Despite the wide range of options for work in Outdoor Learning, there are competences that are common to everyone. These can be divided into three types:
- Technical skills such as safety management, administrations skills and environmental skills.
- Process skills such as instructing and group leadership.
- Meta skills such as sound judgment, creative thinking, ethical behaviour and clear vision.
The technical skills are the easiest to train in and the quickest to acquire whilst the meta skills grow over a lifetime. With this in mind many employers recruit for the meta and process skills knowing that the appropriate technical skills can be easily developed once you start work. They are therefore especially important to describe in your curriculum vitae.
If you are seriously interested in a career in the outdoors there are several branches of the profession from which to choose and many routes you can take to get there. The three main areas are:
Leading people on outdoor activity sessions and trips or instructing people in the skills of their chosen outdoor pursuit. Roles include leading, coaching, technician and recreation manager.
Using outdoor experiences, including both environmental and adventure activities, to provide learning opportunities for people in through and about the outdoors. Roles include teacher, tutor and youth worker.
Using outdoor experiences, probably combined with other training methods, to help people realise their potential as individuals, in teams or for organisations. Roles include development trainer and therapist.
Another option is to specialise in the provision of facilities such as kit stores, climbing walls, day and residential centres and country parks. This field of Facility Management often retains a strong people focus as public relations is very important. Roles include centre manager, technician, and countryside ranger.
A related field is Countryside Recreation. Contact the Countryside Commission for details of career and training opportunities in this field.