APIOL Profiles
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APIOL Profiles

We'd like to introduce you to just some of the people who have achieved Accredited Practitioner of IOL.

  • The profiles are personal rather than professional profiles and an insight into the kind of people who are successfully completing their professional development processes through IOL.
  • Move your cursor over the photos to see what they have to say about how they discovered the pleasure of the outdoors, their view of their future careers and other snippets of personal information.
  • Are you an APIOL Achiever who would like to be included on this page? Contact Fiona for the current questions to answer.


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  • David Sampson
    Gillian Stewart Chris Hughes Bettina Maccariello Steve Mackenzie
    Ross Wallace Paul Etheridge
    Nick Austin Mark Leather Helen Price
    Andy Wright
    Sally Ward
    Mark Corps
    James Lancashire
    Keith Davis
    Ed Sibson
    Pete Stacey
    John Rhyder
    Richard Tarran
    Bug Wrightson BugWrightson
     Chris Murnin        
    ChrisMurnin




David Sampson

Who are you?
David Sampson, Birmingham

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
My parents had a very small basic hut in the Craigieburn Range, NZ. Required a 2 mile walk round the valley from the car park. Experiences started before I could walk. Used in the summer and winter. Walked (tramped), climbed mountains (still have vivid memories climbing Mt. Rolleston in Arthur’s Pass with my dad aged 8/9), skied and camped as a family. What a perfect upbringing for hyperactive kid like me.

Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
There have been so many however a powerful one that brought back very fond memories was running a outdoor programme I developed for youngsters who had cancer. The experiences and fun certainly impacted on their outlook on life, independence and confidence- they realised what they could do. A letter from a mum started with ‘What have you done to my child? She’s thrown away her crutches…..,’ You can probably guess the rest. For some it was literally their last wonderful and memorable experience before they lost the battle with cancer. p>

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
One of my goals was to be in a supportive / advisory role where I could use my many years experience as a practitioner and teacher specialising in outdoor learning to promote, train, enthuse, create and show the value/benefits of outdoor learning. I also realise the importance in staying connected to the outdoor environment practically and maintaining that work with young people so achieving this balance is the key.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
As much as possible. Got to make the personal time though. Adventure is important whatever you do to re energise which is important to be able to give the energy. Seemed to have mellowed recently and feel in need of a good expedition.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
Tricky – Oh for a laugh my merino base layers, had to say that as a kiwi.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
Made me realise the influence my experiences have had on my career, values and practice - a way of pulling all the threads together. It also broadened my outlook and gave a process to look, reflect and respect all aspects of outdoor learning.
If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Enjoy. Get that balance right – make time for yourself and keep that passion alive. Look after yourself and body so you can continue and enjoy as long as possible. Grab and make the most of the opportunities and your time on earth.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Both in the right proportions

Gillian Stewart

Who are you?
Gillian Stewart, Totton, Southampton

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Walking in the mountains around Britain with my parents. I got a Blue Peter badge for climbing the 3 highest peaks in GB (Ben Nevis, Snowden and Scafell Pike) before I was 11. It is still one of my prized possessions. Then going rock climbing with my Dad – Mum sent him off on a climbing course for his 40th birthday and he was hooked – he then taught my Mum, brother and I.

Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
Working with teenagers with challenging behaviour – one girl didn’t want to mess up her hair and wear a helmet. Gave her some choices around if/when she needed to wear one – i.e. if she wanted to take part in activities! After initial resistance she decided to put one on and take part. By the end of the day she had lost her ‘attitude’ and was taking part in the low ropes activity with music blaring out of her mobile phone and the biggest smile on her face – magic!

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
My outdoor career has developed into more of a facilitation role these days as I have set up my own business (Living Life Learning) working with teams to improve their performance. I still use outdoor experiential learning whenever I can as I believe that getting people away from their normal environment has huge benefits for accelerating learning and for embedding new behaviours that can be applied back in the work place.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
I spend a lot of spare time outdoors – walking my border terrier Sam in the New Forest and beyond, sailing and skiing (for a holiday once a year). I am also about to train as a Nordic Walking Instructor so that I can introduce the benefits of the outdoors to a whole new group of people.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
At the moment my Nordic Walking poles and of course... my Swiss army knife – it allows me never to go anywhere without a corkscrew!

