Outdoor Instructor | Jason's Journey
Most people spend lots and lots of time at work, I’ve always thought it’s important to enjoy that work.
I was the head of IT for a big company, I certainly didn’t hate my job but I wanted to work outdoors more, I wanted some variety, I wanted to explore and have adventures.
I signed up for Outdoor Instructor Training in 2015.
I sent off an enquiry form, got a call back the next day and went coasteering that afternoon. I was hooked.
My aim at the start of the course was to complete all of the qualifications, I had planned to do freelance outdoor work alongside my IT role and I needed a few year’s experience and some higher level qualifications to achieve that.
I loved Outdoor Instructor Training, it was one of the best Winters of my life. Being active and immersed in incredible landscapes every day for 4 glorious months was superb for mind, body and soul.
I was fortunate enough to get a career break approved so I had a job to go back to at the end of the course; I extended that career break to work as Lead Instructor for Land & Wave immediately after Outdoor Instructor Training.
I was 45 but felt 18 on the inside.
I went back to IT part time after a furiously busy, wonderfully fun, Summer but I’d decided I wanted to work as an Outdoor Instructor full time. I wanted to lead, coach and teach - I wanted to train the next generation of Outdoor Instructors.
Top Tip - One of the most useful qualifications for working in the great outdoors is the D1: minibus driving licence. I booked my 3 theory tests and got the practical test booked for the month after Outdoor Instructor Training finished.
I had done Rock Climbing Instructor (RCI) Training a few years earlier so I got the assessment booked.
I had 2 extra qualifications booked and passed within 3 months of finishing the course.
My next step was a Level 2 Paddlesport Coaching qualification at the end of my first season. I had the winter to coach and develop some new paddlers which enabled me to pass my assessment the following year.
I spent 2 years working part-time in adventure alongside my IT role I continued to earn and develop professionally. That required some discipline and planning (and a very understanding wife) but if you want something you find a way of doing it.
Full Time Outdoor Instructor
3 years after Outdoor Instructor Training I started working for Land & Wave full time - that was September 2018. I now enjoy managing the Operations side of the business during the summer and teaching on the Outdoor Instructor Training course during the winter.
Since starting my journey 5 years ago I have also now completed my Mountain Leader, a teaching qualification, and my Canoe Leader.
I am working towards my Level 4 Bushcraft Assessor Award at the moment.
Bushcraft is becoming more and more popular. If you’re planning a career in the outdoor industry get some bushcraft qualifications and experience.
The best piece of advice I could give anyone thinking of a career change to work in adventure is ‘just do it’ but have a plan.
Once you are working on higher level qualifications don’t try and do too many courses at once - the most important thing is do the activities you enjoy, try to avoid just ticking off qualifications.
Do what you love and love what you do.
Words by Jason Roberts - Operations Manager and Lead Instructor