Training and qualifications are vitally important to the outdoors sector and are closely related to the technical skills of different outdoors activities.
Many qualifications relate to 'technical' skills closely linked to different activities such as climbing, kayaking or sailing, and also include qualifications needed for first aid or to drive mini-buses.
Other qualifications of value relate to softer ‘people’ skills, and to management and leadership within the sector.
Qualifications are tailored to differing levels which in turn suit working with different groups of participants; it is not necessary to hold alpine level mountaineering qualifications to introduce children to the fun of rock climbing on an indoor wall!
Many entry routes to the sector do not require higher education level qualifications, although relevant vocationally focused degrees do have their place within many areas of the sector.
A relatively unique feature of the sector is the general need for its employees to be over 18 years of age. This can cause disappointment for those leaving education early and also causes a number of issues with funding streams that do not favour the adult work-based learning model, commonly used in the sector.
Whatever the qualification, they are vital to the sector to reassure participants of a safe and competent workforce.