For a long time I have held a passion of working within/around the outdoor industry in some form or another. I spent years applying for jobs, searching and never getting anywhere. Most turned me down without comment choosing not to reply. Every now and again I would see the perfect job, one that suited me to the letter (or so I thought). I would spend hours researching the company, preparing my application…….dreaming of what it would be like to work there and how grateful I would be. The inevitable always seem to happen with the eventual email arriving thanking me for my time but letting me know that my application had been unsuccessful.
I began to grow frustrated, chastising myself for not having the relevant skills or experience and questioning my competence in all things outdoors related. It was hard as I knew I had a good background, with a commercial mind and relevant skill sets…….Why did I always hit a brick wall! Disheartened I would return to work taking any job that was offered. Sales, Finance whatever I needed to do to pay the bills. Within two years I’d be board looking again for something new and never really knowing why. Inevitably again thinking, now is the right time for me, now I have more of a chance, but always the situation not being in my favour and the circle repeating itself.
All I ever wanted was a chance, I knew deep down inside that if someone gave me that opportunity. Looked at me and saw more than a name and a CV. Actually listened to what I was trying to show them. I could make them believe and show them what I had to offer, show then I would be an asset to their organization, bring fresh life and hopefully new ideas and actually work with a company out of choice not working for them just because they where paying the bills. On a side note I am eternally grateful to World Challenge for taking that leap of faith with me, for looking beyond what was written down, and giving me a chance. For the first time in my life I have true job satisfaction!
The number one reason for all of this……..I have no Degree! It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted from life and where my passions lie. I walked through School & Colleague never being really tested or challenged and board at the thought of further education ( I love to learn new things and thrive on this but being heavily dyslexic the traditional school system never worked for me). I do however wish I had persevered as not having a Degree has genuinely closed a lot of doors. I have had to fight for everything, prove every skill where others have just waved a piece of paper and been accepted. Secondly even if like me you are not the most academic person, there are other options. The Mountain Training Scheme is a fantastic opportunity & what ever you do everyone who wants to work in any capacity within the outdoor industry should try to obtain there Summer Mountain Leader Award. I didn’t full appreciate this award when I first signed up for it back in 2002 ( i’ve only just completed my training) I thought it was just an award I needed if I wanted to commercially take groups into the hills. It is more than that, it shows a commitment to our way of life & understanding that there is always more to learn and proof that you are always looking to improve yourself and can build new skills. I read recently that the Winter Mountain Leader Award is equivalent in levels of skill dedication and commitment as a traditional degree!
My advice get you ML as early as possible. I did my training over weekends with a fantastic course provider & at a cost of £236 (drop me a message if you want details). It opens doors, something I was missing before, It begins to give you opportunities you wouldn’t normally have. Look at the British Exploring Society for example (this is a recent post from them; Leader recruitment has begun for Project New Horizons 2014: Iceland. We are looking for 8 Adventure Leaders who must possess a Summer Mountain Leader Award.) What a great experience that would be, add that into work with a normal job and you have the opportunity to develop personally as well as professionally. Building experience is what it is all about but this takes time, help yourself buy helping others & have a long term goal.
Now I have the chance I’ve been waiting for I wont waste it. Exciting times lie ahead, its been a up hill battle the whole way & I’m not there yet up hopefully for the first time I’m actually aiming in the right direction.
I have included below a list of links to various job boards. I wont say its decisive but even if I can help in some way guide people to a starting point (that took me so long to find) and allows them to follow their passion all this will be worth while:
Good luck & believe in yourself!
http://www.outdoor-learning.org/Default.aspx?tabid=79 – Great all round site with a large selection of jobs across the UK
http://www.explorersconnect.com/opportunity/ – Make sure you select UK and then just hit search. I found my job at World Challenge on here…..need I say more.
http://www.bluedome.co.uk/jobs/jobs.html – Another good all-rounder that has access to a lot of providers
http://www.outdoori.com/profile/jobsavailable.htm – A good place for sales/marketing & design type jobs working for some of the big brands we all know
http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/list.php?type=27– A great site with loads of features including a useful job board.
http://www.countrysidejobslink.co.uk/ – Mostly Environmental & Conservation type jobs for National Parks & Trusts, but hey I’d quite like to be a park Ranger in Snowdonia!
http://www.outdoorstaff.co.uk – My least favourite site but one that hosts the largest number of adverts for positions across the UK & Worldwide.
http://www.boardsportsource.com/ – Don’t be fooled by the title, I’ve seen some fantastic jobs on this site for the right people. Always worth the occasional check.
http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Fieldwork+and+Expeditions/Joining+an+expedition/Bulletin+of+expedition+vacancies.htm – Expedition vacancies though the RGS…worth a shot right!
http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/travel-jobs– Another site that is worth checking from time to time. I applied for a job at the BES (British Exploring Society) through an advert I found on here.