15 Acres of Adventure in the Heart of Leicester

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Apprenticeships at the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre

An interview with Stephen Granger, one of out past apprentices. by David Robinson.

With our new apprenticeship having been launched I decided to talk to Stephen Granger, who has gone through the whole apprenticeship scheme, about his time as an apprentice and ask him to reflect on his adventure into a new career.

Q) Stephen how did you become an apprentice?
A) First of all I volunteered at Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre for a summer, having a passion for the outdoors this was an opportunity close to where I lived, a place I’d been kayaking before and loved it. I also thought volunteering would be a good way to get my foot in the door having known LOPC takes on apprentices. At the end of the summer there was a vacancy so I applied.

Q) Looking back do you think the apprenticeship was a good thing?
A) Yes, it allowed me to meet and learn from some very experienced people with lots of knowledge of the outdoors. The apprenticeship helped me to find my passions (rock climbing), and helped me to learn about myself - working with a variety of clients whom some I never thought I’d be working with. Some of the challenges I’ve faced both from work and getting out on my own adventures have helped shape who I am today.
Q) So you would say the apprenticeship scheme was right for you?
A) It was perfect for me and I’d certainly suggest it to other people. I was learning every day.

Q) So if you could turn back time you would still do it or do something else?
A) 100% yes

Q) What parts of the apprenticeship worked and helped you develop?
A) The reviewing and reflection I did, particularly at the start, helped me to think about how I was presenting myself and performing as a professional instructor. I also looked at my organisation skills and kept picking out what I needed to do to be a good instructor.

Q) What would you say to anyone thinking about becoming an outdoor instructor apprentice?
A) I would say do you see yourself working with a huge range of people? Are you a people person? Do you enjoy working with young people, getting to know them and developing them? Do you see yourself giving up your time to work on your personal skills? You’ll need to spend time going out climbing or paddling, for example, in order to progress to the higher qualifications. So what are your aims, where do you want to be?

Q) And what advice would you give them?
A) Find out early on what you’re good at or what you love, and focus your time and energy on that, in your personal life as well as work life. If you can find people to do that with it will also help – learning from each other and coaching each other to improve.

Stephen Granger has emerged from our apprenticeship scheme as a brilliant instructor who we rely on every day. We’ve had great feedback from a variety of different customers about the quality of his service, an asset to the centre. Having little experience and no qualifications when he started, this is someone we may not have employed if it wasn’t for the apprenticeship scheme. Therefore the apprenticeship has been a win win, with Stephen clearly benefitting from the development and us the employer benefitting from his great service.

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