Activity Instructor jobs appear in many different fields, there are truly some very diverse roles. Instructors are employed in the private sector such as within leisure and travel companies, as well as in charities, local education authorities and other organisations.
The role of an activity instructor is to lead, supervise and teach individuals and groups particular skills or techniques, usually within a certain sport or activity or as part of an Outdoors programme, whilst ensuring their safety. The instructor may be employed to deliver short sessions or be responsible for groups on longer trips or expeditions, teaching skills. They may work with novices or more experienced clients, with young people or adults, with people with disabilities or special needs or may work with the general public in a leisure or holiday setting. Activities could include mountain biking, kayaking, caving, climbing, hill walking amongst many, many other areas.
The role can also extend into other areas such as welfare, equipment maintenance, administration, driving, house-keeping and catering so a versatile all-round approach is important.
For the role of an Activity Instructor you need many skills and as safety is paramount, you must have sufficient competence in your specialist activities so that you can support and teach clients undertaking that activity, along with the required qualifications for the role. Enthusiasm for the outdoor environment and your specialism is important so that can be passed on to your customers. You of course need excellent leadership, management and communication skills. You may need to support individuals who are physically and emotionally demanding so a patient and calm personality, along with the ability to assess situations quickly and act on them is extremely important.
The qualifications you need for Activity Instructor positions will partly depend on where you want to work such as within a private company or in an outdoor education or field centre and the type of activities you will be delivering. Research the sort of setting you want to work in, such as within the holiday industry or in an outdoor centre and the sort of activity provider you want to be.
It is important to check the training requirements and experience required for different roles. Continuing professional development (CPD) is very important for Activity Instructor jobs and it is essential you undertake courses to keep your qualifications, including those for First Aid, current and your skills up to date.
If you have further qualifications, such as driving a mini-bus or advanced first aid, these will be a bonus. If you are considering a career as an Activity Instructor but lacking enough experience you could take up a placement as an Assistant Leader/Instructor working alongside a qualified instructor. Some outdoors centres and private sector companies take on trainee instructors with no formal qualifications but some experience in their particular interest, so that they can work their way up in the position gaining experience and qualifications. There are far more Instructor and trainee posts than there are Heads of Centre, but if you have great enthusiasm for what you are do and take opportunities to train and develop, then progression to more senior posts with better pay is certainly possible.
For a great and varied career doing something you love is what makes a job as an Activity Instructor so worthwhile.