Tertiary Programmes Going from Strength to Strength

We are delighted to announce that the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has given us approval to accept more students on our 2018 Tertiary Programmes, an increase of up to 50% on 2017 programmes. This approval for additional students marks a significant milestone and underlines the growing recognition of the value and importance of the work that we do in training students who go on to be solid and highly employable instructors and get various other outdoor-related jobs.

Hillary Outdoors prides itself on top quality tertiary training that is led by some of the best educators in the sector. We know from the positive feedback we receive that we operate at a level that is a notch above some of our competitors; particularly in regards to being able to provide practical hands on experience in an operational outdoor education centre. We allow students to get some first-hand experience in instructing school students under the close supervision of their tertiary programme leaders – you simply cannot beat this in-the-field, real-world experience!

Recently Hillary Outdoors has been the position of having to train graduates in areas of outdoor skills when they come to us for employment as they are often short on outdoor “hard” skills. In NZOIA’s November 2017 issue of their member’s newsletter, in a feature about career pathways in the outdoors, a former employee of OPC (as it was) – Jess Matheson – mentioned that she did not know how little she knew about outdoor recreation until she started working with us. Reflecting on having graduated with a Diploma in Outdoor Recreation via a major tertiary education provider, she said “Sweet, I know heaps about heaps. Then I got to OPC (now Hillary Outdoors) and realised that I didn’t know heaps about heaps and I realised that I was really green”. She spent two years working with us to gain the “hard” skills that she needed, plus get the variety which helped solidify three years of learning at polytech.

At Hillary Outdoors, not only do our working instructors benefit from the stimulating practical environment we provide, the tertiary students do too; which means that they are ready to hit the ground running quicker when it comes time to start paid employment in the field. We offer more registered activities (with Adventure Activities Regulations) than any other outdoor education provider, so this provides tertiary students with a very diverse range of skills.

In an environment of increasing concern about risk management and the work involved in complying with Adventure Activities Regulations, there has been a trend amongst some of the larger tertiary educators in outdoor recreation to shift away from the more practical aspects of these programmes, to more theory-based curriculums. A lot of this has been driven by costs associated with delivering such hands-on programme content, in part due to regulatory requirements, however it appears to be at odds with student demand and the needs of the outdoor industry for competent and safe instructors.

Hillary Outdoors is rare in that we immerse our students in an outdoor environment for over 30 weeks a year. Students also have the great outdoors at their doorstep as their playground during their spare time.

So, if you know of anyone looking for a tertiary programme that is going to provide an authentic experience of life as an outdoor instructor and a great springboard for a career in the outdoors, look no further than Hillary Outdoors…we have additional places that we are looking to fill with ‘the best of the best’ before the programme starts in February 2018. You can find out more about our tertiary programmes here.