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Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship

Further your career outdoors

Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship


The main responsibility of an Outdoor Activity Instructor is to run safe and enjoyable activity sessions. They prepare for, deliver and close outdoor activity sessions that meet the intended outcomes for participants.


An apprenticeship designed by the sector, for the sector

The 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. IOL Project Management assisted employers drawn from across the breadth of the Outdoor Sector to collaborate and produce a ground-breaking new Trailblazer Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship Standard.

The Apprenticeship is aligned to the IOL Occupational Standard for an Outdoor Activity Instructor. The Occupational Standard outlines the role and scope of an Outdoor Activity Instructor and the essential knowledge, skills and behaviours that are needed to meet the minimum requirements of the sector. The occupational standard also provides guidance for the development of education and training to meet the standard.


Typical work environments:

  • Outdoor activity or education centres
  • Outdoor adventure and activity businesses
  • Expedition and sports tourism providers
  • Schools and early years education organisations
  • National parks, nature reserves and country parks
  • Youth work and youth development organisations

Typical job titles:

  • Outdoor Instructor
  • Multi-Activity Leader
  • Environmental Education Tutor
  • Activity Instructor
  • Ranger
  • National Park Guide
  • Woodland Leader
  • Coach


Typical activities instructed:

  • Adventure Sports (climbing, canoeing, sailing, mountain biking, archery, etc.)
  • Outdoor Skills & Challenges (expeditions, ropes courses, raft building, etc)
  • Nature Connection (bushcraft, forest schools, rockpooling, conservation, etc.)
  • Outdoor Science (geography, geomorphology, environmental science, etc.)


Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship Standard

Training Providers

End Point Assessment Organisations

External Quality Assurance Body


Apprenticeship Length
12 Months

Entry Requirements
Typically an interest in nature and the environment and/or participation in outdoor activities. Apprenticeships also cover the upskilling of current staff (providing you are offering them new knowledge or skills).

Apprentices can be any age. Many employees find older apprentices bring useful life experience to their teams.


There is no set syllabus or prescribed training course – employers negotiate what training their apprentices require with training providers (and at what price). Relevant qualifications or NGB awards can be included. Apprentices must have achieved English and mathematics at Level 2.

Endpoint Assessment
Session Planning, Observation, Professional Discussion

Maximum Funding

Professional Recognition
On completion, Outdoor Activity Instructors may be eligible to apply to be Associate Professional Members of the Institute for Outdoor Learning to support their career development and progression.







(£) Is the upper limit of the funding band for the Outdoor Activity Apprenticeship


Employers contributed to the design of the Outdoor Apprenticeship Standard


OAI Apprenticeship Reference Group

The Trailblazer Apprenticeship Reference Group comprises employers who are actively providing the OIA apprenticeship (i.e. not Training Providers or End Point Assessment Organisations) and has members from a variety of geography, business sizes and business product focus. They discuss employer requirements to inform work with IfATE and others, and support the 3 year review of the Apprenticeships and ensure they remain fit-for-purpose.

If you are employing OAI Apprentices and interested in being part of the OAI Trailblazer Reference Group please email IOL to register your interest.



Join the Workforce Training Employer Group

Workforce Training Employer Group Members are part of a email list where they can ask questions and get answers from colleagues, the IOL team and the Outdoor Trailblazer Reference Group, about issues such as apprenticeship funding, training options, recruitment, etc. IOL Organisational Members and AHOEC Members are invited to nominate one member of their team to be part of the FREE ONLINE Workforce Training Employer Group for apprenticeships and staff training.

To register as part of the group email IOL using the link provided with the name of your organisation and the name and email address of the person who you are nominating to be a member of the Trainee and Apprentice Development Employer Group.



Developing the Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship

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 full 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).

Development for the Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship involved employers donating time and expertise - Working Group members, 8 days each; Trailblazer Chair, 50 days; IOL support, 20 days plus Project Management (approx £30,000); and Consultancy (£8,500) offset by financial contributions (total £9,500) from AHOEC, Inspiring Learning and PGL. Many employers and training organisations are set to benefit from this input and at an estimate of 600 starts per year, the new outdoor activity instructor apprenticeship is likely to bring in an additional £2.76 million of funding per year into the sector.

The following organisations all played an active part in the project working group:
IOL (Neal Anderson), PGL (Mark Lavington), Pioneer Sailing Trust (David Tournay), Heatree Activity Centre (Roger Hopper), Lindley Educational Trust (Andy Robinson), Field Studies Council (Claire Fowler), Inspiring Learning (Matt Healey/Robert Sidley), Peak District National Park (Sarah Wilkes), Lake District Calvert Trust (Sean Day), JCA Adventure (Steve Parry), Channel Training (Darren Sherwood/Jim Whittaker), Plas y Brennin (Mike Raine), Action 4 Youth (Steve Randles), Haven Banks OEC (John Seers), Kendal College (Re Barnard), Locomotivation (Rhia Jones/Claire Kefford)


 Read about the history of the trailblazer group and the development of the Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship



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