15 Acres of Adventure in the Heart of Leicester

Monday, 14 November 2016

5 Top Tips for Getting a Job in the Outdoors

Nearly every year we recruit new staff at Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre, and we often get a great mix of personalities knocking on our door - showing us what they have to offer. However there are traps and pitfalls that so many young potentials just get wrong. Here are my top 5 tips to prevent them happening to you.

Disclaimer, if you do any of these - don’t panic. These are not ‘you’ve blown it’ moments, there shouldn’t be any in an interview. Remember our objective is to try and find out as much as we can about who you are, if you’re the right person for the job it will come through. These tips will just help that process.

1) Wear a suit

If you’re reading that and wrinkling your nose with disapproval then I’m talking to you in particular. Unless you’ve been specifically told otherwise this is a no brainer. I know the outdoor industry isn’t about being smart and we all take a pride in getting away from the formal office environment. We all love the RAB Jacket and the Mountain Equipment Trousers but this is an interview and you need to consider what message you’re giving in how you present yourself.

Nobody has ever been marked down for being ‘too smart’ and chances are you’re not going to either. But if you turn up scruffy there’s a very real chance that first initial impression isn’t going to be a good one. I’d question how serious you’re taking this interview and how professional you are as a colleague, and now you’re on the back foot before we’ve got started.

2) Talk is cheap – arrive with substance

If I had a pound for every time I was told about how a candidate was ‘passionate’ about the outdoors and ‘loves’ to be out in nature and has the ‘enthusiasm’ to spread that in others, I’d be a rich man. It’s easy to say that and to be fair it’s probably true, but you need to evidence this.

If you say you love the outdoors we want to know what you’re doing outdoors and why you love it. If you tell us you once went in a canoe and liked it, that’s really not going to cut it. Maybe you belong to a club? Do you volunteer with anyone? What experiences have you had? If you build a story of your love for the outdoors then suddenly you’ve got a bit of substance.

3) Tick the boxes

On your application we’re looking at the person specification and trying to decide whether you meet our essential criteria. Read that essential criteria and make sure we know you meet it. Almost all applications have that section to write about yourself and support your application. Use it and abuse it! This is your chance to sell yourself.

Remembering from lesson 2, try to evidence it too. You have brilliant customer service skills…….prove it! Write about all those customers who said they had a great time. Tell us about those letters from customers commending your efforts that ensured they had a great time.

4) Consider what you ask us

A lot of times in an interview you’ll get the chance to ask us a question. This tells us more than you probably appreciate. Yes we’re judging you and we’ll look at anything you do for clues as to what you’ll be like to work for us and what you ask is a great opportunity.

We know you’ll ask about pay – everyone wants to know that – after all it’s the primary reason you’re sitting in an interview. We won’t judge you on that. But if you were to start asking us insightful questions about our Outdoor Education provision we’ll know we’ve got someone who’s got a keen interest in the right thing. Your questions tell us about what you’re interested in, they also tell us how much you know and researched. For example if you were to ask “How many NICAS Level 2 courses do you deliver?” I instantly know you’re interested in delivering these courses and you’ve researched the organisation and am aware we deliver them.

5) You don’t have ‘lots of experience’

A lot of candidates seem to come to an interview having done about 1 or 2 seasons. This is great we’re always looking for people with a bit of experience. That’s exactly what it is, a bit.

Please please please when telling us why we should employ you don’t say it’s because of your experience. We know how much experience you’ve got, you put it on your application. It’s ok to be inexperienced, it means you’re a blank canvass ready for us to develop. You might look at things differently with a fresh set of eyes. Use that rather than telling us you have a lot of experience. Unless of course you do.

Finally don’t get disheartened too much if you don’t get the job. I’ve turned down a lot of people I’d loved to have worked with but at the end of the day we only have so many places to give out. Get feedback and learn from it. If you really want the job you’ll get it.

Good luck to anyone looking for a job in outdoor pursuits. It's a brilliant industry full of lots of interesting and enthusiastic people.

David Robinson

Saturday, 16 July 2016

British Canoeing HQ Team build a Trebuchet

On Wednesday a group from British Canoeing Head Office came to the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre to take part in some Team Building activities.

The plan was to build and fire a Trebuchet.

But first they had to find the parts of the Trebuchet, which we had hidden around our 15 Acre site. We provided 3 teams with a GPS each and gave them instructions on how to use them. Next we gave them the GPS co-ordinates to help them find the parts.

There was a lot of fun and a little bit of competition between the teams, but they successfully completed the task.

The next part was to build the Trebuchet.

I gave them a brief history about the Trebuchet where and when it was used in the past (Wikipedia)

The same 3 teams started work to construct their own Siege Engine to attack a Castle made of Milk Crates!

First you make the base and make sure it is pointing towards the Castle Milkcrate.

Then you build the sides.

Then pose for a 'Caption Competition' photo!

Time to attach the throwing arm and the counter balance weights.



Meet the British Canoeing Team.

For more information about LOPC Corporate Challenges

Friday, 15 July 2016

Goodbye to Children from our After School Club.

Today we say goodbye to several young people who have been coming to out After School Club at the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre.

The Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre provide After School Care for children from nearby Junior Schools. https://www.lopc.co.uk/childcare/after-school-club/

It is the last day of term here in Leicester and the start of the school holidays, so today is both a sad and happy day for the staff of LOPC and young people who are leaving us today.

And in September they will start a whole new episode in their lives as they move from Junior School to Senior School.

Last Friday the staff offered that the After School Children could 'Camp Over' at the outdoor centre.

Some of the children had never camped in the Tent overnight before. Cheryl Taylor, one of the Instructors said 'They were brilliant and so well behaved.'

With the help of Instructors the put up their tents, cooked their own evening meal on Tranja Cookers and then cooked Marshmallows on a Campfire.

For those who are leaving us ... we will miss you.

And for those who are staying ... we will see you in September.

For more information about our After School Club

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Scout Water Team have Fun on the New Stand up Board

So we through down the gauntlet to the Scout Instructors could they have more fun?

Well the answer was YES because they launched the New XL Stand up Board.

We have 12 normal size Paddle boards and 2 XL size.

So yesterday the Scout Water Team accepted the Fun Challenge by launching the XL board.

So once we put this in the water it will have to be more fun!

OK lets try levitation.

Too much jumping Guys!

So I think the Scout Water Team proved they can have lots of fun, and also spend lots of time in the water!

Stand Up Paddle Boards in Leicester

The Leicestershire Scouts and the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre have purchased some Stand up Paddle Boards or SUP's for short.

They were purchased for Leicestershire Scouts 'Charnwood International Scout Camp' to be held in August 2016, but the great news is ..... they are to be stored with us at LOPC!

So over the last to weeks we have been putting them through their paces.

First of all the Instructors needed to go through training. There is a SUP Module from Canoe-England that the Water Staff are all adding to their qualifications. The first of these was run for the Scout Water team. The LOPC water staff will have the same fun next week.

Then we tested them on the Easter Holiday Scheme Children because the Scout Water Instructors maybe were not having enough fun!

First you need to put the fins on.

 Do you have to stand like that?

 What happens if you kneel on the back?

 I can stand on one leg!

So the challenge is on .... Scout Instructors can you have more fun than us?

For more information about LOPC www.lopc.co.uk

For more information about the Charnwood International Camp http://charnwood.org