IOL is working with employers in the sector to develop a clear definition of the sector’s professional workforce.
This work began following a review of IOL Professional Standards in 2016 and has been boosted by managing the creation of a new employer-led Outdoor Apprenticeship. Occupational standards are a core part of training and assessing the competence of outdoor professionals.
The need for Occupational Standards
- Defined standards for occupations in the sector allow us to promote career pathways, give consistency in professional training and help us to recruit and retain talent in the sector.
- Without occupational standards giving a common language, we have no insight or figures on the skills or numbers of people employed in the sector, and can’t track any changes or trends.
- Educators and trainers don’t have a common reference point to align what they offer with the skills and knowledge employers want.
- We don’t attract talent to the sector because we can’t articulate the breadth of opportunities available in it.
- We lose talent because we can’t describe and offer people pathways where they can take control of their career progression.
- We don’t use money wisely - we retrain staff because we don’t have a way to recognise the full breadth of knowledge and skills they have.
- We are unlikely to be a chartered professional body without a set of relevant occupational standards and identified career pathways.
What IOL is doing to support the sector
- IOL aim to reference or publish an Occupational Standard for roles where a significant number of employers recognise a common definition of the skills, knowledge and behaviours required. A DRAFT Occupational Map is below.
- A number of specific roles already have occupational standards that are defined and accepted; e.g. specific adventure sports, management, etc. There is no intention for IOL to do anything more than reference the existing standard.
- IOL will focus attention on holistic roles within the sector. We have started with the role of Outdoor Activity Instructor - based on the apprenticeship standard developed with the support of over 40 employers.
- Occupational Standards will be added to, modified or removed in order to ensure they represent employers needs in a professional and skilled workforce. They are living documents.
- The next standard in development is for an Outdoor Programme Leader (working title) whose job role is to develop individuals and groups over a linked programme of activity sessions whilst exercising leadership and decision-making skills to operate away from immediate help and support. The initial work will be shaped by the Trailblazer Employer Group