I was wondering what the hive mind thought of this. I'm signed up for my ML training in March, which as you know isn't cheap, and tonight I received the following email:
We are contacting you with some important news about our Expedition Skills Module because you have registered on the scheme.
We have been reviewing our walking qualifications for the past three years and have made the decision to replace the Expedition Skills Module with a new qualification: Camping Leader.
The new Camping Leader qualification will be launched on Monday 28th February. The current Expedition Skills Module will still be delivered until the end of May 2022, after which point only Camping Leader courses will be available.
The main difference between the two qualifications is ease of access to the qualification; the Expedition Skills Module required candidates to have a Mountain Training walking leadership qualification whereas Camping Leader allows direct entry. This means that more volunteers, teachers and support staff will be able to get involved with supervising camping without the need for a walking leadership qualification.
With regards to the syllabus, the Camping Leader includes more about developing a candidate’s teaching and leadership competency and does not include remote supervision.
We are also utilising an online learning platform to deliver the training element for the first time in Mountain Training’s history. This will enable those with lots of experience to refresh their knowledge and those new to supervising camping to take their time understanding and developing the required skills. It also means the practical assessment can be covered in one day, rather than the two days currently required for the combined training and assessment course for the Expedition Skills Module.
What does that mean for you?
If you have registered for the Expedition Skills Module and not yet attended and passed a combined training and assessment course, you may continue to complete the scheme until 31st May. Your Exped Skills registration will enable you to access the Camping Leader online training course and book a Camping Leader assessment – courses will be available from 1st March. A link to the online training course will be shared with all Expedition Skills Registrants on or shortly after 1st March.
If you hold the Expedition Skills Module, you will retain the ESM gold badge on your candidate profile on CMS for the foreseeable future. We may at some point replace your ESM gold badge with the Camping Leader (CL) badge if we believe that qualification has gained wider recognition in the sector. If this happens, when you hover over the Camping Leader gold badge the box will confirm that you have in fact passed the Expedition Skills Module.
We hope that this information is clear. Should you have any queries about how these changes affect you please contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Am I correct in being frustrated at this? I've already paid for a training ML course (March) so as I understand it because I won't be doing the assessment before May I will now have to also book and complete a Camping Leader Assessment. Is that everyone else's read? I was hoping to work with Ten Tors/ DofE candidates (I've non ticketed volunteer experience and wanted to give back) do I now need a Camping Leader Qualification?
Camping leader? MTA admin. spending endless hours creating a bewildering plethora of qualifications. How about a course to teach putting on crampons or tying bootlaces? Who benefits from all this; trainers!
It says it now requires no prerequisite walking qualifications, but stresses the development of 'teaching and leadership'. What leadership do they mean? The 'leading' in 'Mountain Leader' is surely about leading groups on walks.
Quiet simple the MTA and qualifications are all about revenue generation, it is an ‘Industry’. This is simply the next phase of Business Development to create or tap into a new market.
More candidates to take registration and assessment fees, more work for assessors etc.
You are not the consumer, you are a revenue stream.
They haven’t managed to roll-out personal competency awards for hill goers, but they would love to……. think of the market size, and the ever growing legion of poorly paid young instructors would love them if they could.
> It says it now requires no prerequisite walking qualifications, but stresses the development of 'teaching and leadership'. What leadership do they mean? The 'leading' in 'Mountain Leader' is surely about leading groups on walks.
Yeah that’s why I added “normally”.
I’m not a provider for the Camping Leader, so I’m not fully au fait with the leadership element of it’s syllabus I’m afraid, but having had a quick look through it seems to be about role modelling and quality instructional delivery.
I would have expected this to be a course for scout & guide leaders who need to be 'trained'. I volunteered to support my daughter's brownie camp but as I don't have any qualifications that are suitable, I can't, so they are just taking 5 brownies
In this day and age you need to be able to prove competence and unfortunately a lot of people miss out because of the not unjustified fear of litigation should things go wrong. If these low level awards help to provide more access to the outdoors for young people as organisations are given the confidence to allow leaders to take them out with these qualifications then they have my support.
My ML took 6 years and is complete overkill for leading camping trips in lowland environments, by the logic expressed by some in opposition we should have just stopped at MIC with every instructor operating required to lead on grade IV winter to be in anyway qualified as an outdoor instructor and therefore able to take someone top roping at stanage
The flipside is that camping really doesn't need a qualification (which you could extend to all the MTA qualifications...). It just needs a bit of experience of what the activity involves, and how to prevent and mitigate the associated risks. Again, which really could be extended to all MTA qualifications...
