Active’s Outdoor Instructor Training Course

Would you like to have the best job in the World?

If the answer is “Yes” then Active Outdoor Pursuits Outdoor Instructor Training course could be exactly what you are looking for! Our course is designed for enthusiastic outdoor people who want to make their dream of a career as an outdoor instructor a reality.

We are based in the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands. From our doorstep you have access to some of Scotland’s finest Mountains, Lochs & Rivers. This is the perfect place to learn and develop your outdoor skills.
Our course introduces you to the widest possible range of adventure activities. Our team of highly experienced and friendly instructors will train and inspire you on your journey. You will quickly develop skills, knowledge and experience that enable you to gain a wide range of Instructor qualifications.
We are aware of how challenging and time consuming this process can be, the course will knock down barriers and guide you through the various and complex National Governing Body Schemes.For those with different goals, the course will equip you with skills and confidence to travel and venture into wild & remote places throughout the world.

Core Course Outdoor Instructor Training Course

Actives’ 16 week Outdoor Instructor Training Course introduces you to a comprehensive range of adventure activities. Canoeing, Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, White Water Rafting, Hill Walking, Canyoning, SUP and more… During the course we will help to develop your technical and coaching skills to a standard where you’ll gain a wide range of National Governing Body (NGB) Qualifications.

We know how challenging and time-consuming it is for people to gain so much experience. Our courses breakdown the barriers and give you an intensive 16 weeks of training, practice and assessments to make you a skilled and employable outdoor professional with real career development prospects. We are so confident in our course that if you can find another course that delivers the outcomes and assures the same genuine, long-term career development prospects for a lower fee, we will match the price!

Is It for me?

The course is aimed at people who are passionate about outdoor activities and enjoy sharing their experience with others. You must be at least 17 years old to take part however, there is no upper age limit. This may be your first training course since leaving school or college or may be a radical change in your career or lifestyle. Either way, this course will have a significant impact on your life, opening new doors and creating new opportunities to work as a professional outdoor instructor. The most important thing is that you are highly motivated and prepared for the challenges.

Read what past candidates have to say about our courses! 

Why Choose Active Outdoor Pursuits?

Our course is unique in offering the outdoor industry’s most sought after and prestigious NGB qualifications in land, rock and water. We guarantee that no other course in the UK offers such a wide range of activities and internationally recognised qualifications. Gaining these qualifications assure you of year-round employment prospects.

To top it off, our course is based at the Cairngorms Adventure Centre in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. There is no better place to train. It’s the outdoor persons dream location and the outdoor professionals ideal training ground. So many of our students have relocated here over the years because they fall in love with the area and all its potential for adventures and employment. We did and we know you will love it too!

Another huge bonus of Active’s ITC course is that we offer all students, that successfully complete the ITC, a position on our 15-month Instructor Development Programme.  Which means a job here in Scotland with continued training opportunities, industry experience and the chance to gain further senior qualifications that will enhance you career prospects exponentially.

To further enhance your employability all year round, we offer 2 optional Snowsports modules: these include international trips to the American Rockies and Austria..

Training, Qualifications and Careers

Active’s Adventure Training Courses are full time learning & development courses with at least 5 days training provided each week. You will also have opportunities to shadow and assist our instructors on additional activity sessions. During the course you will train in up to 15 activities and gain up to 30 qualifications or training courses. 

Almost every Active trainee has a job secured before the end of their course, either with us or at one of the many Centres and Adventure Companies worldwide. For those who go on to complete our Instructor Development Programme there are senior instructor and management job prospects. Most of our trainees go into well paid senior or management roles with secure careers rather than working for years in low paid seasonal jobs with baseline qualifications and few tangible career prospects.                                                                                                                    

In addition to the practical coaching you receive, you will have your own coaching mentor. You will have opportunities to discuss your progress, identify your strengths and areas which need further development as well as offer you career advice for the outdoor industry.                                                               

outdoor instructor training skiing



  • British canoeing Paddlesports Level 2 Core training or assessment.
  • BC Canoeing Sheltered Water Coach Award Kayak
  • BC Canoeing Sheltered Water Coach Award Canoe
  • FSRT (Foundation safety and rescue training)
  • BC Start, Discover & Explore Award standard in Canoe and Kayak
  • BC Canoe Award standard.
  • BC White Water Award standard.
  • BC Sea Kayak Award standard.
  • Scottish Raft guide level 1-3 depending on outcome on the course.
  • White Water Safety and Rescue training – part of the raft guide course.
  • British canoeing Stand up Paddleboard SUP module.
  • Mega stand up paddleboard training.
  • Canyoning training.
  • Gorge scrambling training.
  • Ducky leader training.


