Outdoor Activity Instructor Traineeship

The Outdoor Activity Instructor Traineeship is designed to provide the outdoor adventure tourism and education sector with personnel who have the knowledge, skills and competencies to work in the adventure sports industry. Participants will get the opportunity to develop the practical and technical skills needed to assist in the leading of groups in adventure activities. The course is the ideal starting point for anyone who is interested in developing a career in this type of outdoor sporting work.

Kerry ETB Training Centre is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.

 Course Modules.

  •  Induction – The planned outcomes and conditions attached to attendance on the course; good safety, health and hygiene practices; the basic principles involved in environmental issues; and the meaning of equal opportunities.
  •  Career Planning and Job Seeking skills – To enables student to plan, prepare and achieving realistic employment goals.  They will research the outdoor activity jobs market and develop the tools and job seeking skills needed to gain employment.
  • Child Welfare and Protection in Sport – To provide students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to ensure codes of best practice and policies on ethical behaviour in child welfare and protection are fully understood and adhered to when working with minors.
  • Mountain Skills Training & Assessment * – The Mountain Skills (MS) training course provides a general introduction to hillwalking in Ireland and the basics of mountain navigation. The module offers a solid foundation for gaining personal mountaineering proficiency.  Mountain skills training teaches the necessary skills in mountain safety, navigation techniques, knowledge of hazards, and personal equipment, so that a person finishing the course may be in a position to safely and competently take to the hills. Mountain skills training and assessment also provide foundation training for those who wish to progress to further leadership qualifications, such as the Mountain Leader (ML).
  • Single Pitch Rock Climbing Skills * – The Single Pitch course provides training in the skills required to assist in the leading and supervising of groups during single pitch rock climbing activities. The scope of single pitch training covers personal climbing, safe group management, crag etiquette, environmental responsibilities and more. Students will learn how to become effective assistant supervisors, encouraging others to enjoy climbing safely, whilst also improving their own climbing skills.  A single pitch route is defined as one which is climbed without intermediate stances, is described as single pitch in guidebooks and allows climbers to be lowered to the ground at all times.


* Denotes assessed modules. 

  • Power Boat Operations * – This module is of 2 days duration. Students start off in a small boat (a tiller controlled rib with 15 horsepower) and progress to a larger boat (console controlled rib up to 125 horsepower).  They will develop the knowledge and skills to prepare, launch, handle and anchor the boat, secure buoys, leave and come alongside, perform high speed manoeuvers, respond appropriately to a man overboard, and carry out basic navigation.
  • First Aid / Remote and Emergency Care Level 3 * – The remote emergency care module is specially designed with the great outdoors in mind. It is particularly suited to people who work or play in remote outdoor areas, such as mountain guides, mountain leaders, rock climbing leaders, kayaking instructors and walking groups. The module focuses on all the traditional first aid skills but with the emphasis on the fact that you could be 6 to 8 hours waiting for help to arrive. It covers sustaining live until help arrives, splinting, moving spinal injured patients, basics of mountain rescue and survival, and warm shelter etc.
  • Research Project Outdoors – Students must research a topic related to the outdoor industry and presenting their findings to their peers.
  • Kayaking Level 1 Instructor * – Students will develop the competence and confidence required to run introductory kayaking sessions on flat water with groups of up to 6 people, where the sessions involve a single location, travelling no more than 300m and no more than 50 metres off shore.
  • Kayaking / Sea Kayaking- Level 3 Skills Award * – Students will develop the knowledge and skills to kayak safely and competently on flowing rivers and on smooth seas as a member of a group of peers. They will be able to paddle competently and safely in a variety of situations.
  • Outdoor Activity Instructor Workplace Competence Schedule – Students will gain first-hand experience working as outdoor activity instructors. They will participate effectively in the workplace, practice and develop their personal skills, critically analyse their performance and take responsibility for their own learning.



This course will be delivered through a combination of training methods. These include instructions, presentations, supervised practice, practical work training, work environment practice, discussion groups and role plays. The course offers a rich learning experience by integrating theory and work practice. Participants will spend approximately 4 days per week over a 30 week period on practical outdoor adventure sporting skills in the mountains, on the rivers, up the cliffs and in the Atlantic ocean. A further 8 weeks will be assigned for work practice. Participants are required to actively participate in the learning process and engage in course work outside of normal course hours. They must complete a research assignment during the course and keep up-to-date records of their progress. A number of methods are used to assess the participants’ progress and for certification purposes. These include assignments, practical exams, project work, portfolios, learner records, collections of work, and skills demonstrations. Satisfactory completion of the integrated work practice assessments is an absolute requirement to achieve the QQI Level 5 Certificate in Outdoor Activity Instructor Traineeship (Minor Award).

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age in order to comply with National Governing Body requirements. Mature applicants are encouraged.
  • A Junior Certificate or equivalent with relevant experience. Mature applicants with relevant life experience.
  • It is desirable to show a keen interest through active participation, membership or leadership in sporting and outdoor recreational pursuits, outdoor sports clubs, or other sporting environments.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to relate to people at different levels, demonstrated by work in the community or within the sporting arena.
  • Demonstrate a positive outlook, be adaptable, self motivated and have the ability to work on your own initiative, to take direction and to work with others as part of a team.
  • A high standard of personal presentation and in particular have an interest in working with children, adults or corporate groups.
  • It is desirable to have an understanding of and sensitivity towards the natural environment.
  • Garda Vetting is a requirement for this programme and participation is subject to a satisfactory outcome of the Garda Vetting process.
  • To safeguard their own health and safety and that of any client or learner engaged on the course, participants must be medically and physicall fit to cope with the high physical demands arising from the daily sporting activities that occur on the course.

Participans who successfully complete this course will typically seek entry level positions as assistant instructors in outdoor education centres, adventure tour companies and private enterprises.