What's What - The BlueDome guide to outdoor qualifications

Do we need all these Degrees in Outdoor Education ?

Please, oh please can someone tell me why more and more of these courses are springing up? Is it just to keep in line with the governments policy on keeping young people in Education.?

We now have degrees in:

  • Outdoor Studies
  • Outdoor Education
  • Adventurous Activity Management
  • Outdoor and Environmental education
  • Adventure Recreation
  • Outdoor Leisure Management

They are springing up all over the country, from Foundation Degrees to Honours Degrees. Why, o why? !

Is this what our Industry is really looking for, tell me the last time you saw an advert for an Instructor looking for someone with a degree in Outdoor Education. As an employer I know that it is the National Governing Body Awards that are the priority with a degree being a “nice to have” award.

And where do all these students go after they have completed the degree courses ? Certainly with talking with other employers over the past few years we are getting a decline in Instructor applications.

These degree courses are a big con. Students are being told that these will get them into Management positions. What rubbish !

Anyone in the Industry fully realizes that these Senior Positions are filled by people coming through the ranks who have the NGB Awards relevant. What use is someone with a degree in Outdoor Education but without say a climbing qualification.

Young people are being sold the degree courses and they attract them using outdoor activities. Then once students enrol they have what; 12 hours of lessons a week; and have to get out in their spare time to get the outdoor qualifications.

In the recent week there has been much annoyance from within the Education Department of the value of the “A” level system. Perhaps these concerns should also encompass certain Degree courses.

Who writes the syllabuses to these Degree Courses ?

Is the Industry conferred with as to what elements should be included?

Where do these students go after completing these courses?

As quoted in their marketing spiel -

“Employment opportunities in the outdoor industry range from Activity Instructors to managing adventure centres both in the UK and abroad” Duchy College, Cornwall

“The course aims to develop critical reflective practitioners with a wide-ranging choice of careers in local government, the outdoors, sport and leisure industries. This may range from outdoor recreation and centre management or outdoor leadership, youth work, or developmental training” Buckinghampshire University

“A joint honours degree in outdoor recreation will equip students with management and practical skills to enhance their career prospects.” Derby University

I regularly get complaints from students who have completed a degree course but lack the practical skills and qualifications to get into the Industry. Additionally they are wrongly advised about employment and have the misunderstanding that their degree will get them straight into Senior Positions or Management.Do we need these Degree Courses in Outdoor Education?

Well what do you think?
Tom Gee
For your views and thoughts do e-mail me on TGEE8@hotmail.com or subscribe to the BlueDome forum and let others join the debate.

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