Outdoor pursuits manager: job description

Outdoor pursuits manager: job description

Outdoor pursuits managers are responsible for every aspect of the day-to-day management of centres dedicated to providing instruction on a variety of outdoor activities including horse riding, mountaineering, cycling and water sports.
Experience and knowledge of an outdoor activity is usually required.

What does an outdoor pursuits manager do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Typical responsibilities include:

  • recruiting, training and supervising a team of staff, including instructors
  • planning and organising appropriate outdoor activity programmes
  • handling booking enquiries
  • ensuring compliance with safety regulations
  • instructing groups in specialist areas
  • managing budgets
  • developing new activities
  • liaising with group managers, social workers and teachers
  • dealing with queries, complaints, accidents and emergencies
  • producing educational materials
  • promoting and marketing the business
  • maintaining customer service standards
  • attending training courses to keep qualifications up to date
  • recording and reporting accidents
  • buying, maintaining and checking the safety of facilities and equipment
  • writing and submitting funding bids
  • undertaking financial administration.

Typical employers of outdoor pursuits managers

  • Local authorities
  • Education authorities
  • Small private outdoor pursuits centres
  • Larger commercial organisations
  • Charitable organisations
  • Sports governing bodies
  • National sports centres

Opportunities are advertised online, in local, regional and national newspapers, in publications including Times Educational Supplement, Opportunities (which focuses on the public sector), Leisure Management, Leisure Jobs, Leisure Opportunities, their respective websites and vacancy lists produced by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA).

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into a career in this area for both university graduates and school leavers.

A degree in any subject is acceptable, although employers may prefer graduates with qualifications in relevant subjects such as business management, sports science, physical education, recreation management, leisure studies, health management or tourism.

A postgraduate qualification in recreation management or outdoor education can be useful, particularly for graduates without relevant first degrees.

It is essential to possess experience in and knowledge of a minimum of one outdoor activity. It is also normally necessary to have a formal instructor's qualification in that activity and to have worked as an outdoor pursuits instructor.

Experience gained from seasonal activity holidays, expeditions, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme or any other relevant activities is beneficial. Lifesaving and first aid qualifications can also be advantageous.

To find out how you can get into a career in this area via a school leaver route, visit the hospitality and travel and the teaching and education sections of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.

Key skills for outdoor pursuits managers

  • Physical fitness
  • Good state of health
  • Energy
  • Excellent leadership skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Verbal communication skills

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