Here at TrekCo we are always emphasising the need for training, and every year we take on a new group of keen young trainee instructors. This has been happening every year since 2004 and everyone comments how successful, demanding and fun the TrekCo trainee instructor course is. We thought we’d outline some of the events in every trainee’s season.

April – arrival. The lovely Sussex countryside sees the arrival of between 6 and 10 new TrekCo trainee outdoor instructors around mid-April every year, just after the Easter holidays. Trainees bring their own tents or caravans for the season and get settled in for a week of initial training at Blackland Farm in high ropes activities, kayaking, climbing, our procedures and all aspects of working with young people. This week enables everyone to get to know each other in a positive way.

The Lake District – although the schedule varies, one of our early weeks is always in the Lake District where we can practise climbing, navigation, scrambling, hillwalking skills and other aspects of the outdoors – a lot of this is just aimed at developing trainees as general outdoor instructors so will broaden your skills. 

 

Multi-pitch climbing in the Lakes

Trainee outdoor instructors after a climb

Harriet and Jon – just finished a multi pitch climb

Trainee outdoor instructors in the Lake Distict

Trainees slightly lost! Deliberately, allegedly…

Some more days of training and assessments in high ropes activities, abseiling, and climbing wall sessions follow and then trainees spend 10 days in the Peak District including  shadowing MIA holders running a camp for a school. Sessions include climbing, abseiling, caving, canoeing, scrambling, walking up Kinder Scout and going to the Foundry climbing wall in Sheffield.

 
     

North Wales

Yet another weekend trip away sees us go to North Wales to do Mountain Leader type skills – micro navigation, ropework on steep ground, scrambling and also a bit of climbing thrown in for good measure.

Mountain Biking

Not all trainees elect to go, but there’s a trip to Bike Park Wales each year to sample the fantastic trails. We borrow bikes from our own bike park at Deers Leap and try our skills which are at various levels! So far we’ve learned the way to Merthyr Tydfil A&E quite well as Harriet found this year..

 

The Alps

TrekCo is famous for its amazing French Alps trips which we have been running since 1991, and trainees get to go at the end of their trainee course when they can tale part in climbing, whitewater rafting, canyoning, alpine walking and via ferrata. This is truly an incredible experience, and these activities are not commonly available so it’s a great opportunity to get top level instruction in them.

Trainees graduate on the last night at our end of trip dinner in a beautiful alpine restaurant – a memorable occasion.

     
     

Graduation evening in the Alps

 

…And what happens next?

In the autumn most trainees return for another part of the season, which goes on until October – although some just stay for a few weeks until returning to college in mid-late September. There are also opportunities for staff trips; most autumns we have a staff trip biking in Utah; others have been climbing at Joshua Tree, California; to Everest Base Camp and other peaks in Nepal, the Alps, Verdon Gorge, and the Pyrenees. We are always keen to get people doing real outdoor stuff at TrekCo!

TrekCo staff trips - Utah

TrekCo staff trips – Utah

Trekking in the Himalayas

Trekking in the Himalayas

Career opportunities

Many trainees go on to work for TrekCo or at other centres. There have been many trainees since 2004, so here are just a few examples:

Andy Baker, went on to manage Deers Leap Bikes then senior management at Hindleap Warren outdoor centre
Ross Graham, now full-time Senior Instructor at TrekCo
Tully, now permanent employee at TrekCo
Pete Stracey, Manager at Deers Leap and now works in his beloved cycling industry
Fran – went to Plas y Brenin and now a freelance instructor in North Wales
 Jag – runs his own fitness business
Tom – freelance instructor in the Lake District
Richard – off to work as a mountain bike guide in Canada