How to become an Outdoor Instructor
Outdoor Project Manager, Will Moy, explains how to get the outdoor career you’ve always wanted
I get asked maybe 3 or 4 times a week from clients, students & passers by “what a fantastic job you do, how do you get into it?” So I’ll attempt to explain!
Firstly, the Outdoor Industry is a thriving, rewarding and great industry to be a part of. I’ve been involved with delivering outdoor activities for almost 10 years and I will hopefully be doing as long as possible. On the face of it, the outdoors can seem to be a very specialist sector to get into, especially when you are coming with little experience. Don’t let this put you off. There loads of ways to get your foot in the door…
Higher education option - School leavers
Many budding outdoor instructors, including myself go down the higher education route. For school leavers a free BTEC level 3 course is a great option. The course gives you fantastic base competency in a number of activities as well a good academic grounding for employment. http://www.landandwave.co.uk/btec_level3.html
I went directly from sixth form into a University course, with little to no outdoor activity experience. I had a fantastic time and came out with a good degree which for many employers is very important. A downside to this avenue can be students leave with few national governing body qualification which employers really need. I was lucky to have graduated before the student fee’s increased. Now undergraduates need to really consider the financial side to a further 3 years of education.
Volunteering is a great way to gain experience. Scout groups, canoe clubs, climbing clubs, local D of E centers or outdoor centers are all places were you could volunteer your services in return for experience. This can be a long process, as many would do this in there free time over weekends or perhaps the opportunity is only open for a short time. Gaining a trainee position within an outdoor centre is great option. Typically you would be on a years contract and live near or onsite. The wages are low, but is compensated with investment in training courses. For many this a great way to gain the necessary qualifications and gain some excellent experience. These jobs however are in very high demand and few and far between.
Fast track - getting the career NOW
A fast track option is to sign up to an intensive instructor training course. Students focus on gaining experience and nationally recognized qualification over a 3-6 month time frame. Its a great option for anyone who wants to work in the outdoors but haven’t the qualifications to do so. They range in price and qualifications achieved but typical are less than the cost of going to university for a year. There is some great government funding option such as a career development loan, which is a low interest bank loan for training courses to help gain employment. It just so happens that Land and Wave deliver one of these fantastic courses. http://www.landandwave.co.uk/instructor_training.html Some great websites for Outdoor jobs http://www.outdoor-learning.org http://www.bluedome.co.uk/ There are loads of great options for motivated, vibrant people looking for a career in the outdoors. Check out the link. http://www.landandwave.co.uk/scholarships.html Will Moy Project Manager at Land and Wave