  • Summer Mountain leader training or assessment.
  • Rock climbing Instructor training or assessment.
  • British Cycling Mountain Bike Leader Level 2 training or assessment.
  • Mountain Scrambling
  • Winter skills training & navigation training day
  • PSIA performance awards levels 1-9 depending on outcome
  • UK Snowsports awards for snowboarding levels 1-9 depending on outcome
  • PSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor
  • Intro to Ski touring day


  • Outdoor First aid certification.
  • John Muir training.
  • DofE supervisor training
  • Expeditions on water & land

Read our detailed description of awards and qualifications. 

Course Application – How do I apply?

Applications are open for the 2019 & 2020 courses. We welcome potential candidates to contact us for an informal chat through the course details. We also welcome you to visit us at the Cairngorms Adventure Centre. This will give you the opportunity to meet instructors who have completed previous training courses.

During your visit you are welcome to stay over and accompany our team on activities. This experience will give you a detailed insight to Active and what life as an outdoor instructor is all about. Once you are booked on you can joins us on free activity sessions to get you valuable experience before your course begins.

Outdoor Instructor training
16 week Training & Accommodation , Course Dates Cost
October 29th 2019 – March 29th 2020 £6,695
July 28th – November 15th 2020 £,6695
October 27th 2020 – March 28th 2021 £7,095

Additional Options to further enhance your training with Active

  • Private Room £750
  • 2 Week Snowsports Development Module £1,095
  • 5 week PSIA Ski Instructor Qualification £3,495
  • Climbing Development Module £995
What is included in the course cost? What is not included in the course?
Shared Accommodation Personal membership & certificate fees for National Governing Bodies.
Expert Coaching / instruction 5 days per week Flights, transfers & Tolls on International Trips
On Course Transport to venues Insurance (Personal & Travel)
Pro deals on outdoor clothing and equipment. Snowsports Lift Passes
A position on our Instructor Development Programme Food
Fees for formal NGB training and assessment courses
Use of centre equipment in personal time.
Personal mentoring, offering advice and support in your general development and career prospects.
Opportunities on days off to shadow our instructors on activities & expeditions
Three weeks rock climbing, scrambling & hill walking training & accommodation in Spain.
Take part on activity sessions from the moment you book your course.

Private Rooms £750
Should you prefer a private room. We can offer these at the Centre for the week’s resident at Craigower Lodge. This price does not include private rooms in Spain or Colorado. These may be available on request and a price offered if available.

Where’s Home!

The Cairngorms Adventure Centre in Newtonmore is home during the course. Owned and operated by Active Outdoor Pursuits the centre is a busy Residential Outdoor Centre open all year. The Centre provides activities to Schools & DofE as well as Adventure holidays and expeditions and many other Adventure Training Courses.       We are certain that this stunning location in Scotland makes it the best situated place for any Outdoor Instructor Training Course in the United Kingdom.

Students can have shared or private rooms within the centre as well as a dedicated lounge and kitchen within the staff apartment.  A washing and drying room is available and a large storage area for all outdoor equipment. 

You will get to know our instructional team some of whom live on-site, learning first hand each day from their experiences. Each of Active’s instructors and managers began their career as ITC students. You can talk to them directly for an account of their experience and how it has helped them establish their careers in the outdoor industry.

Newtonmore is 12 miles from Aviemore and within the magnificent Cairngorms National Park. Craigower is a busy residential centre owned and operated by Active Outdoor Pursuits.

Most of your training will take place around this area, but we will make forays to the west coast or to the far north. Within 30 minutes of the Centre, you can access around 50 Munro’s, three of which you can walk to from the doorstep.

We have some of Scotland’s finest rivers for canoeing and white water rafting including the Rivers Spey & Findhorn, we are 35 minutes from Cairngorm mountain Ski area and 45 from Nevis Range.

Getting here
Newtonmore is easily accessed by Air, Train and road links.

  • Air – Daily flights to Inverness from throughout the UK & Ireland.
  • Train – Trains direct to Newtonmore from London, Glasgow, Edinburgh & Inverness.
  • Bus – Direct bus links from across the UK to Newtonmore.
  • Bus – Shuttle from Inverness Airport to Inverness Bus & Train Stations
  • Car Hire from Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh Airports.

Our Environment

Outdoor activities can have a serious impact on the landscape, flora and fauna. An important aspect of this course is to raise people’s awareness of the impact we have and how this can be kept to a minimum as we work and play outdoors. Active promote and operate “Leave no trace” policies in all its activities.

