Role of an Outward Bound Trust instructor

Instructors are the key to our success. Through their expert guidance and instruction, hundreds of people every year leave Outward Bound courses with valuable life skills.

Our outdoor instructors embody our values. Through sensitive and supportive leadership they set the standards and expectations for each course. They are committed to their own ongoing development, as well as that of participants.

Instructors are both expert guides and sensitive facilitators, teaching skills directly but also providing opportunities for every individual to shine. They have a direct, positive influence on young peoples’ lives and frequently become role models for participants.

Adaptability and versatility are crucial. The role changes with the type and stage of course, and nature and age of the participants. Instructors must be able to plan opportunities for individual achievement and respond dynamically as further opportunities arise.

Every instructor must be able to

  • Deliver high quality personal development
  • Teach through frontier adventure 
  • Lead groups safely on water and through mountains
  • Meet specific learning outcomes 
  • Raise awareness of and concern for the natural environment.


The list below gives a more detailed explanation of the roles and responsibilities of an Outward Bound instructor:

  • To deliver outdoor education courses for Outward Bound to a wide range of clients. Whilst mainly being based at one centre, occasionally instructors are required to work at another centre. 
  • To work as part of the instructional team in a co-operative environment providing safe and inspirational courses
  • To fulfil a variety of roles whilst looking after young people in the outdoors, ie. instructor, facilitator, coach and mentor
  • To plan and deliver activities and reviews for groups of young people, and be accountable for ensuring all learning objectives are achieved
  • To visit clients and carry out pre course briefings to ensure their aims and objectives are achieved whilst at Outward Bound
  • To act as technical support for a group instructor in activities such as climbing and canoeing which require additional instructional staff, as well as providing any necessary resource support for the programme
  • To work evenings and weekends when required to resource the programme
  • To develop your own skills and qualification base
  • To contribute to the continuing development of the work of Outward Bound in its professionalism with staff, delivery and resources
  • To look after safety equipment and report damages to an appropriate person
  • To carry out administrative tasks in order to ensure the efficient and safe running of each course and the centre
  • To be an ambassador for Outward Bound at all times.

All Outward Bound personal development courses use challenging situations. The process is intended to be catalytic to encourage individuals of all ages and backgrounds to examine themselves and to take responsibility for their own learning and development. The learning medium is experiential, using activities supported by skillful group and individual reviews. It follows therefore that instructors will be competent in both personal development ie. guiding others to learn and develop, and activities.

The majority of our work, delivered throughout the year consists of education courses for schools and colleges and work related courses with apprentices and younger employees, plus courses for individuals of 1 and 3 week duration during the summer holidays.

Each centre caters for this wide range of courses, focusing on personal and skills development primarily for young adults, although some courses are for over 25 year olds. Each centre has a range of facilities within the grounds allowing groups to progress through dynamics/problem solving exercises to high challenges, ie. high ropes, zip wire, trapeze and Jacob’s Ladder. Course activities include: mountain expeditions, wild camping, canoeing, kayaking, river journeys, climbing, abseiling, horizontal and vertical caving, gorge walking, raft building, rowing, orienteering, problem solving, mountain biking, sailing, bivvying, fun and adventure!

The centre is situated on the outskirts of the Welsh coastal resort of Aberdovey. This is the original and largest of our centres and has easy access to the mountain ranges of mid Wales and Snowdonia National Park. A modern, purpose built, training facility in the centre of the village with direct access to the Dyfi estuary and inshore waters of Cardigan Bay provides a good base for more distant journeys on the Mawddach and Dysynni estuaries to the north. Combined with the land and sea environments, four log cabins also owned by the centre provide a wide range of opportunities for adventurous expeditions that can be tailored to support the full range of courses offered by The Trust.

Ogwen Cottage
Our first 'exclusive use' centre. Ogwen Cottage is situated on the shores of Lake Ogwen, nestled between Carneddau and Glyderau mountain ranges. With stunning views and endless expedition opportunities, Ogwen is the perfect location for challenging and highly adventurous outdoor learning courses.

Steeped in history, this iconic centre is now run by Outward Bound in partnership with the National Trust. National Trust Rangers are onsite and available to share their knowledge and expertise to further enhance your experience.

The centre is situated on the north-west shore of the lake approximately two miles from Pooley Bridge. It is a large Georgian house set in 18 acres of woodland, with the mountainous Helvellyn range nearby. Most of the courses here involve mountain expeditions of 2 - 3 days in the fells. These may include a canoe journey on Ullswater adding to the overall experience. Other activities undertaken locally and further afield include rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, orienteering and caving (in Yorkshire). The centre can accommodate up to 136 people.

The newest of our centres, opened in February 2008, is on the north-east shore of Ullswater and accommodates up to 75 people. The courses and facilities here are very similar to those at our Ullswater centre; the High Street mountain range and the shore of Ullswater are immediately accessible from the centre. Instructors running courses from this site are based at the Ullswater centre.

Loch Eil
The centre is an old shooting lodge set amongst its own extensive grounds on the foreshore of Loch Eil. With the centre being located in the Highlands, the mountain environment provides excellent locations for expeditions to be carried out throughout the year. These include 1, 2 & 3 week long land and mixed expeditions, plus sailing expeditions using the centres cutters, as there is easy access to the open sea which enables sailing courses to set sail for the many remote islands and anchorages of the West Coast of Scotland. Extensive use is made of the lochs and coastal environment for sailing, open canoeing, sea and river kayaking. Recently the centre has developed Gorge Walking and Tyrolean venues and now has three exciting sites. The centre can accommodate 120 people.

Gate House was built in 1896 as a country retreat and converted into an Outward Bound centre in 1950. With 60 acres of landscaped grounds, stunning views of some of the highest summits in England and the picturesque village of Eskdale Green just down the road it's an ideal venue for our adult learning and development courses. The centre can accommodate up to 87 people.