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"I'm so grateful for the experience and would do it again in a heartbeat"

Life after the course

Mendip's inaugural Accelerated Outdoor Instructor Training Course took place from November 2021 to March 2022. It attracted a wide range of participants from individuals who had just left school to those in their twenties, thirties and fifties looking for a career change.


We caught up with some of that course's participants to find out where they are now...


Callum

Instructor training on sea kayaks, paddle boards in the wind on the Exe Estuary

Upon completion of the course, Callum completed his Rock Climbing Instructor (RCI) and gained his D1+E minibus license. He then travelled to Norway to work as a sea kayaking and hiking guide in the Western Fjords of Norway, taking customers on multi-day expeditions. Callum told us he leads groups of, "up to 12 snowshoeing, glacier hiking, mountain climbing and driving them to various places in the region. Whilst out there, I also got stuck into my paragliding hobby, skydiving, white water kayaking, climbing and various other fun stuff on my time off. I enjoyed it so much that I'm going to return this upcoming season."


Reflecting on the instructor training course, Callum said, "I would like to thank Mendip for the skills I learnt, helping me change the direction of my office-based lifestyle to my dream of working in the outdoors. I have many more plans to continue learning and growing my skills.


"The course was quintessential in facilitating this lifestyle, and I wouldn't be doing this without participating in the awesome residential three months at Mendip. I miss that valuable time, the people I met on the course, the many activities we got stuck into daily, and of course the staff who helped me during that time."


Charlotte

air rifle instructor training to become a target sport instructor

After graduating from the course, Charlotte worked at Mendip Activity Centre as a multi-activity centre outdoor instructor before moving to New Zealand. Amongst travelling around New Zealand, she enjoyed taking groups sea kayaking in Wellington.


Charlotte told us, "Being part of Mendip's intensive training course has quite literally changed my life. I used to work in TV and decided to be part of the course for a complete career change."


She went on to say "It was a really fun, challenging, social four months where I met some of the best people. Caving was a huge highlight for me and an activity I grew to love over my time there. I would highly recommend the course to anyone unsure, or wanting to get into the outdoors"


Ollie

caving in the mendip hills in swildons cavern

Ollie also worked at Mendip Activity Centre on completion of the course before heading off travelling. Having struggled with motivation to learn at school, the course allowed Ollie to find a passion and he gained bundles of confidence.


Ollie said, "The whole four months flew by but I can confidently say I enjoyed every moment. All of the people who I was on the course with were great and the instructors who taught us all the knowledge and skills to become an outdoor instructor and gain new qualifications were fantastic."


"Each day was a challenge- some harder than others- but whereas at school I was not always interested in what I was learning and gave up when it got hard, on the course I loved to learn about everything the instructors were teaching us. When it got challenging I reminded myself that it won’t be easy but it will be worth it, and it was. I’m so grateful for the whole experience and would do it all over again in a heartbeat."



Adam

indoor climbing training to teach top rope climbing and bouldering indoors

Adam has stayed working in the south-west as an outdoor instructor, basing himself at Cheddar Gorge and working as a climbing and caving instructor.


"I had a blast on the course and it has set a new path in life for me," Adam said. "The course was an incredible few months with a great bunch of people I'm still in contact with and was full of fantastic days doing great activities and learning a lot."


Jake

learning to brecome a ski instructor on the floodlight slope at mendip

Since leaving the course, Jake has hit the ground running. He told us that he has had "Outdoor Adventure contracts in the Lake District and the Brecon Beacons, passed my Rock Climbing Instructor and various other assessments, participated in winter mountaineering in Scotland and even entered the IRATA circuit as a form of winter work."


Jake told us that the course at Mendip marked a cornerstone in my life and said, "During those four months down in the hills of Somerset Mendip was my home, one I still hold tight to my heart, and all the other trainees were my family. Laughter, games, log fires, playing music, good food...we had it all, and so much more.


"Together with a group of like-minded and remarkable friends, we explored all that working in outdoor adventure had to offer us. Be it under the Mendip Hills, the crags of Dartmoor and the Peak District or the mountains of Cumbria and France, we did more than we thought imaginable.


"Being taught the arts of white water paddling, climbing and caving offered me much more than I thought was ever possible. Our instructors were a godsend and I still employ their tips and tricks in my work today... and when I do I always smile, remembering how and where I came to know them."



Learn more about the course here: www.outdoorinstructortraining.co.uk



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