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Outdoor Education

Tom Burrett

March 9, 2017 • Investing in Young Enterprise • National Apprenticeship Week

Tom Burrett

National Apprenticeship Week is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and Monmouthshire is marking the occasion by talking to members of staff  who started with us as apprentices.

When did you start your apprenticeship with us?
In 2005 I was offered an apprenticeship based at Hilston Park outdoor education centre, where l spent the year working with the staff to gain experience delivering outdoor adventurous activities to visiting schools looking to fulfil adventurous activities within the curriculum.Unfortunately at that time there was no Formal apprenticeship scheme in outdoor education and I left with a wealth of experience as well as National governing body awards in climbing and caving. This gave me the foundations to enter the industry at a level where I could freelance for centres running a few activities until in 2014 I was approached by Gwent outdoor centres to see if I would be interested in participating in a pilot scheme to gain my NVQ l3 Diploma in Outdoor Education as well as QCF l3 in Employment Awareness in Active Leisure and Learning.

Why did you become an apprentice?
I became an apprentice because I always enjoyed playing in the outdoors and happened to chance upon a climbing course to further my own knowledge. Having never heard of the Single Pitch award and not knowing that it was an instructors ticket, I chased up to find out more information where I happened to chance upon Hilston Park. When contacting them, Ian Kennet was very approachable and after a few meetings he offered a placement at the centre.

How did your apprenticeship benefit you?
When offered the chance to take up the NVQ pilot scheme I was at first sceptical and unsure of the benefits. Why should I now go for a formal qualification and almost back track when I have already been working in the industry? Looking closely at the scheme however I soon saw its value, which it met up to upon delivery. Taking part in the new apprenticeship programme made me a more rounded educator and instructor, with a more in depth perception of our industry, whilst continuing to work gaining hands on experience.

Where are you now?
Now I have now made a complete circle. Having started my journey with Hilston Park outdoor centre, I am now working full time with Gwent Outdoor centres as an Outdoor Educator.

Best thing about your job?
There are so many great things about my role within Monmouthshire at Goec. I think the best thing is that I can say with hand on heart, is that I work in a role where I look forward to going into work. Unlike a lot of people these days who go into their jobs just to make a living, I go in and make a difference, with a team of people who are just as passionate in making a difference to young people by making them the best they can be.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
In five years, I hope to be continuing to better myself as well as others within my role at Hilston Park.

What would you say to someone considering an apprenticeship?
To someone thinking of becoming an apprentice, l would say an apprenticeship is a fantastic way to further your education in a relevant environment, getting quality hands on experience which you could not gain in any other educational setting. I believe this puts apprenticeships heads and shoulders above any other qualification.