Introduction to Outdoor Retail

The purpose of the ‘Introduction to Outdoor Retail’ project is to provide an entry level of training for outdoor retail staff for those working in their first retail role, or those who wish to progress in their retail career. 

There is no such transferrable and nationally recognised training at the moment, so this is an initiative to address this gap.


I had a very interesting discussion with an outdoor career professional and LPIOL who is a case study of how retail, recreational and outdoor learning are all strands in one rope… This LPIOL loved the outdoors as a child, and began his working life in an outdoor shop, made friends with colleagues and customers – he describes the community the shop created… he went on to do NGBs and to work and in outdoor centres. Now 20 years on, he has just returned from a mountain bike trip to the Himalaya which he went on with ex-colleagues from that very same shop. He continues to add to his outdoor clothing and kit, to advise others and purchase kit for a set of outdoor centres.
An outdoor lifetime of retail, recreation and education!

Jo Barnett - CEO of the Institute for Outdoor Learning


Outdoor and Social organised a three-day outdoor learning event, at Newfold Farm, Edale, in the Peak District from March 12th-14th. It was an outdoor trade event providing workshops and practical sessions designed to increase knowledge and confidence in outdoor products and skills through experience, ultimately helping guide the outdoor consumer to be safer in their activities. Delivered under the guidance of brands, experts and professionals it was completely free of charge to all retail staff and aimed to help all retailers and their staff deliver better information to the consumer. Retail staff had the opportunity to test out kit in real conditions, including a camp out at the site, cooking for themselves on a variety of stoves, and navigating their way up onto Mam Tor. During the day brands explained how their equipment worked and the best ways to fit, use and care for it, then retail staff had the opportunity to get hands on experience. These sessions covered ten practical elements which were signed off as participants completed them. These were footwear, clothing layering, pack systems, tents, sleep systems, cooking, hydration, navigation, lighting and product after care.






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Images by Absolute Snow and Adam Renshaw. Photographer retains copyright.


There was also a requirement to complete Opening Up The Outdoors Allyship online course and a new e-learning module for AdventureSmart, developed with Skern Skills & Training. The event was planned with environmental impact in mind and the camp, food and event equipment were all locally sourced. Furthermore, Edale, whilst in the heart of the Peak District hills, has a regular train service and even with over 150 attendees there were only 3 bin bags of waste at the end. Adam Renshaw, the Founder of Outdoor and Social presented on the event at the Outdoor Industries Association annual conference later in March. He said how the development of this model ‘brought the outdoor industry community closer and connected the dots between brands and retailers working towards long term staff retention’. The planning has now started for 2025, and the IOL is supporting further development of accreditation for those entering and/or developing a career in Outdoor Retail.

The best training I’ve ever had!

Lucy - Go outdoors

A wonderful blend of outdoor training and culture for outdoor retail teams

Peter - Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports

Truly this is the best way to
understand outdoor products

James - Millets


IOL Outdoor Workforce Map


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Introduction to Outdoor Retail Certificate 





OIA Annual Conference March 2024 


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