A life long career or a short break from the old routine.
The great thing about working outdoors is the flexibility. School leavers or those looking to defer their university course can spend anything up to a year gaining incredible experience that will make their CV shine brighter than those of their peers. While 'grown ups' who already have experience or are qualified in unrelated industries, can still get involved, especially through a gap year or working holiday. Working in an adventurous role does not have to be like becoming an accountant where you need to spend years getting qualified before you can start practicing, even people with little or no previous experience of teaching outdoors can get on the job training and begin instructing in a matter of weeks.
A word of warning though - you'd be surprised how many people we have spoken to who planned a year working outdoors before work or university, only to find that they were completely hooked on instructing and could not see themselves doing anything else!
If you already know that you would like to work towards a long term career in adventure, you will likely start to look at gaining what are generally known as National Governing Body awards for activity instructors, or International Ski Instructors Association certificates for snowsports instructors. Think of them like the badges you could collect in Scouts and Guides, except they are slightly more difficult to get and you don't have to sew them to your sleeve.
How much can you earn?
You will find it is perfectly possible to earn good money in the outdoor adventure industry, especially with specialist jobs like scuba diving or heli ski guide. The level of competition for vacancies will diminish and the wages will increase when you get towards the top of the ladder and start applying for roles like activity centre or resort manager, for which you can expect to earn above the national average. However, for the majority of outdoor instructor jobs, you will find the wages are not going to make you independently wealthy. We had a call just yesterday from someone trying to get a last minute work at a ski chalet, and when we told him how much he could earn with one particular company he just shrugged it off, saying, "I'm not going there to earn money: it's a ski season!" Awesome attitude. You choose an outdoor job in adventure for the love of the lifestyle as much as for the financial reward.
What about Gap Years?
A gap year is a great way to work outdoors, and to gain valuable skills in areas like teaching and child care. Instructing outdoor activities, where you will more often than not be working with children or young adults, is therefore a perfect match. We do find that many of the applications we receive from outdoor workers include details of the inspiring and often life-changing gap projects that they have been on. We really cannot recommend gap years highly enough, and the options for adventure are virtually unlimited!
It is perfectly possible to earn money during your gap year, with some companies offering remuneration in exchange for your time. But the majority of vacancies you will find are looking for volunteers - people who are willing to offer up their time for little or no reward, traveling instead for the experience and happy knowing that they have made a real difference to someone else's life. Take a look through the gap year section of our site to find plenty of great outdoor experiences that will enhance your CV.