My Journey into the industry: Jake Harmer

My Journey into the industry: Jake Harmer

An STS apprentice's story

Recently, an article was shared in the Institute of Outdoor Learning’s Horizons magazine which showcased the journey one of our apprentices made into the outdoor industry. Read Jake's story below!

Working with children and young adults has always been the direction I wanted my career to take however the outdoor industry had never crossed my mind as a career path. After numerous hours of work experience at local primary schools, I decided a degree in education would be my best course of action to achieve this goal, but due to the pandemic, my dreams of a degree had to be prolonged. Looking back at this, I believe this to have worked out in my favour as I would never have come across the advertisement for an outdoor activity instructor apprenticeship at Kingswood. Several of my friends had pursued the apprenticeship route across different trades and professions and the response I got from them was mixed, but I had to try for myself to find out.

Following a successful interview process, I was offered a place to start in January 2022 with a full month of Induction and training at the West Runton site in Norfolk along with almost 30 other apprentices. I can say with confidence, I made some amazing friends and had one of the best months of my life. We started with a week of fun activities and time to get to know each other with some role model members from Kingswood and Skern Training and Skills at the helm, guiding us through the backbone of what would eventually become our everyday job. The rest of the month was focused on getting a better understanding of what the job entails and gaining some necessary qualifications such as first aid, safeguarding and all the in-house activity training my brain could hold. This month left me feeling confident about stepping into my role as an instructor as well as teaching me plenty of transferrable skills that don’t just benefit my job.

Sadly, that month came to an end faster than I hoped and I had to say goodbye to the majority of the people I had been living with for the last month as we all split to travel to our different sites and progress with our apprenticeship. I was not sad for long however as upon arriving at Grosvenor Hall, I was greeted by an extremely friendly team who over the last 10 months have become more like a family than colleagues. Straight away I knew that no matter what challenges I was to face over the months to come, I would have an amazing support system to aid me through the busiest part of the year and whatever came beyond and I’m glad I did as peak season proved to be a real challenge.

Throughout my time in the company, I have been given many opportunities for training that can take me higher within the company as well as give me a better footing if I choose to develop my career somewhere else. So far, I have been able to complete a GB qualification in fencing as well as my full ERCA ground belay and accessing ticket. The next step for me will be completing the Paddle sports instructor course in the next month and then onto my end point assessment for the apprenticeship.

To anyone who may have an interest in pursuing a career that isn’t your everyday office job, the outdoors is full of so much opportunity. I haven’t looked back since entering this industry and would highly recommend it to anyone. I have had the most amazing 10 months; met lifelong friends, overcame fears, and really started to make an impact on young people.

Give it ago, you might be missing out on the best job you’ve ever had.

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