Bushcraft, Campcraft and Survival Skills Instructors
Since we began recruiting people to work in outdoor adventure activities, back in 2008, one of the most noticeable changes to the industry, in our humble opinion, has been the rise in demand for what tend to be referred to as ‘Bushcraft Instructors’. Find out more about what a bushcraft instructor does, why they are so popular all of a sudden, and what you can earn if you decided to forage a career in this area of outdoor adventure.
What is Bushcraft?
The term bushcraft is used to describe the knowledge, skills and technical abilities required to survive in an otherwise hostile environment, such as a desert or jungle. The word likely started in Australia, home of the Bush or Outback, a place where if you get lost or stuck, you are truly on your own and will need to be able to live off the land to stand any chance of survival. We do not have such harsh environments here in the UK, yet because these are places in our imagination and on our television screens, we love the idea of learning the skills and putting them into practice, even if we only have access to a small area of woodland near Biggleswade.
The most popular elements of bushcraft, revolve around the outdoor experience and our basic needs as human beings: Foraging for food and water, tracking and hunting, building shelters from the natural materials to hand, and lighting and maintaining fires for warmth.
Why the popularity?
Difficult to say exactly what caused the recent bushcraft tipping point, though that man Grylls may have something to do with it.
Programmes about living off the land are nothing new; the likes of Ray Mears have been showing us how to eat shoots and leaves, make camp fires and build canoes from trees from many years. Occasionally a journalist will purposely strand themselves somewhere like the Canadian wilderness, armed only with a video camera and some survival skills. And then of course there are frequent books telling amazing tales of survival against the odds. Whatever the reason for the public interest, companies who open activity centres with bushcraft or survival skills elements are definitely on the rise; it is de rigueur to offer this type of activity now in the UK. Basic camp craft skills are popular with school groups and overnight survival weekends increasingly attract the stag weekend and corporate away day market.
So how do you become a bushcraft instructor? With no National Governing Body that does not mean to say there aren't any instructor courses available - there are dozens! If you want something that has the nod from the UK educational system, there are NCFE IIQ awards in Bushcraft, from introductory to Diploma (Levels 1 to 5). While they are run by private companies rather than within the recognised educational system, they are still nationally recognised and currently about the only course that can be mapped to the educational framework, that we are aware of.
The companies who are currently recruiting for instructors are asking us to send them people who have fairly general outdoor experience, qualifications in activities such as hill walking, climbing and abseiling and archery, to complement a love of the outdoors and a desire to inspire people (especially children) to learn more about bush and survival skills.
Most offer a good level of training at the start of the role so you don’t usually need to know how to build a tent out of bracken or skin a rabbit, especially for the entry level jobs. This lack of existing skills makes bushcraft such a great area of outdoor adventure to get involved in, the activity is only going to grow and develop, so getting in early could lead to good things for an enthusiastic instructor.
To get on as a bushcraft instructor you will need to be fairly flexible in terms of your availability. While there is nothing stopping it developing into a year round activity, the work is often seasonal, with most centres concentrating on the summer months, with a winter break – hardly true to the survival ethos, yet perhaps the would be survivalist who book with them don’t fancy getting too cold or too wet.
Want to get involved?
If you have some good outdoor adventure skills and would like to explore the idea of working for a company who specialise in bushcraft then head over to our land based adventure section, where, at the time of writing, we currently have adverts for two companies who are looking for people to help them teach these skills. Other ways to find out more include signing up for our newsletter or join us on social media, both places we will alert you to any new bushcraft jobs as soon as we get them.