Accredited Practitioners of the Institute for Outdoor Learning (APIOL) have a passion for outdoor learning and have experience planning, leading and evaluating programmes for individuals and groups.
The APIOL Award recognises the holistic skills and knowledge of professionals who deliver outdoor learning programmes.


Is APIOL for you?

APIOL is recognition of an instructors, teachers or leaders approach, values, ethics and experience in delivering outdoor learning programmes.It adds value through reflective practice and coaching and is a respected source of continuing professional development (CPD).

  • APIOL shows a commitment to standards and good practice in Outdoor Learning
  • APIOL accredits your values, thinking, understanding and leadership approach
  • APIOL celebrates your experience, skills, knowledge, qualifications and awards
  • APIOL recognises and values your reflective practice and ethics
  • APIOL entitles you to an automatic upgrade to Accredited Member of the Institute for Outdoor Learning
Are you APIOL ready?

APIOL is not for everyone. If you have narrow experience, have only delivered programmes designed by others, or have only operated in familiar locations, you are unlikely to have the necessary experience.

  • You must be a student or associate member of the Institute for Outdoor Learning with at least 3-5 years experience in the role of instructor, teacher, coach, leader, teacher, youth worker, trainer, etc.
  • You can work in any branch or area of outdoor learning
  • You can provide outdoor learning in any outdoor environment
  • You must have a range of experience in outdoor learning programmes
  • You will have worked with clients through the whole programme cycle - needs analysis, programme design, outdoor learning delivery and programme evaluation
Working with an IOL Coach

Being able to talk confidentially with an IOL Coach is often one of the most highly valued parts of the APIOL process.

  • Approved IOL Coaches are experienced practitioners who are willing to give their time to support others in their on-going development
  • Your coach can help you reflect on your practice, values and approach as an instructor, teacher or leader of outdoor learning
  • Working with an IOL Coach provides an exceptional opportunity to look at your career so far and plan your aspirations and next steps
Benefits for Organisations

APIOL accredited staff can give you confidence in their professional approach, values and ethics that shape how they use their technical or subject specific skills.

  • APIOL aligns your staff team with national standards
  • APIOL supports the development and career progression of your staff
  • APIOL is a way to promote the experience and expertise within your organisation

Get in touch if you have a large number of staff you wish to complete APIOL – we can arrange bespoke training and support packages for your team.

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APIOL Application and Induction Dates

APIOL applications can be made throughout the year with an induction (when accepted for APIOL) usually undertaken via Zoom.

Online Assessments

  • 14th May - 16:00 to 18:00

More dates to be announced soon...

To book an APIOL Assessment please email your completed APIOL submission including your witness statements to Dave at the IOL office with your preferred date.


The APIOL Process


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What is involved

To achieve the APIOL Award you will need to demonstrate meeting each of the 47 APIOL criteria. The process involves five parts:

  • Part 1 – Outdoor Learning Experience, Achievements, Qualifications, Awards
  • Part 2 – Professional Practice, Range of Experience, Development Activities
  • Part 3 – Key Experiences and Evidence against the APIOL Criteria
  • Part 4 – Endorsements from Witness and IOL Coach
  • Part 5 – Assessment Interview


How do I?


Be a member of IOL

Complete an APIOL registration form

Find out if I'm ready for APIOL

Have a look at the APIOL Benchmarks

If you feel you're at or above the APIOL benchmarks, complete an APIOL registration form to get started.

Do I need to complete RPIOL first?

No. You can register for APIOL whether you have an RPIOL award or not.

Restart APIOL after a break of more than one year

APIOL is designed to be completed in 4-6 months. Some complete faster, others over a longer period of time - it all depends on your personal circumstances. We encourage you to be proactive and work at a pace that is as long as you need, but no longer.

IF you take longer than 2 years (from your date of registration) to submit your application a re-engagement fee is usually payable.

Be an IOL Coach

Hold an APIOL Award and have experience coaching and mentoring outdoor professionals.

Get two proposers and complete a registration with IOL.

Further information can be found in the Coach Process document.

Be an APIOL Assessor

Hold an APIOL Award and have experience assessing the competence of outdoor professionals

Be familiar with the assessment interview guidelines

Complete a registration with IOL.

Further information can be found in the Assessor Process document.

Highlight your APIOL Award status

Request a copy of the logo and guidelines for use on websites, brochures, etc.

Contact Dave at IOL

Talk to someone about APIOL

Contact the IOL Professional Development Team
IOL Professional Development Team Contact Details

If you would like to register for APIOL please contact the IOL Office, email Dave or call us on +44 (0)1228 564580

Julian Pierce - Professional Development Officer, Area Specialist for RPIOL/APIOL


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