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As a multi-activity outdoor instructor, I’ve been through the process of gaining national governing body (NGB) qualifications. It’s a process that can take from months to years and feel quite daunting if you’re just starting out, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, working towards an NGB qualification should be a fun, educational and rewarding process. Whatever the qualification, whether it is a climbing, walking, paddling or any other discipline, the process for getting there is usually very similar.

First of all, you need personal experience. This means getting out, doing the activity in a personal capacity in as many different places with as many different people as you can. This is often a very enjoyable part of the NGB qualification process! Next comes a training course, the more experience you have before a training, the more you will benefit. This doesn’t mean you have to turn up with the skills of a Jedi, more that if you are completely comfortable doing the activity yourself then you can relax and focus on the learning.

With your new skills following the training course, it’s time to consolidate.
The more you can get out and practice, both by yourself and with real or mock groups the better prepared you will be for assessment. By the time you present for assessment, you should be confident and knowledgeable in your field. It’s worth remembering, you’ll continue to learn even when you hold your NGB qualification, continuing to improve is just as important as doing well at assessment!

There are loads of different ways people go about getting an NGB qualification, here are some of them:

Working towards it in your own time – This is a great way of getting an NGB qualification if your busy working, studying or just want to take your time. Make sure you get in touch with providers to get some shadowing and assisting experience to help consolidate your learning.

Trainee schemes – A part time or full time trainee scheme is a great way to immerse yourself in the outdoor world, gain a lot of experience working with groups and earn a bit of money whilst you do it. An advantage to this option is you’ll find yourself working with likeminded people, with access to kit, facilities and knowledgeable instructors to help you progress.

Fast track Scheme – A fast track scheme usually lasts a few months, during which you pay to be taught, mentored and coached through multiple NGB qualifications by experts in the industry. These schemes are a good way to kick start a career in the outdoors, but still require you to put the effort in to gain valuable group experience.