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COTAG vehicles during professional-led off road training. Recovery of COTAG vehicle during professional-led off road training. COTAG vehicles during professional-led off road training. COTAG personnel during professional-led off road training. COTAG vehicle during professional-led off road training. COTAG vehicle during professional-led off road training. COTAG vehicle during professional-led off road training.
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Basic Volunteer Training

COTAG 4x4 Response aims to produce a number of volunteer teams throughout Scotland that are competent, confident and ready for the challenge. Learning, practicing together and sharing knowledge will be the main area of investment. All training is presented by top experts and always features ample opportunity for COTAG crews to perfect techniques.

All volunteers must successfully complete the "basic" training package before being accepted as an operational crew member. The components of the basic training package include:

Professional training regarding the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Persons is essential for all COTAG team members as it is likely that COTAG may be entrusted with the safety and transport of children and vulnerable adults. Previous courses have been highly regarded as very constructive and thought-provoking.

A basic First Aid course is also an important element in the training package. This not only makes possible the chance to attend to injured and distressed members of the public, but it also increases the usefulness of all COTAG team members.

The Advanced Driving qualification as offered by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is now a minimum for COTAG team members. The course includes a series of lectures, driver training days and preparation for the IAM on-road test.

Basic off-road driver training teaches COTAG volunteers to use their 4x4 vehicles effectively and responsibly. This very enjoyable course features a variety of ground conditions and natural obstacles. All team members are expected to pass the BORDA Stage 1 test.

Self recovery and winch training is also essential to ensure that all team members are fully trained in the safe use of winches and other recovery equipment.

Due to the fact that COTAG teams will be operating in extreme conditions a Winter Survival course is also part of the basic training. A recent session was run by experts from RAF Mountain Rescue and covered clothing, food, equipment and shelter.

As all COTAG team members' vehicles are fitted with VHF radio, approved training in the correct use of this equipment is a legal requirement. The RSGB VHF Radio Foundation Course is the minimum qualification.

An all terrain navigation course is essential to ensure all COTAG team members are confident with maps and grid references and can plot a safe and economical route to a given destination.

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Advanced Training

A programme of advanced training has been developed to permit each of the team members to specialise in an area which is of particular interest. Volunteers have been asked to choose between:
  • VHF Radio
  • First Aid
  • Off-Road driving.
The VHF radio course is the RSGB Intermediate Level which will permit successful candidates to transmit by radio at increased power levels.

An advanced First Aid course is available which is technically more demanding and includes scenario training.

The Advanced off-road driver training course is to BORDA Stage 2 level featuring more challenging and extreme off-road conditions which need to be driven correctly and safely. COTAG team members can look forward to gaining in confidence and competence following this course.

Specialist Training

COTAG will take every opportunity to offer a range of specialist training opportunities for team members. Courses may be either skill based or have a management focus.

To date, courses have included Leadership, Grant Applications, Project Insurance and Full Cost Recovery.

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