What Is Our Outdoor Activity Instructor Training?

Outdoor Activity Instructor Training FAQ

What Is Our Outdoor Activity Instructor Training?

How long is the Outdoor Activity Instructor Training Course?

The course runs for three months with various start dates throughout the year. Our 2021 course days run from Monday – Thursday, 09:00 – 16:00. In 2022 our course week will run from Monday – Friday, 09:00 – 16:00. This will help to reduce the course length and get you qualified and working outside in a shorter space of time.

What is covered in the OAITC course?

Our instructor course covers all aspects of working safely and competently outside as an outdoor professional. You will become proficient in teaching surfing, kayaking, coasteering, bodyboarding and SUPing along with many other coastal activities such as bushcraft and snorkelling. You will also enhance your specific activity skills, learn about and implement health and safety standards, learn about the weather and tides and engage with customers in real-time situations.

What job could I expect to find on completion of the course?

The beauty of working in the outdoor industry is the sheer amount of career choice on offer. Wherever your passion lies in the great outdoors, there’s no reason you can’t be paid to do that every day. You could become a surf instructor, a coasteering guide, a SUP coach, a centre manager, a mountain guide, a bookings coordinator, a trip planner and even more; the possibilities are limitless!

What is the advantage of joining the Outdoor Activity Instructor Training Course compared to booking qualifications separately myself?

The advantages of joining our outdoor instructor course are exponential. First and foremost is the time in which you are able to gain such a variety of different instructor qualifications. If you broke our course down and booked each module individually, A) There would be a lot more admin in terms of contacting different activity providers and B) it would take years to find the time and training resources to complete them.


Shadowing hours are also an important part of gaining your outdoor qualifications. Generally this isn’t made clear at the start of the course and they can be hard to come by. We’ve incorporated these hours into our course to give you the best exposure to real life experience alongside our existing instructors. We also have brother and sister companies to call on for a variety of different work environments and practices.

Will I need to stay in Newquay for the duration of the course?

Yes, you will need to be situated in or around Newquay for the duration of the instructor course. Although we are able to deliver theory work remotely via online platforms, our practical lessons and assessments take place in person on the beaches of Newquay.

We have excellent in-house accommodation options, plus a wealth of alternative places to stay in the area. Please visit our accommodation page for more information.

Do I need to be able to surf in order to join the course?

There are no minimum necessary technical requirements in order to join the Outdoor Activity Instructor Training Course. Along with learning the principles of teaching and guiding students, you will also learn an array of new and exciting watersports yourself. Any experience in surfing will be beneficial, however our course is designed to help complete beginners reach an instructor-level ability by the time they complete the programme.

What swimming skills do I need to do the course?

In order to join our instructor course, it is advised that you are already a competent and confident swimmer before you start. A lot of the practical lessons throughout the course will take place in or around the water; for your safety and for the safety of others you should be experienced and confident in the water in a variety of ocean conditions.

What is the average age of people taking part in the course?

Our instructor training course attracts many different people from many different backgrounds. The idea of spending your working week in the great outdoors appeals to all kinds of people, young or old. We have a real mix of students on our course, we think that this helps to add a fantastic balance where you’re not only learning from the course delivery team, but also from each other.


We’ve seen university students looking for an exciting gap year, and we’ve also had 40-year old office managers looking for a career change. As long as you are over 18, you are welcome to join this course.

Will the course go ahead in all weathers?

In a word, yes. Our portion of the Cornish coastline benefits from many sheltered bays and coves. These training grounds provide us with great options for escaping the Atlantic’s strong winds and powerful swell. Likewise, unless there are dangerous storms, rain will not prevent the course from going ahead. We tend to spend most of our days in and out of the water and, as such, we are appropriately dressed for rain showers. We will provide you with all of the information and kit advice for staying warm and dry during the colder months.

What should I bring with me for the course?

For your time in Newquay during the outdoor instructor course, you should pack accordingly for a three month stay away from home remembering all everyday essentials. These will include:


  • All personal toiletries + medication e.g toothbrush, shower gel, shampoo
  • Appropriate clothing for the season (you will have access to a washing machine if you are booking accommodation through us)
  • Hoodie / sweatshirt / rain jacket
  • Notepads / pens / pencils
  • Laptop / tablet / headphones
  • Mobile phone / charger
  • Passport / insurance + travel documents if travelling from overseas
  • Purse / wallet / spending money
  • Sunglasses / sunscreen
  • Face mask
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Day pack for carrying lunch and personal items

For a more detailed breakdown of technical equipment requirements, please visit our Outdoor Activity Instructor Training Course page.

How many people will be on the course?

Each course will vary from time to time but generally you will be taught in groups of 8. This makes sure each student receives the correct individual feedback and also has the chance to ask any questions they may have to get the most out of the lessons.

Where is the training held?

All practical lessons and assessments are held outside in the fresh air. We use a number of coastal locations in and around Newquay; the majority of which are within walking distance of our centre on Fore Street. Our two closest beaches are Towan Beach and Fistral Beach.


