A Quick Guide to Outdoor Qualifications

To start working outdoors, you will need to be suitably qualified. There are lots of different qualifications available in order for you to begin, and we have outlined what we feel are the most important in order to fully develop your career.

All of the qualifications below will require you to hold a First Aid certificate as a minimum and you will gain further qualifications with the courses.

Activity: Rock Climbing

Activity:

Rock Climbing

Governing body:

Mountain Training UK (This is the awarding body for UK mountaineering Instructors)

Qualification Name:

Single Pitch Award (This will give you the skills and experience to lead single pitch outdoor climbs, and to manage climbing groups both indoors and outdoors.)

Training:

16 Days of Training on our course
2 Days of formal MT UK Training
6 Months of Consolidation
A 2 Day Assessment.

What We Say:

Gaining your SPA single pitch award is important when looking to develop your career in the outdoor industry, however it is important to remember that after you complete your initial formal training for SPA you need to consolidate that training over a period of time to ensure you have the appropriate experience before you go for assessment. Group experience is key to this development and experience. SPA award was set up originally for experienced climbers to become instructors.

Don't rush it, working with experienced qualified instructors will ensure when you do go for assessment you will achieve a strong pass and be competent which is what all good employers want.

This is an essential qualification for anyone working in the outdoor industry, and an integral part of our Outdoor Instructor Course. Taking place on sea cliffs, moorland crags and quarries, these instructor training sessions deliver not just a broad base of climbing experience, but one of the most exhilarating learning experiences you can imagine.

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Activity: Walking and Navigation

Activity:

Walking and Navigation

Governing body:

Mountain Training UK (This is the awarding body for UK Mountaineering Instructors)

Under the Mountain Training umbrella there are a number of walking awards; you can enter any award scheme up to Mountain leader without having participated in the previous awards, howeverthere are prerequisites for each award that must be achieved before participating in the official training course. All of these awards have four phases - prerequisite experience, MT Training Course, consolidation (both personal skills and group management) and finally MT Assessment. The length of time varies with each qualification, which is why some awards are not attainable during ANY 16 week training Course.

Qualification Name:

Mountain Leader Award (Summer) (ML)

Training:

16 Days of Training on our course
6 Days of formal MT UK Training
Minimum 6 Months of Consolidation
A 5 Day Assessment.

What We Say:

The Mountain Leader award is designed for people who want to lead groups in the mountains, hills and moorlands of the UK and Ireland and is an essential qualification for those that want to work in a centre based in the mountains, perhaps North Wales or Scotland and the Lakes. If your career plan is to work elsewhere perhaps by the coast then the training is very good and very useful to develop standard of Navigational skills, but no better than the slightly lesser Hill And Moorland Leader Award.

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Qualification Name:

Hill and Moorland Leader Award

Training:

16 Days of Training on our course
3 Days of official MT UK Training
Approx 6 Months of Consolidation
A 3 Day Assessment

What We Say:

The Hill and Moorland Leader award is designed for people who want to lead groups in the hill and moorland areas of the UK and Ireland and replaces the old Walking Group Leader Award

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Qualification Name:

Lowland Leader Award

Training:

16 Days of Training on our course
2 Days of formal MT UK Training
Consolidation During the 16 Weeks (plus your own time)
A 2 Day Assessment attainable within the 16 week course

What We Say:

The Lowland Leader award is designed for people who wish to lead groups on day walks in lowland countryside and woodland in summer conditions. The majority of the UK and Ireland is made up of this type of terrain!

This award is attainable within the 16 week training course and also forms a good basis to progress on to other walking awards in the future.

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Activity: Kayaking and Canoeing

Activity:

Kayaking and Canoeing

Governing body:

British Canoeing (BC) (The BC are responsible for all paddle sports in the UK.)

Personal Skills Awards

The BC assess personal competence using a star system
(1* - 5*) 1*and 2* awards are generic 3* - 5* awards are discipline specific e.g. sea kayak, surf kayak, canoe etc.

