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Learn, Lead and Inspire with Mountain Training Qualifications

Have you been dreaming about becoming a qualified instructor or leader? Are you wondering what you need to do to get there? We spoke to Mountain Training who are here to help answer all of your questions by delving into the world of Mountain Training qualifications!

Images © Jessie Leong, © Mike Raine and © Passion Fruit Pictures

Whether it's leading your community group in a local country park, taking a client on an exposed ridge traverse or giving a youth group the chance to experience their first outdoor climb, Mountain Training qualifications can be a great way to get you started on your leadership journey. Mountain Training has a suite of five walk leader qualifications, ten for climbing and mountaineering and one for camping.

Why gain a Mountain Training qualification?
People who lead others in the hills have a unique opportunity to create powerful experiences and lasting memories for their groups. The fresh air, the sounds of nature, the physical exertion and the (hopefully!) breath-taking views are good for mind, body and soul. It's easy to understand why people are attracted to sharing that joy with others. Being qualified to lead is a great route to employment and can help with accessing funding and insurance if required.

Who are Mountain Training qualifications for?
Leadership qualifications are seen as the ultimate goal by some and provide an opportunity for those who are already leading to fill in any gaps and gain recognition.

Whether you're looking to progress your career, using them in a different professional setting e.g. as a school teacher, or if you're volunteering with adults and children in your community, getting qualified can allow you to develop your skills and offer more adventurous activities to the groups you work with.

Walking qualifications
There are three 'entry level' walk leader qualifications and choosing the right one for you is about what you want to do, where you want to do it and how much experience you have. The qualifications are:

1. Lowland Leader - to lead a group in lowland terrain, sticking to paths
2. Hill and Moorland Leader - to lead a group in more remote, upland country
3. Mountain Leader - to lead a group in steep, mountainous and rocky terrain

The main differences between the qualifications relate to the level of navigation required and whether it's on or off path, the nature of the terrain including unavoidable hazards like steep rocky steps, and how far you're likely to be from help in an emergency.

Climbing qualifications
Mountain Training also have three 'entry level' climbing qualifications. These are:

1. Indoor Climbing Assistant - to assist a suitably qualified climbing instructor
2. Climbing Wall Instructor - to supervise indoor climbing and bouldering
3. Rock Climbing Instructor - to supervise outdoor, single pitch climbing

How do Mountain Training qualifications work?
There are five stages to most Mountain Training qualifications:

1. Registration and recording your experience online
2. Training course
3. Consolidation - practising skills and making sure you can do everything in the syllabus
4. Assessment course
5. Continued personal development

Camping Leader and Indoor Climbing Assistant have a slightly different format with either online training or a combined training/assessment to reflect the shorter syllabus.

How long do qualifications take?
For most entry level qualifications, time taken from registration to passing assessment takes about 1-1.5 years on average. However, Indoor Climbing Assistant and Camping Leader can be completed very quickly. Mountain Leader usually takes longer with an average of 3.5 years.

These times all depend on how much experience you already have and how much time you're able to dedicate to practising between training and assessment - experienced people often complete qualifications much quicker.

The other higher qualifications are more specialist, and having existing entry level qualifications are a prerequisite.

Mountain Training support and development
Mountain Training provide a dedicated customer service team to support you throughout your journey with online resources and handbooks specific to each qualification, as well as a leadership community, the Mountain Training Association (MTA).

MTA supports people through the qualification journey, whether that's gaining experience, practising skills before assessment or excelling beyond qualification. Membership provides access to workshops and training, deals and discounts (including 20% off HARVEY Maps!), The Professional Mountaineer quarterly magazine and access to insurance.

How do I get started?
If you're ready to inspire those around you and get started on your leadership journey, then just get registered and book onto a course! Soon you'll be inspiring your friends, family, customers and community by sharing your love of adventure activities and the outdoors.

You can check out which of Mountain Training's qualifications is right for you.

If you're looking to develop your personal skills and gain more experience in walking and climbing, then take a look at our previous blog from Mountain Training about their Skills Courses.

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