Lee Pritchard, University of Worcester, runs the Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Management course and came to Rockley Academy to talk to the BTEC students on what university can offer them in the outdoor industry.
Jack reflects back on his time at university and how his course shaped his career.
Now, no one goes into the outdoor and watersports industries to become a millionaire overnight. It just doesn’t work like that! You are better off working in an investment bank. But, you can taste the ultimate job satisfaction, no matter what your role is. They often say “it is a lifestyle choice” and in most cases they are right. I have spent five years through college and university learning and working in the industry and the transition for me moving into a full time role with Rockley Watersports was the end product. I have now been here for just over seven years and I love it just as much today as I did when I first started.
Where I started….
In September 2005 and 16 years old, I made my move towards a vocational study rather than staying on for Sixth Form and started at Kingston Maurward College on the Outdoor Adventure BTEC course, thus making my first step into the outdoor industry, in which I had very little background in before. Having always played sports at a high level, the transition was smooth and with the help of the outdoor instructors I soon got the bug for the outdoors. The best thing I found at college was the time the course gave you to get out and participate in your hobbies as well as helping you gain new skills and qualifications.
Towards the Christmas of year two, I soon realised that I didn’t want to stop my journey there and had to think hard about whether I could transition towards university and getting a degree. I looked for the most relevant courses and found the Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Management course at the University of Worcester. I never thought that I would go to university, let alone move so far away. It was by far, the BEST thing I ever did!
University of Worcester and Lee Pritchard
In 2007, I moved into halls of residence on the main campus. It was brilliant. My initial wobble from moving away from to one side, I settled in and quickly and started to make the most of what university brings at both ends!
I found that when looking for the right course and the right location, Worcester fitted this to a tee. What better than the adventure playground of Wales on your doorstep and all other venues accessible within a few hours. You also have to think about what the course entails and Lee Pritchard couldn’t be a better advocate for what a degree in Outdoor Adventure is all about. It’s not just the word crunching at the laptop, or the endless lectures, but it is getting out there and making your experience a greater one. When your course tutor is putting on extra trips outside of the course content and looking at all the ways that he can make a difference to your career then you have to think that you have chosen the right place to be!
When Lee messaged me about coming down to see our current BTEC students, I leapt at the chance. The Rockley BTEC is designed to help the pupils create a career for themselves when they leave. They have some of the best tutors in the business, that have the desire to help them achieve their goals as well as some of the best instructors in the watersports industry on hand full time to help them achieve their instructor qualifications as part of the course.
Lee spoke about the benefits that the University of Worcester have to offer as well what careers you can work towards when you leave, but more importantly it is the enthusiasm for making your career as good as it can be that Lee really excels. The course offers the chance for pupils to spend a semester learning overseas in locations such as Norway and America, as well as monthly trips around some of the UK’s most iconic outdoor playgrounds. The pupils have been shown the kinds experiences that Lee offers and some real excitement and meaningful questions have come out of today. Hopefully we will see some of our BTEC students at Rockley experiencing the “Worcester way” in the years to come.
Ian Brown, Rockley Year two lead tutor said: “This is something that really excites me, let alone the pupils. Lee has really opened up their eyes to what university life is like and what a fantastic course that he and the University of Worcester run! The possibilities are endless”