/ Help to become an instuctor

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
sib_m - on 21 May 2012
I have been looking online for courses at Uni's etc to become a outdoor climbing instuctor but I haven't had much luck.
Does anyone have any good suggestions on how to go about it?
Thanks
Totally-Normal - on 21 May 2012
In reply to sib_m: Not exactly sure what it gets you but I have a friend doing "outdoor education" down in devon/cornwall, i want to say Truro but im not sure. I think its pretty broad in terms of the activities, but sounded pretty cool anyway.
kingieman on 21 May 2012
In reply to sib_m: The UHI (university of the highlands and islands) website might be a good place to start. Type in 'adventure tourism' in the search engine at the top rhs of the page. Good luck.
sib_m - on 21 May 2012
Thanks :) I'll have a look into those
Monk - on 21 May 2012
In reply to sib_m:

If you really want to become an outdoor instructor, then university is not the place to do it. You'd be better off doing it off your own back, and/or working at a centre. Alternatively, a route that a few people I know have taken is to go to uni to do a course in something general (chemistry, engineering, History etc) that gives you a fall-back qualification, and use the long holidays and spare time to climb/walk/paddle and get the qualifications you need to instruct.

Most people I know who have done outdoor ed degrees (or similar) are now geography teachers.
climber david - on 21 May 2012
In reply to sib_m:

I've got a defered conditinal for outdoor pursuits managment at scottish agricultural college. google it
Pummelzacken - on 21 May 2012
In reply to sib_m:Uni programmes in outdoor ed are not usually set up to give you the quals to become an instructor! They are more about critically and theoretically (!) analysing the theory behind outdoor ed etc... and even though they might include some practical weeks in the mountains and on rivers, the idea is usually not to qualify you!

I did outdoor ed at edinburgh uni - an absolutely brilliant course! - and then went off in my own time and after the course to gain personal experience(!)in the mountains to be able and ready to start gainin some basic the NGB awards. I think traineeships with outdoor centres (there are loads out there if you look into it!) are the best way to gain experience working with people in the outdoors and work on your quals at the same time! - good luck! it is a brilliant job! :-)
tspoon1981 on 21 May 2012
sib_m - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Pummelzacken:
Thanks so much, I've only recently started climbing so I do need alot more experiance but I love it and know it's what I want to do.
I'll look into other options aswell then.
Thanks for the help :)
sib_m - on 21 May 2012
In reply to tspoon1981: That look's brilliant. Thanks :)
andyathome - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Monk:
> (In reply to sib_m)
>
> If you really want to become an outdoor instructor, then university is not the place to do it. You'd be better off doing it off your own back, and/or working at a centre. Alternatively, a route that a few people I know have taken is to go to uni to do a course in something general (chemistry, engineering, History etc) that gives you a fall-back qualification, and use the long holidays and spare time to climb/walk/paddle and get the qualifications you need to instruct.
>
> Most people I know who have done outdoor ed degrees (or similar) are now geography teachers.

+1 Unless you are very lucky most HE courses won't put you seriously on the path to gaining NGB qualifications (there are honourable exceptions!).

Bear in mind that there are courses and qualifications that give you an understanding of outdoor education in a broad, theoretical sense and there are also technical qualifications that make you employable!

And the wider the spread (climbing / walking/ caving / paddling/ orienteering etc) you get the more employable you are.
climber david - on 21 May 2012
In reply to sib_m:

as part of the SAC course you do several NGB's including CWA, SPA training, BCU paddlesports level, 1 BCU FSRT and a first aid cert. I will already have at least 2, probably 3 of those but its a good start. Another thing which os sometimes not invloved is experience at a centre (SAC also intergrates this into the course)

not in any way related apart from getting an offer. I just looked into a lot of different courses at different places
Sean Kelly - on 21 May 2012
In reply to sib_m: John Moores University used to run an Outdoor Ed degree course which covers just about everything including National qualifications. You could check them out online.
Hope this helps.
sib_m - on 21 May 2012
In reply to duck tape fixes everything!!: It's all so confusing! I've been staring at the laptop for so long, trying to figure this all out, that I have a headache!
Thanks for all the info though. I'll have a look into it all
sib_m - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Sean Kelly: Thanks, I'll check it out
CMcBain - on 21 May 2012
In reply to Monk:

Think thats a great bit of advice and what im also hoping to do! Going to uni and studying a general degree gives you a fallback if you end up not wanting to be an instructor / become injured.

Also gives you the oppurtunity to join Mountaineering/kiyaking/cycling clubs in the university and gain experience in the committees of these clubs, which is good practice for an instructor. Gives you a wide range of potential partners, and long summer holidays to do the qualifications that are most relevant to becoming an instructor (ML's etc...).

