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Careers in the Outdoors Industry

Outdoor recreation occupations are based around providing opportunities for individuals, groups or organisations to experience activities in the outdoors.

Job roles can include working as an outdoor guide or instructor, a programme developer or manager of a campsite. You could be running your own adventure tourism business or teaching outdoor education in schools.

Is an outdoor job for you?

  • Do you enjoy being active rather than sitting at a desk?
  • Do you value feeling connected to nature?
  • Is it important for you to stay in peak physical health?
  • Do you like working with all kinds of people?
  • Are you excited by the possibility of every day being different?
  • Do you appreciate experiencing the changing seasons?
  • Can you see yourself in a role that isn’t chained to a computer?
  • Do you find fulfillment in conservation and educating others about nature?

What you will do

Outdoor leaders may do some or all of the following:

  • plan outdoor recreation activities and instruction programmes
  • assess risks involved in an activity, taking into account the weather and different clients' abilities
  • lead, guide and teach people taking part in activities
  • organise safety procedures including checking equipment, running rescue practices, and providing first aid if necessary
  • prepare recreation areas by doing things such as signposting or fencing off paths and hazards
  • organise bookings, transport, food and accommodation
  • keep logbooks of their trips and do other administrative tasks.

Skills and knowledge

Outdoor leaders need to have:

  • a high level of skill in their outdoor activity or activities
  • knowledge of occupational safety and health (OSH) procedures relating to activities they undertake
  • outdoor survival and first aid skills
  • knowledge of weather conditions and geography in the area where they work.

Education and Training


It helps your employment prospects to have experience in the outdoors and also to have undertaken training in the adventure activities that your may want to instruct or manage.

To become a qualified outdoor leader you can access training from TAFE or a Registered Training Provider. Outdoors WA lists training providers here.

The Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation will provide you with the skills you need to become an outdoor guide in supervised environments like campsites.

A Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation provides training for outdoor leaders to operate independently and in a variety of landscapes. For managers there is the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation.

Once you have completed appropriate training you can register into the National Outdoor Leader Registration Scheme (NOLRS). 

Working conditions

Outdoor leaders:

  • may work long and irregular hours, including weekends and nights. They may work seasonally or year-round, depending on their specialist activity
  • work at locations such as national parks, mountains, forests, caves, rivers, lakes and the sea
  • may work in hot, cold, wet, windy or dangerous conditions
  • may travel within WA or overseas to areas where the outdoor activities take place. They may be away from their home for long periods. Trips may require camping out or staying in huts in remote areas with few facilities.

Range of employers

The range of employers varies across the outdoor sector:

  • tourism businesses
  • training organisations
  • schools
  • outdoor education centres
  • outdoor campsites
  • Community organisations

Links to online outdoor career resources

Dept Sport and Recreation
http://www.dsr.wa.gov.au/careers

Futurenow - careers in the outdoor industry
http://www.futurenow.org.au/sport--recreation--racing.html
http://www.futurenow.org.au/uploads/2/3/0/4/23042550/futurenow1.sportsrecv2.pdf

Occupation Details - Outdoor Adventure Leader
http://www.myfuture.edu.au/Explore%20Careers/Browse%20occupations/Details.aspx?anzsco=452215A

Profile of a recreation officer
http://www.careercentre.dtwd.wa.gov.au/occupations/Pages/recreation-officer-aus.aspx

Various videos on relevant occupations - see youth program coordinator, sports development officer, fishing hand etc
http://www.careercentre.dtwd.wa.gov.au/Occupations/Pages/OccupationVideos.aspx

Notre Dame Bachelor Outdoor Recreation course
https://www.nd.edu.au/fremantle/courses/undergraduate/healthsciences/outdoorrec



Videos:

Video of Campsite Manager WA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Co3wfc-QHHY&list=PLUbwh052yf7ugLOZtOlI-DfSwVZnzayOj&feature=share&index=2

Video of Outdoor Leader NSW.
http://www.skillsone.com.au/vidgallery/the-job-i-love-outdoor-recreation/

Video of Outdoor Leader in New Zealand
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGme19zkJfc

Video of Outdoor Leader in UK
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARXZT2ARmjM&feature=share&list=PLUbwh052yf7ugLOZtOlI-DfSwVZnzayOj&index=1






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