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Outdoor Adventure (Sports) Level 3 Diploma at Darlington College

Course description

This course provides you with the opportunity to acquire substantial vocational expertise for the outdoor industry. Practical units will make use of the region’s countryside and indoor adventure venues to develop skills in disciplines such us kayaking, canoeing, navigation and rock climbing.  Meanwhile, theoretical units will provide the scientific and technical knowledge required to succeed in coaching and leadership, whilst enabling students to progress to higher education pathways.

If you have not achieved a C grade or above in English or maths, you will as part of your course be required to work towards this as part of your study programme.  You will be given the opportunity to go on work experience at certain times during your course.

To develop your employability opportunities you may also be given enrichment classes. This may focus upon additional qualifications, industrial updating and career preparation

Course content

Mandatory units

  • Principles of anatomy and physiology in sport
  • The physiology of fitness
  • Assessing risk in sport
  • Fitness training and programming
  • Leadership in sport
  • Principles and practices in outdoor adventure
  • Equipment and facilities for outdoor and adventurous activities

Specialist units

  • Skills for land-based
  • Skills for water-based
  • Leading water-based
  • Leading land-based
  • Alternative pursuits for outdoor adventure
  • Impact and sustainability in outdoor adventure

Full coaching and training will be provided throughout the course. However it is vital that you are fully aware of the environmental conditions that can be experienced in the UK, and are prepared to accept them as part of your learning.

Entry requirements

5 GCSEs grades A*-C including English or an appropriate level 2 qualification (at a merit if graded) and a satisfactory school report. We will request a school or college report and you will attend an interview at the college.

You should be able to swim 50m prior to enrolment.

This course does not require you to be experienced in outdoor/adventurous activities upon entry.

Future opportunities


This course provides you with UCAS points; the key to entering university courses. Many foundation degrees are also offered at local colleges, and provide a more gradual and vocationally orientated progression route.

  • BSc/BA Outdoor Education/Leadership
  • FD Outdoor Leadership
  • BA Environmental Studies
  • BSc Sport and Exercise (Coaching)


You have the opportunity to access National Governing Body Qualifications (at your own cost) throughout the course. Links with employers and training providers will guide this. Typical awards accomplished include:

  • BCU - 2 star/ foundation safety and rescue – assessed internally
  • BCU UKCC Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Paddle Sport
  • SPA Training
  • Level 2 Award in Assisting in Basic Expedition Leadership

This will support progression into employment in Outdoor Centres, coaching and privately run venues.

The outdoor industry can be an extremely rewarding environment to work in. Career opportunities are diverse; ranging from working in disability-specific outdoor centres through to self-employed coaching opportunities. Some careers will require further study at higher education level, for example teaching or centre management. Hence, this programme offers a maximum of 280 UCAS points (depending on performance) to enable progression to higher education.

Previous students have gone on to work as Trainers of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, Educational Outdoor Therapists, Snowboard Instructors, Stunt Actors or joined the Royal Navy.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Darlington College directly.

Last updated date: 08 March 2016
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