BC 2 Star Award - personal skills kayak and canoe (Pre requisite for Level 1 Coach)
12 days training on our course
1 day formal BCU assessment

BC Foundation Safety Rescue Test FSRT (Pre requisite for Level 1 Coach
12 days training on our course
1 day formal BCU assessment

BC 3 Star Sea Kayak Award
12 days training on our course
1 day formal BCU assessment

Three star sea kayak, demonstrates a far higher level of paddling capability, by acquiring this qualification you will automatically become a better paddler and more importantly up the standard of your Level one coach award as such be more attractive to employers.

Instructor Qualification Name:

Coach qualifications are graded Level 1 - Level 5. The BC coaching qualifications fall within the development framework of the UKCC:

UKCC BC Level 1 Coach Award
20 days training on our course
4 days formal BCU combined training and assessment

What We Say:

A good foundation in Kayaking and Canoeing is essential for employment in the Outdoor Industry. Most centres will operate with at the very least Sit-on-Top Kayaks. The BC Level 1 qualification is considered a good entry point. However, the standard required to pass is very low (in our opinion) which is why many employers are quite sceptical of both the scheme and the qualification. So we do it differently; the number of days training you will receive will enable you the best chance to acquire not only the basic skills to achieve the Level 1 but also to go on to pass your 3 Star Sea, which is a far higher standard of paddling skill. In the eyes of an employer, this will straight away set you aside from other applicants. Also the training time allocated allows us the opportunity to teach the skills to become a competent coach as well as a paddler! The piece of paper alone will not get you employment.

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Activity: Stand Up Paddleboarding

Activity:

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Governing body:

Currently no single Governing Body, however Manor House work closely with British Stand Up Paddleboard Association (BSUPA) in the provision of SUP qualifications

Personal Skills Awards

BSUPA SUP Instructor Level One
Base level qualification for teaching SUP to groups. We offer the conversion Course as Students have the prerequisites required

Training:

8 days Training on our course
1 day formal BSUPA assessement

What We Say:

SUP is one of the fastest growing sports in the world today and whilst there is no official NGB there are currently three bodies offering qualifications. We have opted for the BSUPA qualification, as we believe it is best suited to our industry. It also recognizes individual instructors who have some of the pre requisites required to become a competent SUP instructor. Many employers are now asking us to provide this qualification as they are looking to develop this sport within their own offerings to customers.

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Activity: Beach Lifeguarding

Activity:

Beach Lifeguarding

Governing body:

SLSGB Surf Life Saving Great Britain Although there are other awarding bodies, SLSGB is considered the best.

Qualification Name:

Beach Lifeguard Award
Surf Lifeguard
Surf Life Saver

The training you receive is identical for all three awards; your pool timed swim will determine which level of award you will ultimately receive after assessment.

These qualifications meet and exceed the standards recommended by the International Life Saving Federation (ILS), the RNLI Beach Lifeguard service, numerous council lifeguard services and event water safety providers. The First Aid Qualifications with these awards include:

Adult Basic Life Support
Aquatic First Aid and Oxygen Therapy

Training:

11 days board skills training on our course
3 days advanced first aid training on our course
4 timed swim assessments to monitor progress
1 day formal SLSGB assessment

What We Say:

The beach lifeguard qualification is a critical qualification for anyone wishing to work in the outdoor industry: Why? Because it offers the best first aid training for our profession as part of the training. You will cover most of the key injuries you are likely to encounter during your career along with critical injuries, like head and spinal, that are not covered in any detail by the usual providers. This is why we include it in our course.

Recent developments by the SLSGB has meant that even if you are not a natural fast swimmer and could not see yourself working on the beaches, you can still gain a good qualification that is suitable for the industry. Essential to any employer offering surfing and valuable to any employer who operates on or around water. (And ask yourself: How many centres don't?)

The Beach lifeguard training will underpin ALL your other NGB's and will be an important differentiator when it comes time to applying for a job.

So why doesn't everyone offer it? Because it is hard and requires effort on your part; anything worth having requires effort!

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Additional Notes

As with all NGB's, look to develop and grow your skills over time; there is a reason why doctors train for many years to develop their skills - they get it wrong then patients can die!

Outdoor Instructors can carry similar responsibilities; don't rush your training, look to achieve awards and skills over a period of time. The best instructors are not always those that have the most pieces of paper and good employers want far more than NGB's. Plan your training and look to gain and consolidate qualifications with irreplaceable experience over a sensible time period.

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