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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 NEW Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship focuses on training individuals who are new to the sector to run safe and enjoyable activity sessions with children and adults. The standard is at Level 3, lasts 12-18 months, and attracts up to £6000 of funding towards off-the-job training and end-point assessment per apprentice.

Built over the last 2 years by a wide range of outdoor employers, the result is a fit-for-purpose funded training route for entry level roles across the breadth of outdoor instructional work in England. The group of 49 employers represented a range and variety of businesses and products prevalent in the sector and were led by Employer Chair Mark Lavington (PGL) with guidance and project management from Neal Anderson (IOL).

A number of employers have expressed a desire for further Outdoor Apprenticeships appropriate for more complex roles. The first of these is – at either lever 4 or 5 - is for an Outdoor Programme Leader (working title).

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


Proposed Apprenticeship - Outdoor Learning Specialist

Employers and IOL are now biding to Government to create further Trailblazer Apprenticeships appropriate for more complex roles. A project working group have developed the role profile and duties for the occupation of Outdoor Learning Specialist. It is set at Level 5 and expected to take two years to achieve. To begin this apprenticeship, employees will be expected to be able to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours of an Outdoor Activity Instructor.

The broad purpose of an Outdoor Learning Specialist is to develop and deliver activity and outdoor learning programmes that provide progressive learning and change in the outdoors.

In order to make a submission to develop the standard we need wider input and support. We are seeking to gain this and your input via a survey here – with a deadline of the 6th of February. Please read through the Outdoor Learning Specialist role profile and duties and share your views and suggestions by completing the survey. Without the input and support of the sector the project can’t go ahead and meet the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) deadlines.

To enable the sector to access fit for purpose funded training, please complete the survey by the 6th of February.

We will collate all responses, and if there is enough support from across the outdoor sector the Trailblazer Group will make a formal submission to the IfATE for permission to develop the apprenticeship standard. If that is successful and the Apprenticeship Standard is subsequently approved it could be ready for delivery late 2020/early 2021.

Work to date has been employer funded and led by: Outdoor Apprenticeships Project Manager - Neal Anderson (IOL), Outdoor Apprenticeships Trailblazer Group Chair - Mark Lavington (PGL), Outdoor Apprenticeships Trailblazer Design Group - Marc Oakley (Outward Bound), Janine Maddison (Field Studies Council), Dr Roger Hopper (Heatree Activity Centre).

Employers, education/training organisations and other interested parties are asked to contribute. All contributions are welcome, and all contributors will be named as contributing supporters

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.


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+44 (0)1228 564580



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