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
HUGE! I’ve gone back and looked at my original application whilst answering these and realised just how much I have grown and changed since. It has helped shape the development of my career so that I am now in a place where I influence others to reflect on their practice as well as using my own knowledge to enable people to develop and grow.
If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
“When you come to the edge of all that you know, You must believe in one of two things: There will be earth upon which to stand Or you will be given wings.”
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Pie – so long as it is gluten free... actually a medium rare steak and a glass of red wine would be even better!

Chris Hughes

Who are you?
Chris Hughes, Shrewsbury

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Playing in the woods with friends (making dens & climbing trees) and then through the Scout Association.

Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
Instructing a group in navigation and then seeing their smiling faces as we finished the walk with the setting sun.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
I run my own outdoor company (CHMAS Ltd) and I’d like grow this so that it becomes my fulltime occupation and I can be my own boss. Bliss!

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
Not enough at the moment but if I’m not outdoors I’m dreaming about it or planning the next adventure.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
Apart from my sense of humour, I’d say my Tilley Hat superb no matter what the weather!

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
It’s had a huge impact by making me question why I do what I do, what benefit this gives, how it can be done sustainably and could it be improved.
If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Instruct what you enjoy and enjoy what you do.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Apple pie or perhaps apple & blackberry crumble.

Bettina Maccariello

Who are you?
Bettina Maccariello, South Ockendon

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Going around Monkstone Point in Pembrokeshire at about the age of five in a rubber dingy with my older brother. It was blowing a hooley and the waves were high but we didn’t care – I had no fear in those days!

Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
Seeing our first Thurrock Gold DofE group being successful at their assessment in the Yorkshire Dales. They had a whale of a time!

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
Helping and supporting others with their outdoor careers. It gives me a buzz to see others achieving more than they thought they could.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
Tons! Running every day (entering all sorts of races), canoeing when I can, holidays cycle touring and exploring on my bike. I can’t be inside for too long.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
My running shoes. I would be miserable without them – totally bereft br />
What influence has APIOL had on your career?
A huge one. I applied for it when off work with M.E. I had time to reflect on what my life is all about and really got to understand the APIOL question “why is it we do what we do?”
If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Work through the IOL accreditation framework. It’ll make you a far more reflective person.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Both, depending on what I fancy!

Steve MacKenzie

Who are you?
Steve MacKenzie, Alloa

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
My first memories are of hillwalking on the Yorkshire Moors on holiday. My Dad couldn’t navigate for toffee, but we didn’t care, it was great.

Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
There have been so many. They all have someone who has just had a door opened for them in their life by an experience we’ve shared together.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
It’s always been pretty random; I see it continuing that way. I do get a kick out of helping others develop professionally as well as our personally, so I might head in that direction …..who knows?

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
Never enough!

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
My indispensable roll of Gaffer tape. br />
What influence has APIOL had on your career?
I have been able to work with a wider range of professionals, and it has spurred me on towards LP, which has asked some deep questions of me. The answers may well form a direction for my career in the future.
If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
A group that gets themselves up a hill may have gained more than one that you take up a mountain.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Pie, then cake afterwards.

Ross Wallace

 

Who are you?
Ross Wallace, Ullswater, Lake District

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Early outdoor influences were climbing trees, exploring rock pools and swimming in the surf in Cornwall. First activity was kayaking on the River Fal at 8 years.

Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
Driving or cycling into the beautiful Ullswater valley and then taking people on an adventurous journey on the lakes, crags, ghylls and fells where you can’t help but see the positive influence the outdoors has.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
Continuing to develop my business ‘Reach Beyond Adventure’ with the aim of providing outdoor, experiential learning experiences for adults and utilising bushcraft activities to greater effect.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
Ah well, there was a time….. No really, I do more now than I ever have – mostly with my young family but also with friends and colleagues – it’s in my blood!

