Working for an Outdoor Company – Who Pays for Training?

Who should pay for your training if you work in the Outdoor Industry? Some instructors choose to invest in themselves, some employers choose to invest in their staff team. In an ideal world who should bear the brunt of training costs?


Working in the Great Outdoors | Paying for Training 

Working for an outdoor company is great; good people, meaningful work and rising wages.

To work in the outdoors it’s normal to be qualified to lead a number of activities and adventures.

An instructor with a few years experience might have qualifications allowing them to lead groups in the mountains, teach people how to canoe or kayak and instruct clients in rock climbing.

Most outdoor qualifications require a training course then a period of consolidation followed by an assessment.

Paddle boarding. UPB Gallery3

How much does training cost (e.g.)

To lead people (commercially) in the mountains in the UK you’ll need at least a Summer Mountain Leader Award; to get that qualification you’ll need to…

Be active in the mountains and have personal experience.

Have at least 20 ‘quality mountain day’s of personal experience logged. This can cost a lot of money, especially if you have to travel to the mountains.

Complete a Summer Mountain Leader Training course. These last 6 days and cost £325 – £620 depending on the provider and whether or not accommodation is provided.

Spend lots more time in the mountains, you’ll need at least 40 quality mountain days before…

Your Mountain Leader Assessment course which will take 5 days and cost between £350 – £650 depending on the provider and whether or not accommodation is provided.

If you live outside of the mountains completing your mountain leader award could cost you thousands of pounds.

Scenery. Rosie Wales

Who pays for training if you work in the Outdoor Industry?

Most people will start working for an outdoor company as a seasonal or trainee member of staff.

While working in these, junior, roles it’s normal for employers to pay for a basic, functional, level of training.

If you want more advanced or specific training then you might have to pay for that training yourself, sometimes that training is subsidised by your employer.

e.g. We recently facilitated Coastal Navigation and Sea Kayak Leader Training for our seasonal staff; the subsidised cost was £75 compared with £300+ through an external provider.

If you stay with a company for longer than 12 months or return for several seasons they will probably choose to invest in you.

We provide free places on Advanced Instructor Training for returning seasonal staff, if they return to us and commit to a full season we’ll pay for brilliant training courses alongside all their transport and accommodation pre season.

e.g. A ‘second year’ seasonal member of staff at Land & Wave can complete – Mountain Leader Training, Canoe Leader Training and a Rock Climbing Instructor Assessment (etc) for free before they start work in March.

Coasteering. At dusk 1

Full time staff…

Lots of people decide to ‘settle down’ and work full time after a year or two of working seasonally.

Once you start full time work for an outdoor company you should expect your employer to pay for at least some training each year.

If you work for a nice/ good/ profitable/ growing company then they might pay for any and all (appropriate) training that you want to do. 

If you work for a  nice/ good/ profitable/ growing outdoor company then they might help pay for transport and accommodation while your on a course.

If your employer wont pay for many/ any courses, training or assessment then it’s probably worth looking for a new employer.

Staff. Owen and Sophie

Working for Land & Wave

We’re very lucky, Land & Wave is robust enough to allow us to invest in our staff.

If you work for us as a ‘first year’ seasonal member of staff we’ll provide some free and some subsidised training courses.

If you return to Land & Wave for several seasons then we’ll pay for lots of training and we’ll pay for transport and accommodation to support you while you train.

If you work for Land & Wave full time then we’ll pay for almost any relevant training that you want to do and we’ll help pay for transport and accommodation.

We benefit massively from motivated staff that stay with us for years, our crew know that we value them, we couldn’t do what we do without them………

28 August 2018 by Owen Senio

Working as an Outdoor Instructor means lots of training courses. Training courses can be expensive – who should pay for them? The instructor of the employer?

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