DS wants a career in outdoor activity. Careers guy told him to work in gym.

(42 Posts)
adogcalledbetty Sat 20-Oct-12 08:07:49

DS is 16 and had a careers interview at school last week - told the careers guy he wanted to work in an outdoor activity centre - water and hills and stuff. According to my DS the careers guy suggested he'd be better to do a Btech in sport at college and become a personal trainer shock DS hates gyms and being inside!

He's doing D of E and GCSE in Sport at school and does lots of out outdoorsy stuff, but how on earth does he get a career doing it? All the college courses seem to be about indoor fitness and he's not academic enough for uni. Any ideas MNs?

Bearandcub Sat 20-Oct-12 08:22:36

Far from my area of expertise but have you tried contacting outdoor activity centres and asking them what qualifications they expect their staff to have?

Sorry if that's a bit basic.

That sounds sensible though Bear. PGL is the big name in children's outdoor activity stuff-may be worth contacting them?

A btec in sport (outdoor adventure) is available, have a google to see what is available. Whereabouts in the country are you?

WofflingOn Sat 20-Oct-12 08:27:53

Does he want to work with people and teach, or is it more the Great Outdoors?
I have several friends who work in ecological/biodiversity and warden capacities who came from an eco-management perspective.
But I completely agree with Bear, if he knows what he wants to do, he's better off contacting people in that field already and asking what they would require.

girlylala0807 Sat 20-Oct-12 08:29:04

I second PGL. I worked there for 3 seasons in my youth. If he can do some work with children (scouts or something) or maybe start to take part in an outdoor activity group it would be a good start for him. Ive a friend who works in recruitment there and she says as long as he sends his own application in and its clear his mummy did not do it for him (as many mummys do it would seem) he should be fine. I dont think they do interviews so worth having a good look over their website and finding out lots of info.

HollyGoSpritely Sat 20-Oct-12 08:30:15

Sparsholt College has outdoor activity courses. Even if you're not in area might give you an idea of similar courses to search for near you.

TimothyTumblespring Sat 20-Oct-12 08:31:51

Many many moons ago my DP used to work in outdoor activities. He started off by using the centre as a customer and then after a few months he got a Saturday job there as the instructors had noticed he was very good at a lot of the sports. It progressed from there and he received a lot of on the job training. This was in about 1996 though blush

When DS2 comes back from the school trips to outdoor activity centres the instructors always get a rave review. They are usually very cool apparently. grin

bex2011 Sat 20-Oct-12 08:42:29

It sounds to me like the careers adviser was best-fitting his interests to a local course. As other posters have said, research if there are any colleges near you which run the btec in sport with outdoor adventure activities. Plumpton College in East Sussex do and the have boarding facilities if that would be an option. If he needs to stay local for now it may be a case of chasing a course that will interest him for two years whilst doing outdoor pursuits as a hobby/gaining instructor badges. There are then he courses in outdoor activities.

I would also second what others have said and look into apprenticeship.opportunities. Have a look.at www.apprenticeship.org.uk or contact big companies directly.

Btw your ds is lucky to get any careers advice at all....we were all made redundant in our area and not a lot has replaced us.

Graciescotland Sat 20-Oct-12 08:51:27

I know someone who's recently completed this [[ http://www.whc.uhi.ac.uk/courses/adventure-studies/outdoor-leadership-advanced-certificate-scqf-6 course]] did work experience with PGL as part of course and now works for them. Maybe it's more what your DS had in mind?

Graciescotland Sat 20-Oct-12 08:51:41

I know someone who's recently completed this [[ www.whc.uhi.ac.uk/courses/adventure-studies/outdoor-leadership-advanced-certificate-scqf-6 course]] did work experience with PGL as part of course and now works for them. Maybe it's more what your DS had in mind?

adogcalledbetty Sat 20-Oct-12 09:00:16

Thanks so much for all this brilliant advice - I'll discuss with DS when he gets back later smile

By the way, we're in the West Midlands

<waves to betty from Worcestershire>

DSs have been here a lot.

germyrabbit Sat 20-Oct-12 09:14:43

what's so shocking about the advisor telling his to get a btec in sports? he has to learn basics somewhere and surely working outside is something that can be learnt after the basics?

how about the territorial arms for experience wink

ISingSoprano Sat 20-Oct-12 09:15:14

Definitely look at Sparsholt College near Winchester. They do several courses related to outdoor recreation.

Schlock Sat 20-Oct-12 09:16:55

Bangor University does an excellent outdoor sports degree. The daughter of a friend of mine is doing it, she spends an awful lot of time on the water and scrambling around mountains.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 20-Oct-12 09:25:07

He could also talk to Outward Bound instructors and to his DoE assessors - or the gold trainer, they have to have a higher qualification than the bronze and silver ones, so are more likely to do it for a job, or at least get paid.

Does he want to work in outdoor education (a branch of teaching), at activity camps (like PGL), as a mountain activity instructor (navigation, hill walking, climbing) or in the outdoors (nature reserves, forestry)?

The first and last require degrees (more hands-on conservation jobs are often advertised as degree or equivalent, so could be HND or whatever they are now, plus strong experience). Mountain activity (see the courses at Plas y Brenin) requires you to be extremely good at the activity you want to teach, based on years of practice.

For any of these, voluntary conservation work and summer jobs at activity centres would help. Conservation work will be voluntary but there are plenty of week long residential 'holidays' (BTCV, National Trust) that would be relevant to his DoE and he could go on to lead these, they rely on volunteers with fairly minimal qualifications (first aid, ability to drive a minibus, common sense and an interest, when I led them as a student), which is good experience. A lot of this stuff relies heavily on being able to work with and lead people.

Chocamochalatte Sat 20-Oct-12 09:39:25
bigbluebus Sat 20-Oct-12 10:21:01

Don't know where about in the W Midlands you are OP, but I know of someone who did a course here

lottiegarbanzo Sat 20-Oct-12 11:04:39

Btw, when I went canoeing on the Wye a few years ago, the instructor made the point (recalling someone commenting on poor spelling or grammar in a sign at their HQ) that a lot of outdoor activity instructors are dyslexic or non-academic. So, there must be suitable ways in to that sort of thing. I would think that being a very competent to excellent canoeist / sailor / climber / navigator is the essential prerequisite.

eatyourveg Sat 20-Oct-12 11:09:58

There are different strands for the BTEC sport but one strand is specifically for outdoor adventure see here You can do it at several places around the country. Check your local colleges or 6th forms of schools with sports specialsms
Careers advisors have to know a little about a lot of things rather than a lot about a few things. Most people following the btec will be doing one of the indoor strands as these are what is most widely available so my guess that is what the careers knew about.

www.derby.ac.uk/outdoor they do a lot on the outdoor stuff and you can even find foundation degrees if he doesn't feel he is up to a full degree (I'm a lecturer in the leisure field).

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now