However with many of these qualifications it is not merely enough to pass the assessment, a successful candidate must show a continued effort to develop their own understanding and ability, whether that be, award body CPD workshops, in house training or merely a willingness to be taking part in that particular sport on regular basis. Passing your SPA (Climbing Award) and then not climbing for 20 years could well land you in a position where your qualification is invalid. So for us as an outdoor education centre employing staff, it is important for us to ensure that our instructors are given regular opportunities to develop their practice.
These CPD opportunities that we offer our staff are not however boring and tedious affairs, far from it they are exciting and engaging, and if our most recent outing is anything to go by it can make you truly appreciate how lucky we are to work in the outdoors.
On Wednesday we traveled to Borrowdale in the Lake District to give our newest staff member Rachel, an opportunity to climb at a new crag and learn some new techniques. We chose Shepherds Crag due to its easy access and variety of routes, we aimed to spend the day climbing and learning from one another. We arrived to glorious weather, blue skies and not a drop of wind, I have climbed at Shepherds dozens of times and it reveals something new every time. We split up and attempted two climbs of differing character. Heather, John Mac and Rachel set off on a route called Donkeys Ears, while myself and fellow instructor John Brooks climbed two routes called Ant Highway and Shepherds Chimney. We met at the top and discussed the routes and the style of ascent. After a brief lunch we moved to an area called Fishers Folly Buttress. I, John and Rachel attempted a route named Kransic Crack Direct while Heather and John Mac climbed a route called Chamonix, after some good and sometimes hard climbing we abseiled off and met Heather and John at the bottom, where we learnt Heather had forged a new bold route (unintentionally); a reminder that guidebook descriptions can sometimes require a fair bit of imagination.
All in all we had a cracking day and can look forward to more opportunities to take part in training.