has worked with Ethical Volunteering since its creation in 2003.
Tourism Concern fights exploitation in tourism. They are an independent, non-industry based, UK charity with a membership of almost 900 and partners in over 20 destination countries to ensure that tourism always benefits local people. They are the only organisation in Europe actively campaigning on tourism and human rights issues.
They work tirelessly to expose and challenge tourism's exploitative practices. Tourism Concern takes a solution driven approach and has played a crucial role in promoting forms of tourism that provide meaningful benefits to people in destination communities. Quest Overseas is an active member of Tourism Concern.
The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behaviour. Quest Overseas and Rainforest Alliance have established an alliance to support Best Management Practices in Sustainable Tourism since 2009.
Jane Goodall is one of the World's most famous scientists. Her pioneering study of wild chimpanzees, begun over 40 years ago in Tanzania, revolutionised how we think about both chimpanzees and ourselves. Her research in Africa continues to this day and is the longest field study ever undertaken of any group of animals in the wild.
Today, however, Jane combines her scientific work with international advocacy on behalf of chimps and the environment. Quest Overseas shares an active support of the Inti Wara Yassi wild animal refuges with Jane Goodall, as well as supporting all the work her organisation does.
In association with the 'Know Before You Go' Campaign, Quest Overseas is working with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to do all that we can to help British travellers stay safe overseas. Before you go overseas, check out the FCO website at www.fco.gov.uk/travel.
gapadvice.org provides independent advice on gap years, for people of all ages. Whether it's volunteering, courses, expeditions, work experience - they can all seriously enhance your CV and job prospects. Run by Phil Murray, Quest Overseas supports this website and its impartial approach to gap year opportunities.
Caroline's Rainbow Foundation is a UK registered charity working to raise awareness of the importance of safe travel to young people, whether they are going abroad for independant travel, gap year placements, organised trips or simply making plans to visit a different country. In particular, the charity aims to provide information about safety abroad and encourage young people to recognise and prioritise life's values wherever they may be in the world.
My Gap Year provides a cohesive individualised gap year plan for Canadian post secondary students and adventurous adults. It may include travel, education, volunteering, academic and wilderness experiences all in one package. A mygapyear plan will encourage personal development and broader academic and life skills through enhanced character building experiences.
Quest Overseas works with My Gap Year to help select suitable students from Canada for our expeditions. We are also working with them to promote the benefits of structured gap years in general to the Canadian academic system.
Running for the past 25 years, Art History Abroad runs two week and six week courses in Italy, with the aim to enlighten people to the world of art. With guides and teachers on site, their courses open doors to many hidden treasures in Italy. More recently, they also offer courses in the USA and London.
We are recommending this organisation for two reasons, one because they do offer some fantastic courses, but also because ex-Quest Overseas volunteer Rose Balston is one of their tutors - with an endorsement like that, you can't go wrong!
The London cookery school with a difference! Cooking courses covering all aspects of your Gap Year - and beyond: the one week Really Useful Course, two week Basic to Brilliant Course and Chalet Cooking Course and four week Complete Cooking Course. See for yourself! Quest Overseas is signing up all its staff up to a course, we recommend you follow suit.
Quest are a leading voice amongst this movement, established by leaders in the gap year and volunteering industry. The standard exists to give volunteer placement organisations a benchmark by which to operate their placements, as well as giving prospective volunteers a clear and simple way to understand what they should be looking for in a Fair Trade Volunteering placement.