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Compass & Map

Outdoor Learning Specialist

What is an

Outdoor Learning Specialist?

The broad purpose of the occupation is the design, planning and delivery of programmes that provide progressive learning and change using outdoor activities and experiences.

They will:

  • apply professional outdoor leadership judgement in order to facilitate safe and effective individual and group learning. 

  • use broad and specialised knowledge of the natural outdoor environment and determine likely hazards of undertaking activities and perform in-advance and in the moment (dynamic) risk – benefit assessments.

  • interact with programme participants; customers and stakeholders to identify needs and expectations, sequence, plan, monitor and report on the delivery of an outdoor learning programme

  • be responsible for needs analysis & diagnosis, design, planning, execution and evaluation of outdoor learning development programmes for children, young people and adults.

Outdoor Learning Specialists facilitate the progressive development of activity competence, inter-personal and intra-personal life skills, outdoor and environmental knowledge and understanding. They will coach, mentor and provide feedback to allocated outdoor activity session delivery staff to develop their knowledge and skills in meeting the outcomes of the programme. 

For further information regarding the standard, click below:

Outdoor Learning Specialist standard

Funding Band



24 Months



Preparing to Climb

Entry Requirements

Employers will have their own specific entry requirements but could include the following:

  • Level 2 Award in Functional Skills English or equivalent

  • Level 2 Award in Functional Skills Mathematics or equivalent

  • 18 years or above or at the employer’s discretion due to the nature of the work

  • Existing skills and knowledge of Outdoor Activity

The End-Point Assessment Process



On and off-the-job training to develop knowledge, skills and behaviours

English and Maths Level 2 (if required)

Production of a portfolio of evidence​



The employer must be content that the apprentice is working at or above the level of the occupational standard. 

Apprentices must have achieved all qualifications mandated in the Outdoor Learning Specialist occupational standard. The qualifications required are:

  • Level 2 Ofqual registered Award in Safeguarding relevant to the employer’s business.

  • Level 3 Ofqual registered 2-day Outdoor First Aid Award 

Apprentices must have achieved English and mathematics at Level 2. 

Apprentices must submit to the EPAO: 

  • A logbook of evidence to underpin the professional discussion.​



End-point assessment consists of three methods:

  1. customer proposal report, presentation and questioning 

  2. observation with questions 

  3. professional discussion (underpinned by a logbook of evidence)

Reach the Top

Grading Criteria​

Apprentices who fail one or more assessment method will be awarded an overall EPA ‘fail’. 

To gain an overall EPA ‘pass’, apprentices must achieve a pass in all the assessment methods.

To achieve an overall EPA ‘distinction’, apprentices must achieve distinction in all the assessment methods.

Progression Routes

On completion, Outdoor Activity Instructors may be eligible to apply to be Associate Professional of the Institute for Outdoor Learning to support their career development and progression.

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