Where can I find general information about the syllabus for the different Mountain Training schemes?
Mountain Training publish candidate handbooks online which have detailed information about the schemes, the syllabus, pre-requirements for Training and Assessment etc. See Mountain Training's website here.
Are there any other costs associated with Mountain Training courses?
Yes. In order to take part in a Mountain Training course you will need to register for the correct scheme with Mountain Training. For example, if you wanted to take part in a Rock Climbing Instructor Training course you would need to register for the Rock Climbing Instructor scheme with Mountain Training and this costs £49 per scheme. Candidate registration with Mountain Training contributes towards the running costs of Mountain Training who administer the schemes, moderate the courses to ensure consistent quality across all the providers and provide the online digital logbook that candidates use to record their experience.
In order to register for a scheme with Mountain Training you will need to be a current member of one of the national mountaineering councils. These are the British Mountaineering Council, Mountaineering Scotland or Mountaineering Ireland. As a leader in the outdoor industry engaging with one of these representative bodies is very helpful. Price of BMC membership (May 2021) is around £20 for first year if sign up with direct debit.
It is possible to join one of the mountaineering councils at the same time as registering for one of the Mountain Training schemes on Mountain Training's website.
If I have lots of experience do I need to do a Training course or can I just book onto an Assessment course?
Sometimes candidates embark on these awards with huge amounts of prior experience either assisting other qualified instructors or with alternative qualifications such as those gained in the military. If this sounds like you, and you believe that you have the requisite experience to go straight to Assessment you will need to contact Mountain Training and apply for an exemption from Training. You will need to register for the scheme with Mountain Training and demonstrate that you meet the requirements for the Assessment course by submitting your logbook to Mountain Training. A Mountain Training officer will review your logbook and make a decision about whether you are exempt from the Training course.
Adventure Unlimited do not get involved in this process at all. When you have received exemption from Mountain Training it would then be possible to book onto an Adventure Unlimited Assessment course.
Contact details for Mountain Training are here.Do I need to register for the scheme with Mountain Training before booking an Adventure Unlimited course?
No, either way around is fine. It is perfectly possible to book an Adventure Unlimited course and then register for the scheme at some point before the Training course date. As long as you leave yourself enough time to complete Mountain Training's digital logbook with your experience prior to the Training course that's fine.
Is it possible to borrow some equipment that I might not have?
Yes. We have a good stock of equipment and are happy for candidates to borrow things at no charge. As a leader it's preferable to have your own gear as you will get to know how it works but we are more than happy to help out lending the odd bit of kit.
Does completion of a Training course represent a qualification in it's own right?
The short answer is no. Training courses and Assessment courses are completely different. The purpose of a Training course is for trainers to deliver the syllabus in an engaging and comprehensive way such that all candidates taking part develop their skills as leaders on the crags or hills. On the Assessment course our staff are assessing candidates competency to deliver safe and enjoyable experiences to clients. Between a Training course and an Assessment course is a period of time that we call the 'consolidation period'. During the consolidation period candidates will log additional leadership experience and practice the skills developed on the Training course.
Because nobody is assessing your competence on the Training course that doesn't constitute any sort of qualification. However, at the end of the Training course we will give you some feedback and discuss an action plan which will help you prepare for an Assessment.
Is there a minimum time period that I have to wait between Training and Assessment?
No - there is no stated minimum time period between Training and Assessment courses. Candidates arrive on Training courses with varied amounts of prior experience. Some will have just met the requirements of the Training course and a good deal of the content of the Training course might be new to them. Others might have been assisting other instructors etc for years and much might be familiar. As long as you meet the pre-requirements for assessment you can book on an Assessment course whenever you like after the Training course.
Most people do need some time to gain the pre-requirements for Assessment and practice/develop the skills taught on the Training course. At the end of the Training course the trainers will discuss an action plan with each candidate.
Is there a maximum time period that I could leave it between Training and Assessment?
No. Once a candidate has done a Training course they can do an Assessment course at any point in the future. Obviously from a practical point of view candidates might not want to leave it too long as would lose some of the benefit of the training course and we generally suggest aiming to complete an Assessment course in the three years after Training.
Can I book both Training and Assessment courses with Adventure Unlimited?
Yes. With some similar qualification schemes it might not be possible to be trained and assessed by the same company. This is not the case with Mountain Training qualifications and many people will book their assessment with us after doing a training course.
Will I need my own transport to take part in one of these courses?
Yes. During the course we visit a variety of venues and I'm afraid we can't arrange lift-sharing.
I've heard a lot about Quality Mountain Days in the context of the Mountain Leader scheme or Quality Hill Days in the context of the Hill and Moorland Leader scheme. What's that all about then?
All three qualifications that we offer are what we term 'logbook awards' in the sense that there is a minimum level of prior experience of the activity that we need to see at both Training and Assessment. This prior experience is recorded in Mountain Training's digital logbook and for Mountain Leader and Hill and Moorland Leader awards will include these quality days.
The definition of a Quality Mountain Day and a Quality Hill Day is described in the relevent candidate handbook which are available here:
Hill and Moorland Leader Handbook p29 and p33
Most of the questions that we get asked are around how many Quality Mountain or Hill Days are required for the Mountain Leader scheme and Hill and Moorland Leader scheme respectively prior to Training. The answer is that you need to have a minimum of twenty QMDs/QHDs in your logbook at the time of your training course. You can go back as far as you want in time for these; they don't have to be in recent times as long as you can remember the details of the day in the hills.
Is the course/any days of the course likely to be cancelled if the weather is bad?
This is very unlikely. In twenty years of running courses we have had to reschedule courses/days of courses only a handful of times. These were due to heavy snow at the end of April which prevented access to the eastern edges crags and heavy snow at the beginning of November which left the mountains feeling very wintery for a Mountain Leader course. With our great venue knowledge and ability to swap the content of days around we will always endeavour to deliver your course on the booked dates if at all possible. This is why it is important that candidates equip themselves with the gear on the equipment list to make sure they are warm, comfortable and (relatively!) dry.
Do I need a First Aid qualification to take part in a Training course?
No. The Adventure Unlimited staff who work on the Training course will have appropriate First Aid qualifications and it is not necessary for Training candidates to have a first aid qualification. At the time of Assessment you will need a first aid qualification and will need to provide evidence of this to the course director (usually an in-date certificate). More info about this on the Training course.
What sort of level of fitness is needed to take part in a Mountain Leader or Hill and Moorland Leader course?
A reasonable level of hill fitness is all that is required for these courses. Because the emphasis of the course is on learning and developing candidate's experience it's very rare that you will end up walking long distances at pace. We find that a relaxed approach allowing plenty of time for discussion and questions works best. There is more time spent walking off paths than most are used to so it is worth making sure you have been out a few times before the course to get a bit of addiitonal strength in the legs. As part of Mountain Leader courses we spend days lightweight camping in the mountains and will typically get to a couple of Lake District summits. This can be a test of people's fitness but keeping your pack weight down will help and it's rare that people have struggled with fitness. If you would like to discuss just get in touch.