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Outdoor Trailblazer Apprenticeships

Creating new opportunities for the outdoor sector

Outdoor Trailblazer Apprenticeships


The Department of Business Industry and Skills (BIS) granted employers permission to create a new Employer Led Trailblazer Apprenticeship for the outdoor sector. The group of 49 employers representing a range and variety of businesses and products prevalent in the sector were led by Employer Chair Mark Lavington (PGL) supported with guidance and project management from Neal Anderson (IOL).

The brand new Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship is in its last stages of approval from the Department for Education.

Built over the last 2 years by a wide range of outdoor employers with support and guidance from the Institute for Outdoor Learning, the result is a fit-for-purpose funded training route for entry level roles across the breadth of outdoor instructional work in England.

A dedicated group of employers are now turning their attention to other roles in the sector. This IOL page is for the Employer-Led group to share key details and development papers.


Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship

View the Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship Standard and Assessment Plan

Hire an apprentice: Get tailored advice from the National Apprenticeship Service

Guidance: Employer guide to apprenticeships

Become an apprenticeship training provider

Register of end point assessment organisations


Outdoor Programme Leader Apprenticeship (working title)

Employers and IOL are now biding to Government to create further Trailblazer Apprenticeships appropriate for more complex roles. The first of these is for an Outdoor Programme Leader (working title).

An Outdoor Programme Leader plans and leads developmental learning experiences in the outdoors with individuals or groups. They organise and deliver a sequence of outdoor sport, adventure, field study and environmental education activity and learning sessions to meet the requirements of the programme, the needs of participants and the demands of a changeable and uncertain environment.

A small group of employers and IOL are initially supporting the proposal of this NEW apprenticeship. We are at the early stages of a four step process:

  • Proposing a Standard
  • Developing a Standard
  • Developing an Assessment Plan
  • Allocating Funding Bands

More information about the process that will be followed can be found here...


Join The Employer Consultation Group

If you would like to be kept informed of progress in developing this new standard and can offer comment or input as we progress please join the employer consultation group. To ADD, CHANGE OR REMOVE your name from the group please email Louise at IOL


Fund the Development and Promotion of This Apprenticeship

Following discussions with the Institute for Apprenticeships, if the initial proposal is accepted employers will seek funding for the development and promotion of this apprenticeship. Development costs for the Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship were covered by IOL, AHOEC, Inspiring Learning and PGL. Similarly, employers, training organisations and representative bodies in the sector will be invited to contribute to funding the Outdoor Programme Leader Apprenticeship. Funding is used to cover project management and facilitation of meetings, running online surveys and consultations, website pages, sector communications, developing promotional material and discussions with the Institute for Apprenticeships.

Without funding, approval for this apprenticeship is unlikely to be successful. The more funding we have, the better we are able to promote the benefit of apprenticeships and consult widely to ensure the new standard is fit for purpose for employers, training and awarding organisations across the breadth of the sector. Make any contributions of funding direct to the Project Manager.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the relationship between IOL and the Employer Led Apprenticeship?

IOL as the professional body in the sector are working in partnership the employer led initiative. The Employer Group has asked Neal Anderson from IOL to take a project management role in helping that group consult and produce its standards, assessment thinking and governance thoughts for submission to BIS. The Institute will use the apprenticeship standards developed by employers to inform an update and revision of some of our professional standards.

Find out more about the IOL Professional Standards Update

How can I get involved in the Employer Led Apprenticeship Development?

If you are an employer and would like further information or to chat about the opportunity to get involved please contact:

Mark Lavington
Employer Led Trailblazer Chair
PGL. Manager – HR External Partnerships.
Mobile: 07977 987712
Office switchboard: 0333 321 2100 - Email.

How can I get involved in the IOL Professional Standards Development?

You can follow progress on the IOL website or get in touch with Neal directly to discuss your thoughts and comments:

Neal Anderson
IOL Professional Standards Manager
Mobile: 07899 856518 - Email.


Warwick Mill Business Centre, Warwick Bridge, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA4 8RR

+44 (0)1228 564580



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