The outdoor industry has appealed to Graham since leaving school and attending further education. The medium of the outdoor environment can be used in many ways: to rehabilitate, to challenge, to learn and to have fun.
Graham is the senior instructor at Craggan Outdoors, an activity centre in the Scottish Highlands. Graham completed an HND in Leisure Studies and followed this with a BA in Outdoor Education in the Community at the University of Strathclyde in 2002.
My day-to-day job is extremely varied and can involve training and supervising new staff, managing their weekly scheduling, delivering on and off-site sessions to a wide variety of clients, equipment checks, purchasing and retiring equipment from service, writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), completing risk assessments for each and every activity that the company delivers as well as attending a variety of meetings with technical advisers, teaching staff and community groups. I enjoy having the outdoor environment as my classroom and office as well as the experience of being involved in the development of staff, visiting groups and myself.
I was appointed to my current role through a formal application and interview process. The knowledge I gained from my higher education courses included an introduction to hard skills such as outdoor qualifications, management theories and linking outdoor education to different communities. I was also exposed to a variety of different group sessions from disadvantaged youths, young offenders, school pupils and staff training as well as additional qualifications. Qualifications aren’t everything; you need the experience to back them up. I now stand out compared to those with similar, or even in some cases, better outdoor qualifications.
In order to succeed as an outdoor pursuits manager, you need to be a committed and motivated individual with excellent communication skills and have knowledge of a wide range of outdoor education. Having to relate to adults, teachers, technical advisers and young people alike requires experience in all of these areas.
Prior to my current position I was employed at a national charitable organisation and worked my way up from the position of instructor, to assistant team leader then to prison worker and finally to prison project coordinator.
I have only been with the company since the beginning of the year but I can see the company expanding over the next 12 months which will then expand my role, although I am not yet sure in which direction. In the future, I would like to hopefully become an operations manager with Craggan Outdoors or even to start my own outdoor pursuits company.
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