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
A dry bag, lots of dry bags in fact!

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
It has brought me together with some fantastic like minded people, developing useful networks & long term business relationships.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Have a rough plan for your career and have confidence in your abilities. Work hard, play hard and enjoy those special moments with people in the outdoors – you can’t put a price on them..
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Fiadone - a delicious Corsican cheesecake made from lemon and goats cheese. So pie, I think.

Paul Etheridge

 

Who are you?
Paul Etheridge (known as Billy), Warwickshire.

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
As a Cub Scout, I was always the mischievous one who got dirty and played tricks on everyone, but in the outdoor environment this was the first time it was accepted and not punished it enthused me to take this ‘real education further’.

Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
As a male employee whilst working for Girl Guiding UK, I was involved in a display stand at the Outdoors Show. We encouraged young girls to take part in wilderness skills and outdoor activities and were able dispel many myths surrounding Girl Guiding.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
Bringing experiential learning to life. As a lecturer I would like to develop a ‘real learning’ syllabus that is used in conjunction with the national curriculum. I know the importance of education in a real context which in my opinions is not necessarily in a class room.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
I try to fill everyday with some element, having a lively dog to walk helps this. But it is also important to me not to become blinkered or submerged in the outdoors. As a lecturer you need to be rounded and understand what young people have to compete with, and being in the outdoors everyday does not necessary allow this.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
Me! I was a real gear freak, having the latest in everything, but after a serious accident I realised the only thing you need is ‘knowledge'. It is so precious and can not be broken or lost. I try to learn something everyday either from those more experienced than me or from my learners who continue to enrich my life.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
Gaining my APIOL has given me a great deal of confidence in my abiliyt, Before meeting my mentor I was not sure that I was really experienced enough to share my knowledge, but he was really supportive and found my experiences and stories really interesting, which gave me confidence to develop.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Keep learning – You will NEVER know enough.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Cake – Carrot cake or Victoria sponge from the café in Ingleton.

Nick Austin

 

Who are you?
Nick Austin, Penrith

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Caving with my school Speleological Society and walking on family holidays. I remember shaking all over with fear as I followed my brothers over Crib Goch – I was hooked. Our school caving club was remarkable for allowing no involvement from teachers.

Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
I led a school group up to bivvy in Priests Hole Crag below Dove Crag on a beautiful June day. On the way up we rested by the mountain stream. In the evening I remember sitting on the ledge outside the cave chatting and singing songs together until the sun went down.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
I am very happy with what I am doing right now.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
I have a young family and I love spending time with them. Sometimes this is in the outdoors canoeing, camping, cycling and a bit of walking and climbing and sailing but there are limits to what they with tolerate. I enjoy my own adventures as well but they happen less often.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
My Discovery 174 canoe which will fit the whole family and camping gear. I also still love my prospector but it’s abit warn out and doesn’t get used so much.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
I enjoyed the process. I really enjoyed big conversations with my mentor. It consolidated some of my thinking and I have valued using the basic structure of reflection when supporting colleagues.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Take it seriously but have fun.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Both please; with plenty of custard on the pie. Then I would like the savoury ‘main course’.

Mark Leather

 

Who are you?
Mark Leather, living and working in Devon - University College Plymouth St. Mark & St John (Marjons)

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
I remember many happy beach holidays at Broadstairs in Kent, where there was always rock pooling, building barricades and swimming. The smell of the sea has always been powerful for me and perhaps the draw for me to live in Devon. I also remember my first camp with the cubs. A tent caught fire and burned to nothing as I arrived on the first evening, I woke and got up as it got light (before 6am) and I was served fried liver for breakfast. It was a long time ago, but even then.... was that perhaps the start of my adult veggie diet?

Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
On the water, or on the hill, with a group of (normally) undergraduate students who are really up for it and who really get the bigger picture of what outdoor learning is all about.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
When I find my outdoor learning career map and compass and plug my destination co-ordinates into my career sat-nav what will it say? I am not sure really, it is still somewhat of an adventure - with an uncertainty of outcome. I enjoy thinking, analysing and understanding what we do in the bigger educational and political context, and would wish to help shape and influence the provision of outdoor learning. But suits, meetings, offices and emails means less time directly with people outdoors, so who knows.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
The great part about living in Devon is the outdoors! I have no spare time of my own since my young family manage to keep me busy when I am not working, so we have as many outdoor adventures that we can fit in - on bikes and boats and in the summer based around the beach - and of course camping trips and skiing holidays.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
My base layer boxers! I would not wish to be outdoors and active (or inactive) without them - the best piece of kit I ever got. 2 pairs is a luxury, 1 on and 1 washed.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
APIOL provided me with a forced period of reflection and goal setting that 4 years later is coming to fruition. Also as an assessor and mentor I have enjoyed some extended and deep conversations about outdoor learning and have a fantastic professional network of 'friends'.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Always THINK about what you do, why you do it and how could you do it better next time .... the thinking is as important as the doing for outdoor learning.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
From my increasing size some may say it is both cake and pie, but always for me it has to be PIE! And yes, I did eat all of them! But only the veggie ones of course!

Helen Price

 

Who are you?
Helen Price, Cheadle, Stockport, Cheshire

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
With a venture scout boyfriend climbing- I was so frightened my feet would move that I couldn't look up. In the TA aged 26 abseiling - my friends said they had never seen anyone look so frightened!

Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
As I plan my own programme for different groups every day, any day I'm out is great. But getting them to SMILE at a new experience is the best day.

 

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
Running a centre.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
In the summer I do loads of weekends with Girlguiding UK as a Brownie leader, helping Guides and Rangers, and assessing walking leaders! (Bus mans hoilday)Guiding is such a different clientel from work that it makes outdoor education all the better.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
A nappie pin. It's the piece of emergency kit I've definitely used the most. Fixes rucksacks, boots, clothing etc.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
It has made me realise that I am doing a good job well. It made me think how I do/did things, and I'm now more aware of reading situations before they happen. I'm more prepared to be confident in saying yes or no and sticking to my guns.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Enjoy every minute.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Cake

Andy Wright

 

Who are you?
Andy Wright, Newton Abbot Devon

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
I started my outdoor activities sea fishing (which involved driving powerboats!) and then moved onto inland kayaking after watching paddles up! I have then continued with my kayaking but I have also added to my qualifications.


Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
I enjoy nothing more that taking a group of students on a yacht and giving them their first cross channel experience to France or the Channel Islands.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
I am happy teaching in Further Education although I have freelanced and taught in centres. Maybe Higher Education one day.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
Outdoor Education is a lifestyle and not a career. I spend much of my time in the Outdoors. This Summer I am first mate on a 68 foot sailing training yacht sailing across the Atlantic. I will be away volunteering for a month. I do however enjoying attending church, reading (about the outdoors) and acting as a groom for my wife at equestrian one day events.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
My lifejacket.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
APIOL has made me think much deeper about the outdoor experience for all groups of people and has aloud me to enhance the experience for the people I teach. It does not work for everyone, but I try my hardest with each and every person.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Work hard, play hard and enjoy your time being in the outdoors. Teach outdoor education because you love participating and teaching not because you feel you have to, if that is you, take some personal time in the outdoors to rekindle you passion for it.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Pie, It’s a no brainer!

Sally Ward

 

Who are you?
Sally Ward

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Sailing dinghy, age 9 out of Llandudno sailing club, in the winter in a flimsy anorak, capsizing over and over on purpose. Coming off the water shivering and freezing cold, thinking “I can’t wait to come back next week”.


Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
Surfing with a fantastic group, at the end of a fantastic week. A bunch of enthusiastic students who all managed to stand up on their boards and most wanted to come back to the centre on work experience! To top of a great day we saw a bunch of dolphins swim into the bay amazing!

