Bushwalking Leadership Training

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Bushwalking peak bodies and some clubs run formal training in aspects of bushwalking leadership and the skills required by a bushwalking trip leader, such as bush navigation.

Many clubs and the state bushwalking peak bodies encourage their leader members to have a current first aid qualification and support that by subsidising the cost and organising courses specifically geared to bushwalkers.

However it is a challenging undertaking for a club or even a peak body to establish and run a community-based comprehensive bushwalking leadership training program for recreational bushwalkers. Key requirements include:

  1. A training program – content, activities and support materials.
  2. Experienced leaders to deliver the program
  3. Covering costs of training
  4. Sufficient suitable and committed participants for the program. 

A resource from the United Kingdom

In relation to point 1; program development, a very good resource is the leadership programs run by Mountain Training UK.

There are three levels of walking leadership training: 

The course materials are excellent; most comprehensive and clearly written, although they reflect the environment in the United Kingdom and Ireland.   

For example:

An important feature of this UK Leadership Training is the inclusion of a “Consolidation Phase”, where participants are expected to develop their skills and gain experience across a range of terrain, conditions and groups, in a guided, structured and systematic way over an extended period.

The Victorian Bushwalking and Mountaincraft Leadership Course, which gave rise to the original printed book form of this manual as support material for the course, had the same approach, calling it Interim Training. Course participants were expected to spend one or two years developing their skills and gaining a breath of experience and reflecting on that, under the guidance of a mentor. This is also referred to as “experienced-based training”.

This common approach is no surprise as both the Australian Bushwalking and Mountaincraft Leadership Certificate course and the current UK Mountain Training Program had their origins in the outstanding work of the Mountain Leadership Training Boards of Great Britain and Northern Island in the 1960s and 1970s.    

Any use of these UK materials should be acknowledged.

Professional outdoor leader training

Professional outdoor leader training is available through university degrees in outdoor education and there are TAFE certificate courses in outdoor skills, but these are not geared to recreational bushwalkers.  Content considerations aside, the time commitment and formal requirements of these courses are well outside what is reasonable or practical for most recreational bushwalkers.