As I said earlier, the problem is comparing experience against qualification.
> As I said earlier, the problem is comparing experience against qualification....
I agree but it is a difficult one. The teacher jailed for the Glenridding death discussed on the other thread had experience of running that trip on several other occasions. It must have made an impression because it had a positive mention (uniquely IME) in two OFSTED reports. Part of the problem was that there was an expectation that the kids would do the plunge pool jump due to previous precident.
Experience and qualifications aren’t mutually exclusive though are they?
The Mountain Training (MT, not MTA which is different…) quals require a substantial amount of experience before you gain the qualification, it isn’t a case of one or the other.
I struggle to see why somebody with enough experience who wants to work professionally in the outdoors wouldn’t do the appropriate qualification. If you already have the experience, then gaining the qualification should be relatively easy.
> I struggle to see why somebody with enough experience who wants to work professionally in the outdoors wouldn’t do the appropriate qualification. If you already have the experience, then gaining the qualification should be relatively easy.
Volunteering is a greater issue. The cost alone can be prohibitive. The faff of logging all the necessary experience can be a challenge aswell, especially if you have the experience but don't necessarily spend a lot of time recording such things.
> I agree but it is a difficult one. The teacher jailed for the Glenridding death discussed on the other thread had experience of running that trip on several other occasions. It must have made an impression because it had a positive mention (uniquely IME) in two OFSTED reports.
Herein lies all the evidence I need of OFSTED not being qualified to make any judgements in terms of safety of outdoor activities run through schools
> I struggle to see why somebody with enough experience who wants to work professionally in the outdoors wouldn’t do the appropriate qualification.
Not everyone working 'professionally' is getting paid.
I think my ten years DofE supervision was done in a completely professional manner. Only I didn't get paid for it. In fact, given that I gave up annual leave to do it, I effectively paid to volunteer.
Plenty of school staff are volunteers. Even those who are teachers. Very few get paid for their volunteering in DofE. Some schools will pay time and expenses for staff to gain qualifications.
Even the DofE charge for their courses. Which, given the volunteers time, seems like a kick in the nuts for those volunteers. I calculated that my time, had I charged it at the going rate, would have run to about £20k over those ten years. If I'd counted the annual leave taken, it would have been a lot more; I get paid a lot more than the going rate for an outdoor instructor.
By ‘work professionally’ I meant getting paid to work in the outdoor industry. I completely agree that it’s different for volunteers and it would be a shame if any need to be qualified reduced the potential for experienced people to volunteer their time.
What a bazar choice for a qualification. Is there a module on pealing spuds, potato peelers are dangerous things in the wrong hands. It's a sad world where honest, hard working, experienced volunteers have to jump through hoops like this qualification and why any professional outdoor instructor would want such a thing on their CV is just as baffling. But it is becoming the way of things. Insurers and professional bodies making money out of fear. Ask yourself, will this course make kids any safer?
>...pending endless hours creating a bewildering plethora of qualifications.
Utter nonsense! If you'd already completed your tickbox supervisor (Summer) award, you'd be aware of award taxonomy. It's a simple pyramid of interlocking qualifications whose depth of syllabus telescopes based on which combinations of modules you've previously completed with a balanced score card approach to benchmarked efficacy. Stop trying to make it sound complicated.
Well, I suppose if they want to turn volunteers away because of their being misinformed, that's just making their own life harder, so their loss. Even if they use paid assessors, they'll be paying more for an ML than a Lowland Leader - the latter is pretty easy to get (and was pretty much created for this sort of purpose).
This is particularly important given that they are "logbook awards" - you pass once, and you're expected to keep your competence up after that. One way is to join MT and do CPD, but you don't have to do that. This differs from some other NGBs, for instance the British Canoeing awards are renewable every 5 (I think) years and can expire.
Even some MLs seem to commonly misunderstand that - it's incredibly common to see in the Scout FB groups "I went in with my ML and they insisted on doing an assessment before giving me a Hillwalking Permit, outrageous"...if the ML is 20 years old and no logbook is in evidence that is absolutely the right approach, they could have gained their ML and not even looked at a mountain since. As a minimum time should be spent with an assessor reviewing and discussing any logbook.
I'd not like to see MT go that way, but if they are misused it could happen, and it'd be a further income stream...