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
Hopefully running my own outdoor business, bed and breakfast followed by skilled, fun and relaxing outdoor days.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
time is spent in the outdoors? Every spare day involves being outside, whether it is biking and camping or walking with children, or surfing, sailing or mountain biking for myself, my family and I thrive on outdoor life.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
Surf board - mountain bike can’t decide couldn’t live without either.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
Well I’m now an internal facilitator, working to help trainees at our centre towards their RPIOL.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Don’t forget your waterproof.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Pie

Mark Corps


 

Who are you?
Mark Corps, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Bought up during holidays on relatives hill farms north of Bala in North Wales - did lots of 'Outdoor pursuits / field sports ' from an early age in a very unstructured way. Many of the outdoor pursuits just grew organically out of what we did. No idea when we could say we formally climbed or hill walked, we just did.


Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
Many - its hard to pick out in over 20 years work. However the moments of satisfaction are when you see that light bulb moment with a student - when it finally clicks, they realise they can do it. They have beleif / confidence in their own ability.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
Am treading water at present as I have moved out of full time OE. Am working in fisheries in ROI. Part of my role is coaching Angling and teaching about Environment. I teach watersports on a weekend basis (to keep my hand in). Not sure if I will go back in to OE - if I did it would the job / challenge that would attract me.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
Spare time - all is spent in the outdoors. Well that is when I can get past my family commitments and cutting the lawn. So I suppose about 10% of what I used to do before I got married.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
If you count Angling as an OP a 9ft 6in hardy Angel mark 2 fly rod rated AFTM 7. Living in Ireland, where it rains every now and again (within an hourly time span), my Trax mountain top or maybe my Bolle shades.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
Understand that Outdoor Ed is a lifestyle choice not a job - it will make life easier.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Don’t forget your waterproof.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Neither. Pasty. its savoury!

James Lancashire


 

Who are you?
James Lancashire (Lanxy), Outward Bound Ullswater, Lake District

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Aged 13 went on a PGL holiday to Hillcrest, Near Ross on Wye and Kayaked down the Wye, built a raft, fell off a quad bike, shot some arrows and made lots of noise.


Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
I enjoy every day I have outside with groups, and specifically get excited anywhere near water. I guess gorge walking is the activity that gives me the biggest buzz, getting people to do 'crazy' things in cold water and enjoy it. I feel the learning is powerful and relevant, challenging them to support each other as they explore their way up a mountain stream. Noise, power of the water, slippy rocks, environment, individuals. temperature, trust, support, effective communication, perception of risk. Gorge walking has it all.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
I am currently battling dayly to avoid riding a desk. Experience and success ultimately puts you in a management position, and with that comes paper work and emails. I am working towards being resepected outside of my Outward Bound career and having a positive influence over people at a regional and national level. In about ten years I would be looking to become a Head of Centre for the Outward Bound Trust.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
All of it! I find it really difficult to sit down and do nothing. I think they call it ADHD, I call it making the most of the time I have. Mountaineering, Mountain Biking, Caving, Canoeing, generally keep me busy, I have recently rediscovered rockclimbing which I fit in when I can, and my vegetable patch also takes up time. My boy Jack is 11 months old and he loves been outside too.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
Thats a difficult one Clothing - Soft shell jacket Gadget - Altimeter watch Tool - Spork Comfort - Thermal mug with screw top lid Extravagant - LED tent lighting system.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
Learn from other peoples mistakes.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Get the right balance in your life and make sure you enjoy what you do and make time for your hobbies.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Cake (Hot chocolate fudge cake with cream and ice cream :)

Keith Davis


 

Who are you?
Keith Davis, Ardroy Outdoor Education Centre, Lochgoilhead.

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Abseiling with a church youth group in Kent.

