A former engineer is one step closer to his dream of leading a group up Mount Everest after taking up an apprenticeship in the Outdoors, supported by SkillsActive.
Ashley Peake, 21, studied engineering after he finished school and then worked at his father’s business. But his real passion was for the Outdoors and, in his spare time, Ashley volunteered as a climbing instructor for Blackpool Council. It was there that he learned about the apprenticeship scheme at Derwent Hill Outdoor Education Centre in Keswick.
Ashley says: “I’ve always been into climbing and hill walking so I thought, why not make a career out of it?”
Frameworks and quality training provide the right mix of practical and technical skills
SkillsActive, the sector skills council for sport and active leisure, has designed the apprenticeship frameworks to help businesses train employees to a high level of competency and performance. Ashley began his one-year apprenticeship with Derwent Hill in August 2010.
SkillsActive put the Derwent Hill Outdoor Education Centre in touch with Kendal College, part of its network of top quality training providers. Kendal College, which was awarded an outstanding grade from OFSTED in 2011, provided Ashley with practical and theory based qualifications, including Level 2 Activity Leadership, L2 Certificate Working in the Outdoors, Level One Certificate in Coaching Paddlesport and Foundation safety and rescue training.
Ashley acknowledges he could have achieved the same qualifications at a Further Education institution, but says that would only have given him “paperwork knowledge” of the industry.
“I wouldn’t have developed the confidence and the communications skills I have from working with groups week in, week out. Apprenticeships are definitely the way to go if you’re a hands-on, practical minded person. They’re great fun, particularly if you work in the Outdoors, and I’d recommend them to anyone.”
Apprenticeships add value to business
Depending on the day, you can now find Ashley, who lives onsite, planning activities and leading groups of young people on high ropes courses, canoe trips, abseiling or mountain walking.
Long term, he hopes to gain the skills to lead groups on mountain climbing trips abroad; Mt Everest is top of his list: “It was a big decision to leave engineering behind because I liked my old job. But my new job – I love it.”
Ashley’s manager, Andy Morris, says Derwent Hill has a long proud history of sourcing quality staff through apprenticeships.
“Ashley and our other apprentice definitely add value to our business. While they’re training, it means an additional competent staff member to help take sessions. When they’re nearing the end of their placement, and are capable of leading sessions, our apprentices save us money by freeing up fulltime staff.
“Ashley picks up physical skills very quickly; he also has the communications skills to be a very good coach. He has a very bright future in the Outdoors.”
To find out more about Apprenticeships in the sport and active leisure sector see Apprenticeships