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Best Group International sponsors a chance to gain experience working in outdoor education at Ardwhallan

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Young people who are enthusiastic and have a love of outdoor adventures are invited to apply to join the Assistant Instructor Programme run by Ardwhallan Outdoor Education Centre

Part of the Department of Education and Children’s Youth Service, Ardwhallan, in West Baldwin, delivers outdoor education to schools and other groups of young people, including those working towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

With the sponsorship from Island-based company Best Group International, Ardwhallan has been able to re-introduce this highly successful scheme, enabling young instructors to develop leadership skills. 

Over the course of a year, assistant instructors will be taught archery, assault course, climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, yachting, water rescue skills and bushcraft and will receive instruction in outdoor first aid. 

As they gain in experience, they will help established instructors deliver courses and holiday schemes under supervision. 

They will also take part in residential trips away to the UK, experiencing activities that are not available locally. 

Nathan Cafearo, CEO of Best Group International said:

‘Best Group welcomes this opportunity to support those interested in ensuring the Isle of Man provides outdoor education and remains a destination for those interested in outdoor pursuits. Many of our staff are outdoor enthusiasts and we are excited to have the opportunity to give young people from the Island the chance to have similar life changing experiences that will give them confidence and passion in their futures.’ 

Jenny Lantry, Chief Instructor at Ardwhallan, said:

‘This is a wonderful opportunity for young people who enjoy being in and perhaps aspire to a career working in outdoor education to gain both the technical and softer skills they need in a highly supportive environment.’ 

Volunteers, who must be aged 16 to 21, must commit one evening a week plus one morning or afternoon a weekend, although some of the tuition runs over an entire weekend.

Some of the training is ‘in house’ while other segments give participants national governing body awards. 

Aspects of the programme count towards the Skills, Physical and Volunteering section of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. 

For several assistant instructors, the programme has proved a stepping stone to careers in outdoor education. 

Josh Rowlands, an assistant instructor in 2010, is studying for a degree at Cumbria University and will take up a post at Glenmore Lodge, the Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre in the Cairngorms. He said the experience he gained at Ardwhallan gave him the ‘passion and necessary experience’ to succeed in the industry. 

Lucy Connors, who was on the programme in 2011, enjoyed her year so much that she stayed on part-time while studying and is now a full-time instructor at Ardwhallan. 

A selection weekend will be held at Ardwhallan on 24/25 January. It will involve candidates taking part in outdoor activities and undertaking an interview. Places can be booked by emailing ardwhallanbookings@doe.sch.im or ringing 853711. 

For more information about the programme, visit www2.sch.im/groups/adventureed/ 

Ardwhallan Outdoor Education Centre is also on Facebook.

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