Apprenticeship training scheme opportunities
An outdoor apprenticeship will give you experience in a variety of activities and technical skills. You can choose which route you want to go down depending on your interests but if you're based in a multi activity centre you'll probably be training in and teaching sailing, windsurfing, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, hill walking, mountain biking etc. There may be opportunities to take NGB qualifications such as RYA Sailing/ Windsurfing, Single Pitch Climbing Award (SPA)/ Climbing Wall Award (CWA), BCU Canoeing/ Kayaking, Mountain Leader Award, MIAS Mountain Biking Leader/ Instructor Award etc. These qualifications are recognised throughout the industry and will allow you to instruct individuals and lead groups in that particular activity. Aim to push yourself and get experience and qualifications in as many disciplines as you can because being a genuine multi-activity instructor will mean you're much more employable.
What are the benefits of an apprenticeship
There are lots of benefits to taking an apprenticeship. At first glance, the main attraction might be the fact that you can earn while you learn because you'll be doing a real job for a real employer. Unlike traditional learning opportunities, you'll get paid from your very first day and that will continue throughout your apprenticeship until you qualify. As well as the financial benefits you'll also gain experience in a working environment, you'll gain nationally recognised qualifications and perhaps most importantly, you get to learn in a way that engages you and gives you hands-on experience of the job.
What is the apprenticeship wage?
The wage for apprentices varies depending on your employer although you'll receive a minimum £2.60 per hour and you can expect to take home an average of £150 per week. Your pay will go up as you gain more experience and qualifications and in the long term, studies have shown that people who started out as an apprentice earn an average of £90,000 more throughout their working life!
Chances are if you're enrolling in an Outdoor Apprenticeship you'll be keen to work as some sort of activity instructor so your job will be something you love. Some positions can be seasonal and only last the summer months but you could be lucky and secure a full time permanent job with a centre that hosts activities all year round. From there you can expect to gain further qualifications and build on your experience, both in terms of the hands on side of the job and the administrative/ business aspect of the industry. Progression to Senior Instructor, Chief Instructor or Centre Manager is a strong possibility if you show the right qualities and aptitude throughout your training period and early years in the job.
Where can I do an apprenticeship?
Many of the large outdoor activity centres offer work training schemes that take on hundreds of applicants each year, however you aren't only limited to the large multi centre groups. There are plenty of smaller, independent activity centres offering some sort of apprenticeship however you'll find there are only one or two positions per centre so competition for places is much higher. You'll have to be prepared to potentially move away from home because you could be based at a centre anywhere in the country, although most outdoor schemes provide accommodation, food, travel etc. If you want to find out more about an apprenticeship in outdoor education, we find that this one from Robinwood offers the best prospect.