Our latest Jobs of the Wild article gives information on working for one of the UK’s leading adventure holiday companies, PGL. My sister and outdoor inspiration, Joey Holmes, spent a couple of seasons working for the company over 10 years ago. The experience she gained there set her up for a life of inspiring outdoor adventures, and it can do the same for you. Check out her brilliant outdoor website Cool of the Wild.
PGL Adventure Holidays
PGL, named after the initials of its founding member Peter Gordon Lawrence, has provided activity holidays in the UK and abroad since 1957, with over 400,000 guests currently visiting one of the 22 activity centres each year. PGL tailors adventure holidays for schools, groups and families.
As an employer, PGL offers outdoor career opportunities, gap year jobs, apprenticeships and seasonal jobs or career breaks. You can work at their centres in the UK, France and Spain and can obtain NVQs and other nationally recognised qualifications whilst working. In addition to outdoor instructor work there are also retail, housekeeping, catering and language jobs.
Instructor, multi-activity canoe and kayak: Delivering taster sessions of various outdoor activities to groups of kids on residential holidays. These activities included climbing, abseiling, low ropes course, high ropes course, zip wire, orienteering, canoeing, kayaking, raft building, orienteering, fencing and quad bikes.
£200-250 per week with accommodation and food provided
If you have or gain qualifications you get extra money each week and if you become a senior instructor the pay is also more.
No qualifications required, initially, training is given as necessary.
- High energy
- Able to talk to and relate to kids of all ages
- Love for being outside
A 10-day initial course teaches the basics of how to deliver the core multi-activity sessions. Additional evening training sessions provide in-house qualifications for the rope-based activities, and nationally recognised qualifications for canoeing and kayaking.
Top Tips for Interview
Show your enthusiasm for the outdoors and an interest for working with kids. Joey had done work experience in a school and was a young leader at her local Girl Guide unit for years, which may have helped. She also had Theatre Studies and PE A-levels and held the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Top Tips for Doing the Job
- Take advantage of as much of the training offered as possible
Joey says: ‘At the end of my first season I came away with a BCU Level 2 Coaching certificate in both canoeing and kayaking. Only a handful of the instructor staff were given the opportunity. Those that did were the ones that showed willing and were committed to the training. I then taught canoeing with PGL out in France and Spain’.
- Working alongside awesome, like-minded people
- Working with kids, which is always fun and endlessly entertaining
- Making a real and meaningful impact on the lives of young people and children
- Working outside most of the time
The pay is not great and you only get 1 day off per week.
8am – 5pm, 6 days per week, with one night per week on night duty, and 1 night per week on evening entertainments.
None daily as you live on site but there are centres all over Europe – Joey worked in the UK centre in Shrewsbury and in the Ardeche in France and La Fosca in Spain.
Anything Else to Consider?
The social life is similar to being at University. You live on site, and build very strong friendships, with plenty of partying. Unless you become a senior instructor, manager or go on to be a freelance instructor (all of which are very seasonal), it can be difficult to make a career out of it. But people do, and love it!
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