As has been said above, an even more direct route is to get a job at an outdoor centre like Glenmore lodge or Pyb. Glenmore has a special program for nightshift staff looking to become qualified instructors I think.
David Hooper - on 21 May 2012
In reply to sib_m: check out the institute for outdoor learning website. I'm pretty sure the do a booklet on different career pathways in the outdoors.

I did the outdoor ed degree at John moores (i m marsh back then) as a mature student and never looked back.

However I wouldn't necessarily recommend the fe college or uni route.there is such a vast difference in course quality from superb to those I wouldn't touch with a shifty stick.

Go and play, get your own skills and experience up first,navigation,campcraft,climbing,paddling at the least. Job experience,get your ngbs,build networks,get your name known.

If you need any more advice feel free to get in touch.its a wonderful career if you can make it work for you.I've travelled the world,met wonderful people from all walks of life and earned a good living.
David Hooper - on 21 May 2012
In reply to David Hooper: ps I would say that mtbing is the biggest growth area in the outdoors at the moment,so don't neglect that.
sib_m - on 21 May 2012
In reply to CMcBain: Brilliant, thanks. I'll have a look at theose places
sib_m - on 21 May 2012
In reply to David Hooper: Thanks so much for the advice. That's exactly why I want to do this. Have a job I love, travel and meet wonderful people :)
Mark Reeves - on 23 May 2012
In reply to sib_m: Hi Sib

It depends how you want to go about it?

Bangor Uni do a BSc in Sport Science with Outdoor Activities.

UCLAN do degrees in Outdoor and Adventure Coaching.

There are also palces where you can do 'Fast-Track' course to gain NGB Awards. Or alternatively you can start by looking at the Mountain Leader Training website, and see what the pre-requisits are for SPA and ML. These are stepping stones for the MIA which is the UK qualification for teaching all type of rock climbing in multipitch environments.

I offer instructor mentoring on my website, I'd be happy to answer any quyestions you have regarding the whole process.
noddy82 - on 24 May 2012
In reply to sib_m: Hi i have done a college course for 2 years in outdoor ed while doing this it took me 10 months from training to assessment for my SPA. i am now in buxton uni doing outdoor leadership and coaching degree which is amazing. Check it out. My point is that u can learn basic tech skills as well as the theory through doing these courses, but it is then up to you to go out in your spare time to get the experience and improve on your skills to gain NGB awards i hope this helps.
AlH - on 24 May 2012
In reply to sib_m: It's not a case of either or, if you want to do it then you will choose a route that works for you.
I left a previous job and went back to Uni to do a relevant Degree (Outdoor Education in the Community). This gave me some theoretical knowledge but at least as importantly (if not more so) gave me time to build experience, get a feel for what career paths there were and to pick up some (crucial) NGBs. The placements i did were also vital. Meeting people already working in the outdoors let me learn a great deal from them and working hard with them meant i was offered work when I finished my Degree.
Equally I have friends who started with Traineeships and have gone on to being Freelance or Full Instructors.
Your temperament, academic bent or otherwise (a huge number of Outdoor Instructors are dyslexic and avoid academic work) and financial situation will all have an impact on the route you choose. But any can work.

My own perspective (and its only mine):
NGBs are essential to getting employment.
Experience well above the minimum required for NGBs will help you pass them. I notice a big trend of people coming for Assessment with just the bare minimum requirements. They can often produce set piece solutions to situations but the lack of experience shows through as soon as you as a question that needs them to apply basic principles in anything but a basic fashion.
When hiring people I was always cautious of those straight off of 'fast track' schemes. They often had the NGBs but little or no experience having only the minimum requirements.
Work with lots of different people, question what they do to understand the approaches they use and the tools they apply. Then through this understanding develop your own style.
You are only as good as your last piece of work. Everyone knows everyone in the outdoor world. If you adopt a professional approach to your work, work hard and seek out opportunities for experience and to improve word will get around slowly. If you let one person down or do one poor job everyone will get to hear about it. Your reputation will be at least as important as your CV.
Don't expect to get rich.
Do expect to trash your body so start taking care of it now (cross train, don't ignore minor injuries- seek treatment and advice, use trekking poles etc.).
Don't do it if you want to do climbing. Do it if you want to work with people whilst going walking/climbing/mountaineering/paddling/biking etc to help them get what they want out of the experience.
If you are going to specialise you had better be very good at your job (note: this may not be the same as being a good climber).
The day you think you have nothing more to learn stop and think again.
The day you stop looking forward to going to work get another job.

G'luck.

Al

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.