We are acutely aware that many people make a living from the countryside we take a Pro-active approach to ensuring good working relationships with other land users.

We feel privileged to live and work in such an amazing place, we want to share it with you, take you to places of breathtaking beauty and splendour. We will share great adventures, which you will cherish for life. This is your opportunity to train in a world class venue.

Bolt On Modules

Snowsports Performance Development Module:

This is an optional module for students on the summer or winter ITC courses.

In December we spend two weeks developing your ski or snowboard skills. Based at 9,600 feet in Breckenridge, Colorado you’re in one of the most perfect and snow assured ski resorts in the world. The ski area is huge, with 5 peaks and 2,908 skiable acres and 187 runs suitable for all abilities. Your training will take you step by step through the American (PSIA) Performance Awards, helping to establish good technique, basic coaching skills as well as piste and mountain awareness. These awards form part of the pathway to becoming a qualified ski instructor.

Our aim is not only to develop your skills through ongoing teaching and feedback and through self-discovery, half of each day is lesson based, the rest of the time you are free to explore the mountain. This helps promote confidence, awareness and technique, gaining the most of your time on the snow.   While training in Breckenridge we will stay at Grand Timber Lodge. Located at the foot Peak 8 one of the main slopes, the luxury Lodge has the perfect combination of convenience and comfort.

Joining this module gives you an opportunity to join a Ski Touring day when back in Scotland.
The course fee of £1,095 includes Equipment rental, Training and Self-catering accommodation in a slope side luxury resort with swimming pools, hot tubs, sauna, steam room, gym)

Not included; Flights and transfers £650 approx. Lift Pass £430 approx.,

PSIA Ski Training & Ski Instructor Qualification (£3,495):  

Designed for those doing the winter course, who want to add an internationally recognised ski instructor qualification to their ITC course. Over the additional 7 weeks of this module You will work on developing your personal skills, coaching skills as well as shadow our instructors and then work in our ski school to achieve the pre-requisites for the PSIA Level 1 course, an internationally recognised ski instructor qualification.

During the 2 weeks February break with the Winter ITC students are off you will assist our ski school lessons in Scotland, shadowing and gaining coaching hours for your Level 1 assessment in Austria.

At the end of the Winter ITC (early April) you will head to the Austrian Alps for a further 2 weeks of training and completion of the PSIA Level 1 course.

We highly recommend that you also use the 2 weeks Christmas and New year break to do some personal ski practice.

The course fee includes

  • Snowsports equipment rental (if required),
  • Training and assessor fees
  • Snowsports Performance Development Module. 3 weeks in Colorado.
  • Self-catering accommodation in USA & Austria

Not included:

  • Flights and transfers USA: £650 approx. Lift Pass £430 approx.,
  • Flights and transfers Austria: £250 approx. Lift Pass £300 approx.
  • Lecht Lift Pass £180 approx.
  • PSIA Membership & Certification £140 approx
Climbing Development Module- Spain (£995)

This module is included in the winter ITC course and includes 3 weeks climbing training in Spain – where the weather is more favourable for climbing in the winter.

We have also made this as a stand-alone module specifically for summer ITC course members. These students have already achieved their RCI training but want to join us for the 3 weeks in Spain to increase their climbing experience as well as get shadowing and group experience preparing them for RCI assessment.

This module can also provide valuable experience and insight for those aiming towards the MIA Award.

What’s Included:

  • Rock climbing training (RCI Prep) 1 day mountain scrambling and 1 mountain walk.
  • Accommodation
  • On course transport to venues

Not included:

  • Flights, tolls & Transfers £150 approx.
  • Meals

What equipment will I need for the course?

Although we provide equipment for the ITC course, you will have to start building up your personal professional equipment for when you get a job e.g. Buoyancy aid, helmets, harness, walking boots, sleeping bags etc. You can also purchase Skis, Bikes, Canoes, kayaks etc..

As an Active trainee you have access to our amazing Pro deals. These deals can save you hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on clothing and equipment from top brands.

Most students will invest between £500 to £1,000 in essential kit but each person has different requirements.  We will provide you with a list of the personal equipment you require and provide recommendation, prices and options for you to consider.  We advise that you order the kit with us in advance of your start date, so you have all your nice new specialist equipment ready for starting your new adventures!

outdoor instructor training kit

Catering Options.

Most students choose to self-cater throughout the course, often forming groups to share the preparation and cleaning up – which allows for good team budgeting! All the accommodation bases we use have self-catering facilities.

Some people opt to eat out and we have lots of options to fit a variety of budgets in all locations we are based. 

We often make social events of eating out during the course students and instructors trying out local cuisine!

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