>

Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
There have been so many over the years, it's very hard to decide on one in particular. But if I had to choose then it would be working with a special needs group that used to come to Ardroy. These clients came with a variety of special needs including autism & down syndrome. It was so satisfying to see them achieve and be excited about what they were doing in a different environment to normal.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
Increasing the range of courses that I can offer and running my own business.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
As much as possible. Having a young family this is not always possible. I enjoy river kayaking, sea kayaking, open canoeing hillwalking(summer and winter) and climbing(summer and winter).

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
Palm Aleutian sea cag. It keeps me dry and warm in all weathers.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
It has increased my ability to reflect on what I do and how I do it and in turn increased my enthusiasm for outdoor learning. I have passed this enthusiasm on to my colleagues and encouraged them to go through the process as well.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Never stop learning.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Pie

Ed Sibson


 

Who are you?
Ed Sibson, Cambridgeshire

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Hill walking with my parents but more influentially camping and sailing with the Sea Scouts.


Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
Delivering team building and orienteering activities on a school site and then leading an after school sailing club.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
I hope to become a Head of Centre and lead the development of outdoor education into the future.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
A great deal of it, I enjoy sailing, winsurfing, canoe journeying, walking and climbing a great deal and try to spend as much of my time doing these activities as possible. I'm also a Scout leader in my spare time.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
Undoubtedly my Buffalo jacket, the warmest piece of kit whatever the weather!

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
APIOL has made me reflect on what I do but more importantly why I do it. It has enabled me to develop my programme delivery and management and raise my standards whilst providing me with the experience to continue to do this throughout my career.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Get the right balance in your life and make sure you enjoy what you do and make time for your hobbies.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Cake, every time!

Pete Stacey


 

Who are you?
Pete Stacey, Midlands

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Cub Scout camp in Swaledale, running around, getting muddy and eating burnt sausages from the fire.


Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
Every day is different with different enjoyment from watching someone gain new skills and make sense of the activity and the environment they are in. One recent more memorable day was watching a teacher re-evaluate their relationship with their class after a gorge walk and seeing the individuals in a different environment working together in ways she had never experienced in the classroom.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
Staying outdoors! Keeping the paperwork at bay and the adventure going on as long as possible.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
Quite a lot, even if it's only in the garden taming the wilderness there. Otherwise, the new sport (to me) of open canoeing, cycling, hiking, climbing are all valuable releases.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
The latest toy! More seriously, for climbing Prussick loop for canoeing and gorges 5.10 canyoning boots, and for hiking etc a steripen keeps me safe from drinking bad water anywhere in the world.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
It has made me think about what I do and how I have been lucky to be working in the business.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Don't try to do it all alone. Use the group to help you. Look after your body otherwise you'll have wonky knees, a bad back, hearing loss and am...amne..amnes (what's the word? I forget now)And Finally.....
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Rhubarb tart.

John Rhyder


 

Who are you?
John Rhyder, West Sussex.

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Can’t really remember as outdoor life and natural history has always been a big part of my life. I can remember being afraid of next doors dog and then making friends with it. After this I was completely obsessed by wildlife. This lead to frog and newt catching expeditions and eventually a career in outdoor education.


Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
This is a hard one. Everyday outdoors is an adventure, going to new places to see new things or revisiting familiar haunts to see what has changed. Teaching always makes one day completely different to another even if the subjects are the same.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
I would like to continue to develop new courses and programmes to reach a wider audience using a broader skill set. I have also started to write for a magazines and would like to follow this avenue in greater depth. I have my own development to consider and would like to expand my area of knowledge with new skills and find time to revisit some of the things I used to do but struggle to find the time for.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
There isn’t a day goes by that I am not outdoors for at least part of the day, if not teaching I will be out with my dog, wandering around with binoculars or camera or just trying out new things in the garden.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
Without doubt my binoculars I have seen so much great stuff through them.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
Although I have always thought a lot about what I do the APIOL is very valuable in forcing you to reflect on your practices and look ahead to new horizons.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Practice every skill as much as possible don’t try something once and think you have mastered it. If you want to teach something you must be sure you can make it work for your students in all kinds of weathers and with different materials. Don’t for example make one bow or one friction fire and then call yourself a master.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Can I have peanuts instead?

