Active’s Outdoor Instructor Training Courses

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 Outdoor Activity Instructor Training 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 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.

  • Course overview
  • Is it for me?
  • Why Active?
  • Equipment
  • Base camp

The Outdoor Instructor Training Course:

Active's 16 week Outdoor Activity 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!

Can I do the Outdoor Instructor Training course?

The Outdoor Activity  Instructor Training 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 us?

Our Outdoor Activity Instructor Training 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 most outdoor people's 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 outdoor activity instructor training course is that we offer all students, that successfully complete the course, 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..

An amazing deal!

Although we provide equipment for the Outdoor Instructor Training 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 recommendations, 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!

Detailed information

While on the course:

The Cairngorms Adventure Centre will be your home. Owned and operated by Active Outdoor Pursuits our centre is a busy Residential Outdoor base open all year. For example, the Centre provides activities to Schools, DofE, Adventure holidays, expeditions and many other Adventure Training Courses. With this in mind, 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. In addition, a washing and drying room is available and a large storage area for all outdoor equipment.

Where are we?

Our base is located in Newtonmore just 12 miles away from Aviemore and is situated within the magnificent Cairngorms National Park in the very heart of Scotland.

While you are here:

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 our Outdoor Instructor Training Course 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.

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 Munros, 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.

Outdoor Training, Qualifications & Careers

Active’s Adventure Outdoor Activity Instructor 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. 

Instructor training course climbing ben
  • British canoeing Paddlesports Level 2 Core training or assessment.
  • BC Sheltered Water Coach Award Kayak
  • BC 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 (Kayak).
  • 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

Qualifications and awards explained

Outdoor Instructor Training Course Application – How do I apply?

Applications are open for the 2020 Outdoor Activity Instructor Training 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 adventurous Outdoor Instructor 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 join us on free activity sessions to get you valuable experience before your course begins.

Outdoor Instructor training
16 Week Outdoor Activity Instructor Training & Accommodation, Course Dates Cost
July 28th – November 15th 2020 £6,695
October 27th 2020 – March 28th 2021 £6,895

Outdoor Instructor Training Course upgrade modules

  • Snowsports performance
  • PSIA Ski Instructor Qualification
  • Climbing Development Spain
  • Private room
Snowsports Performance Development Module £1,095:

This highly recommended module is available to students on the summer & winter Outdoor Instructor Training 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 to develop your skills through ongoing teaching, feedback and guided-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 of 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). Price includes the Snowsports Performance Development Module:

Add an internationally recognised ski instructor qualification to your Outdoor Instructor Training 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 of February break when the Winter Outdoor Instructor Training Course 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 week 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 Module in Colorado
  • Self-catering accommodation in USA & Austria
Not included:
  • Flights and transfers USA: £600 approx. Lift Pass £420 approx.
  • Flights and transfers Austria: £250 approx. Lift Pass £300 approx.
  • Lecht Lift Pass £180 approx.
  • PSIA Membership & Certification £120 approx
Climbing Development Module - Spain (£995)

This module is included in the winter Outdoor Activity Instructor Training 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
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.

Check Our Outdoor Instructor Training Course Video and others below:

  • What is included in the course cost
  • What is not included in the course cost
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Accommodation
  • Expert coaching / instruction 5 days per week
  • On course transport to venues
  • Pro deals on outdoor clothing and equipment
  • A position on our Instructor Development Programme
  • Fees for formal NGB training and assessment courses
  • Use of most 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 and expeditions
  • 3 weeks rock climbing, scrambling & walking in Spain (winter course)
  • Take part on any activity sessions from the moment you book your course
  • Personal membership and certificate fees for National Governing Bodies
  • Flights, transfers & tolls on international trips
  • Insurance (personal & travel)
  • Snowsports lift passes
  • Meals

Most students choose to self-cater throughout the course, often forming groups to share the duties, this allows for a low & cost effective food budget! All the accommodation 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 Outdoor Instructor Training Course with students and instructors trying out local cuisine!

What are my career prospects?

The Outdoor Adventure Industry is firmly established and is a growing industry sector in the UK and throughout the world. After the successful completion of a course, there is a multitude of exciting career options open to you. Including the chance to continue with Active as an Instructor as part of our Instructor Development Programme (more information can be found on our website).

Can I visit the Cairngorms Adventure Centre?

Yes, of course you can. As a matter of fact, we welcome all who are interested in applying for one of our Instructor Training Courses to come and visit us. We will arrange for you to meet the Course Director or Manager and chat to our instructors who have all completed one of our Outdoor Instructor Training Courses. Coupled with a visit, we recommend that you join one of our activities to see how wonderful it is to live the Active lifestyle!

Do I need to have my own equipment?

Of course, you should have some of your own equipment at the start of the course and we can advise you on what is appropriate. While on the course, you will be able to borrow kit from us for the duration of your Instructor Training Course. We do however, advise students to have good quality outdoor gear that is appropriate for professional use. As well as to consider that when you start work you will need to be suitably equipped. In addition, Active have close links with some of the top outdoor equipment brands, with pro equipment deals available to students.

After finishing your course, do you offer a job to your graduates and help them to find one?

We do offer a place on our Instructor Development Programme to the vast majority of people who have completed our Instructor Training Course.  This is a 15-month programme of which the first 3 months is voluntary, followed by a 12-month apprenticeship.  Accommodation is provided.  During this programme, you would be working for Active Outdoor Pursuits as an instructor, gaining experience in all aspects of an outdoor centre.  So as well as working with groups and leading your own sessions, you might be asked to get involved with catering and centre maintenance as well.  You can find out more information about our Instructor Development Programme by clicking on this link.  Not everyone chooses to sign up to this and have other goals once they have completed the Instructor Training Course.  We will support all graduates with help and advice to ensure they achieve their goals.

I'm a girl and most instructors I know are male. Is there space in the outdoor industry for women?

There is absolutely space in the outdoor industry for women, lots of talented female outdoor instructors, guides and coaches have come through our Instructor Training Course / Instructor Development Programme.

Additional Pre-Course Information

Here you will find additional PDF’s or links with important documents on our Outdoor Instructor Training Course. Any questions you have or if you require any further information, then please get in touch and we will happily help.

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 and so 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.

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