DS wants a career in outdoor activity. Careers guy told him to work in gym.(42 Posts)
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 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?
Careers advisors- I think they re just there for a laugh. DS did his asessment and was told to consider being an undertaker....I think the thought he'd look good in a dark suit and strong enough to carry a coffin!
Some great suggestions on the thread. If your DS has a passion he should follow it.
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Thanks so much for all your messages - you've given DS and I lots of ideas and inspiration
Your son is lucky to have seen a careers advisor, are there even any outdoor actiity FE courses available within your local area? At 16 your son is going to be limited in how far he can realistically travel and i assume living away at 16 is not feasible if he were to go to a rural college that does offer outdoor education. Sounds like the careers advisor was suggesting a sensible next step at 16, to gain some sports quals which your son could build on at age 18 at uni and then do outdoor ed? If in doubt give the advisor a call and have a chat, your sons interpretation of the chat may not be 100% accurate. Careers advisors dont tell students what career to do, its about challenging students, making sure its realistic and looking at progression routes.
of friends' DC are here and absolutely LOVE it
Google 'outdoor education'
Edexcell have a BTEC Level 3 in Outdoor Education which he could do at an FE college.
The local adult education centre by me doess things like first aid and risk assessement short course, these are free to some groups but would add to his CV.
You can also do outdoor education at Foundation and honours degree level.
Does he feel like learning sign language? The NDCS provide various holidays for deaf children (you don't need to sign, but it helps) I know one or two are drama but I also know a couple of people who volunteered for the outdoor camps with rock climbing, canoeing etc etc.
Again good for his CV.
BTW it looks like careers advisors havn't changed much since I was at school
And I wouldn't necessarily say that not been overly academic would be a problem. Even if he's not academic if he does any written stuff he needs to do on stuff he's interested in such as how to improve your canoeing technique then that's very different to a physics project.
Years ago I was at Teesside uni and was friends with lots on the sports science degree. All my mates were into outdoor sports, either climbing or canoeing. At the same time as doing their degree they were doing instructor courses away from uni such as the single pitch instructors course for climbing.
Sounds like he needs a BTEC in Outdoor Ed. the FE. College I work for does one, and I think most colleges with rural links do. A friends' daughter is in her second year at Hartpury and already has a job lined up for when she finishes.
Does he have a particular sport that he already does, or is interested in? For the watersports industry, a common route is to get an instructor qualification for sailing or windsurfing or kayaking, and a bit of work experience, and then apply for jobs. You don't need a degree. It's quite expensive to get the qualifications, and the pay isn't great. Great fun though!
Plas Menai instructor training is very good, and could probably advise you further if you give them a ring.
I second (third/fourth....) PGL suggestion - a relative started working there and amassed a fair number of outdoorsy qualifications. (over a number of seasons, admittedly)
I like this thread. It's a breath of fresh air to me. I have two DSs who would love to do things like this as a career. DS1 will be doing options this year.
Sometimes on MN I feel that it's all about being ultra academic and becoming a lawyer/doctor etc.
He's too young now, but once he's 18 he should definitely look into Camp Leaders / Camp America. The pay's terrible, but the experience is amazing.
a friend of mine got a (live in) job at PGL after sixth form as an activity instructor with no relevant qualifications. I think she worked her way up to a manager/senior instructor or something after a few years? i would ditto the others and try contacting them directly. or maybe try the PGL website?
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).
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.
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.
Don't know where about in the W Midlands you are OP, but I know of someone who did a course here
How about something like this: www.iwcollege.ac.uk/courses/activities-leadership/
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.
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.
Definitely look at Sparsholt College near Winchester. They do several courses related to outdoor recreation.
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