Richard Tarran


 

Who are you?
Richard Tarran, Swaledale.

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
All dangerous – building rafts from railway sleepers to sail in a flooded active quarry, exploring old wells on building sites and making tunnels with straw bails but I survived and understand hazards.


Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
Discovering an old Estate’s Mausoleum in Scotland with a school group which they naturally developed into a full blown discussion about burial much to the teacher’s shock. Real experiential development.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
I want to slow people down and take them away from the fast thrill theme park sensation into a world that is less commercial and more rewarding.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
Loads – I live in it but the computer is a nightmare – I am sure 20 years ago I spent less time at my desk and was still able to do things.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
My Leatherman Wave – it beats a GPS anytime – try cutting a salami or repairing a stove with a GPS unit. It works without batteries too.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
APIOL is invaluable for a freelancer. It has made me appreciate how effective I am and encouraged me to focus more on what techniques are right compared to the processes organizations try to pressure me into.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
When you see someone using a great technique, energiser or icebreaker write it down straightaway. You cannot remember them all.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Cake – especially rich fruit cake on expedition. You get odd stuff in overseas pies!

Bug Wrightson
Bug Wrightson

 

Who are you?
Bug Wrightson

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
Mucking around on farms as a youngster, then getting into climbing and mountain walking as a teenager. I had lots of scrapes in the early days and have learned so much by getting it wrong and surviving.


Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
All of them!

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
Probably moving into management, training, or risk consultancy when I get a bit old for delivery……..so that might be a long time off.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
Nearly all of it. I've got a lively Springer Spaniel who's training as a Search and Rescue dog and he loves mud, water, and bad weather.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
Down gloves. I have problems with circulation in my hands and they were an absolute life saver during my first ascent of Chhubohe in the Nepalese Himalayas. They're also my weapon of choice when skiing or doing most things in winter condition.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
It's made me think about what I've done in the past, how I'm delivering each session, and how I can improve.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
When you see someone using a great technique, energiser or icebreaker write it down straightaway. You cannot remember them all.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Cake. I need all those carbs for long term energy (honest!)

Chris Murnin
Chris Murnin

 

Who are you?
Chris Murnin

What was your first experience of outdoor activities?
A very brief foray with the Beavers and Cubs as a nipper, but most importantly weekend walks in “the hills” around Lothian.


Your most enjoyable day at work providing outdoor learning?
I take real satisfaction passing on skills and knowledge to young people as well as new Instructors, but my highlight would have to be a Sensory Trail session with a class of 6 year olds in my first season. I understood then it’s not always about technical kit, and amazing places but the Instructors personal presence that can make or break the experience.

Where do you see your outdoor career eventually going?
I'm Currently Deputy Manager of a Centre, which has allowed me to understand the admin and business side of Outdoor Centres. I am keen to progress my personal qualifications further, allowing me to deliver higher level skill courses, and maybe once my knees and back give in, settle into a nice Centre Managers post somewhere pretty.

Outdoor learning might be your career, but how much of your spare time is spent in the outdoors?
Having recently become a father my paddling and climbing trips have become much fewer. I am lucky enough spend a day a week looking after the boy and we have started exploring our local countryside together.

What is your most invaluable piece of kit/gear?
My first Christmas present from my partner was a set of HB cams, I managed to push my grade a fair bit using them, and they have held a few sketch falls (But I don’t tell her about them). My go to bit of pro.

What influence has APIOL had on your career?
Having been 10 years into my career before starting the process, it has made my aware of the roots behind my approach to outdoor learning, as well as reflecting on and learning from both successes, and failures.

If you could offer one piece of advice to new outdoor practitioners what would it be?
Diversify early on, experience as many areas of outdoor centre work before deciding on your chosen path.
And Finally.....

Cake or Pie?
Pies every time, usually cold, and almost always squashed.