A group of adventurous teenagers have begun a year-long work experience programme with a difference as they aim for careers in outdoor pursuits.
They will be taught archery, climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, yachting, water rescue skills and bushcraft and will receive instruction in outdoor first aid and child protection from the team at Ardwhallan Outdoor Education Centre in West Baldwin.
The recruits – Queen Elizabeth II High School students Kirree Radcliffe, Breeshey Bond, Peter Daniels and Callum Johnson, all 18, Ballakermeen High School students Thomas Walmsley, 16, Thomas Caldwell and Tim Payne, both 15, and Jack Rowlands, 15, who is home educated – were chosen at a selection weekend held in January.
The centre delivers outdoor education to school and youth groups, including those working towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and offers qualifications in partnership with the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education.
Paul Melling, head of centre at Ardwhallan, explained that the teenagers, who are all volunteers, have already learned about running sessions on the assault course and low ropes, orienteering and raft-building at nearby West Baldwin reservoir.
They are now starting a Level 3 Open Award in Understanding Outdoor Education.
As they gain experience, the assistant instructors will help deliver sessions for youth groups in the spring and the adventure weeks the centre offers in the school summer holidays and help man the climbing wall at events. They will also take part in residential trips to the UK.
Representatives of programme sponsors Best Group International visited a training session at the centre on Sunday, alongside Minister for Education and Children Tim Crookall, who said that the experience will be invaluable in their search for future employment.
He said: ‘Several young people who have volunteered at Ardwhallan have gone on to follow their dream of a career in outdoor education.
‘The invaluable experience the eight new assistant instructors will gain this year – both outdoors and in the classroom – will greatly enhance their chances of gaining work in this field when they leave school.
‘I am impressed that the recruits are making such a major commitment and am grateful to Best Group International for its generous support of the programme and for coming along to see the assistant instructors in action.’
For more information on the centre email firstname.lastname@example.org, ring 853711 or search for