All of your theory work will be delivered remotely via online video platforms. This means you are able to learn from the comfort and safety of your home or hotel. On top of being the perfect opportunity to relax after an intense practical session, studies have shown that being relaxed in your own environment leads to a more productive and effective learning experience.


When Covid restrictions allow and the weather permits, we will also deliver some theory lessons in the great outdoors enjoying the natural landscape where possible.

What sort of gear will I need to start out as an outdoor instructor?

Part of the fun and excitement of being an outdoor instructor is constantly refreshing and investing in new kit. We’ve sifted through the limitless amount of equipment options to bring you a basic starter kit as a minimum to get going as an outdoor professional:


  • A full-length wetsuit (winter or summer, hooded or non hooded – time of year dependant)
  • Wetsuit Boots (time of year dependant)
  • Wetsuit Gloves (time of year dependant)
  • Wetsuit Hood or skull cap (if you have a non hooded wetsuit – time of year dependant)
  • Wetsuit socks (time of year dependant)
  • Buoyancy Aid
  • Helmet
  • Tow Line
  • Throw Line
  • First Aid kit

If you are taking part in our outdoor instructor course, all of the above items will be made available for you to borrow while you are training with us. These will need to be reserved and signed out and any damage will need to be paid in full.

Will I get year-round employment as an outdoor instructor?

As an outdoor instructor there are a variety of employment options that could suit your particular lifestyle. If you enjoy the stability of a salaried year-round position, then centre work is likely to be the best route to explore. There are many activity centres throughout the UK and abroad that offer work in all seasons. To increase your chances of finding employment at a centre, the best thing you can do is develop your experience in a variety of activities. The more experience you have – the more rounded you’re going to be as an instructor.

Where could I end up working after completing the course?

Again, the possibilities are endless and limited only by your geographical boundaries. If you are willing to travel, you could find work almost anywhere in the world. The outdoor industry is a huge sector in the UK and overseas with lots of people seeking adventure for a variety of reasons. We have instructor exchange programmes throughout the world which could see you working in Indonesia, New Zealand, Central America, the US, Africa, Europe and the UK.

Do I need to have a good level of fitness/swimming to start the course?

Ideally you will be fairly active with at least a decent level of starting fitness. Our outdoor instructor course can be physically demanding in places, however we will help wherever we can. Included in the course price is a purpose-designed pre-course fitness programme for you to complete in your own time. This will help to improve your cardiovascular system and engage the correct muscle groups required during training.


To work at Newquay Activity Centre as a surf instructor, you need to gain an SLSGB Surf Coach Safety and Rescue Award. In order to complete this award, you need to be able to swim 200 metres in under 5 minutes. This is quite achievable for most standards of swimmers. Please note: you do not need this qualification in order to deliver kayaking, coasteering or stand up paddleboarding sessions.


To help you achieve the right swimming standard, there will be both sea and pool sessions built into the course.

Do the courses run all year-round?

Yes, our outdoor instructor courses run year-round and are not limited by the seasons or weather. We have many protected coastal locations in Newquay that allow us to escape the worst of the weather when necessary. We will also provide you with the correct information, or the equipment itself, to remain warm and comfortable during the colder months.

What happens if I can’t attend some aspects of the course?

If for any reason you can’t attend some aspects of the course, you will be given the chance to revisit these modules later on where possible. Please note that all theory lessons are deliverable remotely via online video platforms so as to minimise the chance of missing out. If there are some practical lessons you can’t attend, please let our course leaders know and we will do our best to accommodate this at a later date where possible.

Will there be opportunities to find work during the course?

Yes, we have partnered with a number of local businesses to afford you the opportunity for work whilst in Newquay. We have teamed up with local restaurants, bars, surf shops and care providers that will all offer a mixture of working hours during the course.

Can I work abroad with the qualifications I will gain?

The National Governing Bodies (NGBs): British Canoeing (BC), Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS), Surf Life Saving Great Britain (SLSGB) and International Surfing Association (ISA) are all recognised worldwide.


Because of the UK’s internationally recognised standard of quality, many countries including Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Middle-East, Canada and most European countries all look favourably at qualifications gained by award-winning British providers like ourselves. Trainees can also use their NGBs to get employment with UK-based companies operating abroad.

Are there international surf schools or activity centres that you could help me get involved with after the course?

When you book onto our Outdoor Activity Instructor Training Course, we don’t just want to get you in and out as fast as possible. We’re experienced enough to know that there are so many avenues and ways in which we can help you find the correct type of employment post-course.


We have been operating for over 20 years and we have great relationships with lots of activity providers both in the UK and overseas. We operate an instructor exchange programme with a surf company in New Zealand, and we also have the opportunity to supply instructors to Bali, Morocco, Costa Rica, California and beyond. If you’re serious about finding international work then we will do our best to help you wherever we can.

Do you offer an exchange programme as part of the course?

Yes, an unconventional benefit to our instructor course is the chance to find work as a surf instructor in New Zealand. We have partnered with a surf company on the North Island which could see you hemisphere-hopping on successful completion of the course. We have the chance to send our best new students out to NZ to work a summer season (UK winter time) before returning home and working a UK summer season immediately afterwards.

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