Outdoor Pursuits: Real life skills for practical learners

Explore a new direction and discover new levels of confidence with this one-year course. Take a break from traditional education and gain a qualification rooted in the real world and the natural environment.

“You’re going to learn and you’re going to have fun,” says course co-ordinator Tim Corbett. “You’re going to be kayaking, swimming in the sea, mountain biking, hiking, learning bushcraft and going exploring. You won’t be stuck in a classroom for five days of the week. You’re going to be outdoors a lot, you might get a bit wet at times, and the skills you learn will transfer to wherever you go for your career. You’ll be making memories and building your confidence.”

Meet Tim

The Outdoor Pursuits programme is modular which means you can choose the areas you study and the skills that you want to learn. You’ll qualify with a Level 1 Certificate in Skills for Employment, Training and Personal Development and you can also use your year to build up your Maths and English levels too.

Get outdoors and get inspired

“Many of my students don’t necessarily enjoy being in a classroom,” Tim says. “They’re practical people. They like to be outdoors, getting on with things. This course is really a personal journey for our learners, who sometimes aren’t confident in themselves when they join us. This programme is all about new experiences and self development. It’s a real thrill for me to see how far people have travelled during their year with us.

“We’re based in Newport and the Isle of Wight is a brilliant place to explore and experience. It’s massively inspiring. If you’re at the Needles on a blowy day, or navigating around St Catherine’s Point, you’re going to have an amazing day. We go coasteering around Freshwater Bay, swimming through the caves, teaching students to jump into the sea and I can see their confidence growing each time. You’re learning in a safe environment and it’s such a great way for young people to discover their own strengths.”

Learn transferable skills for work and fun

As part of the programme you’ll study modules covering Employability Skills, Basic Food Preparation, How the Body Works, Teamwork, Planning & Reviewing and Presentation Skills. You’ll learn how to work as part of team, how to communicate ideas and how to achieve shared goals. It’s a brilliant foundation year before your next job or qualification.

“The skills you learn are hugely transferable,” Tim explains. “You could progress on to becoming a fitness instructor in a gym. You might even want to become an outdoor instructor like me. Or you can use the job seeking experiences that you’ve learned to go and do something else completely.

“The other great thing about this course is you’ll learn really practical skills that you can use when you’re out enjoying yourself with friends. You’ll learn how to spot a rip tide and how to stay safe if you’re out on the water or going on a long hike. It’s great to learn how to look after each other.”

Discover more and grow your confidence 

The experiences learnt in the natural environment can be life changing. You’ll discover places you’ve never been and things about yourself that you didn’t know you could do. In a forest, on a cliff walk or in the sea – on a mountain bike, in a kayak or with a map in your hand – this is a very different and hugely practical way of learning.

“As tutors, we’re practical people too,” Tim says. “I go out kayaking and mountain biking in my own time. We love doing all these things in our own time. That’s how we know we’re doing a good job.”

Still have some questions? Need help applying?

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