What's it like as an Apprentice Outdoor Activity Leader?

By Gaz Worrall, Peak Pursuits Apprentice Outdoor Leader. Peak Pursuits Apprentice Outdoor Activity Leaders Gaz Worrall and Hannah Hopewell were invited by Newcastle-under-Lyme College to present their apprenticeship to groups of public service students as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

Peak Pursuits Apprentices presentation at NULC

We gave three 30 minute presentations in one of the college class rooms. Following an introduction from Matt Wall, Peak Pursuits’ Apprenticeship Coordinator explaining “what an apprenticeship is” and “what the benefits are", Matt explained the basic features of an apprenticeship and informed the students of what our company does on a daily basis.

Being two ex-students of the NULC course and we wanted to show how much our confidence had grown since college due to working on our apprenticeship.

I began firstly by mentioning pay and asking who had jobs, and then eventually to “who in the room earns more than £450 a month?” This was very effective as instantly the students realised that the low apprentice wage was in a way, not much of a problem at all. I also stated that along with a nice amount of money to have whilst learning, that apprenticeships have a lot of highlights.

A highlight for me was the summer season; working out in the sun, doing a different activity each day, sharing experiences, knowledge and skills with a very experienced, hardworking staff team.

A very rewarding moment was guiding a young blind girl up one of our mobile climbing walls. When she climbed up you could see the joy in her face and that it was such a big achievement. It was obvious that she wanted to face another challenge after managing to complete what was a huge achievement for her.

My final highlight has to be working on education, helping challenged young people to better themselves and achieve academically. It is great to see improvement when young people work with you to complete their work. Knowing that the knowledge you pass on to them could one day benefit them and help them to achieve more from their lives.

This linked in nicely to Hannah telling us all about the highlights that she has had in the past eight months. These included working on SEN (Special Educational Needs) groups and regularly working at Audley Climbing Centre.

We then mentioned the challenges that we face on the job but how they always end up being worth it. With guidance and training we can overcome any challenges that we are ever faced with on our apprenticeship.

A challenge for me was working with some of the alternative educational groups. At first things can be tough with behavioural challenges but I overcame this when I gained respect from the groups, they began to listen and complete work with help from me. Seeing them complete work and achieve whilst working with me puts the challenge aside as you realise what you are working for.

The students seemed to like to hear about our challenges and highlights as they all listened intently. We then explained about our learning journey, what we have achieved during our apprenticeship including CWA training, First aid and safeguarding qualifications and what we plan to do after the apprenticeship.

The day seemed to go well; we managed to gain quite a bit of interest from the students in our Q&A section after the presentations and everyone walked away with a leaflet so they know they always have an option to look into that isn’t university.

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