Outdoor Adventure - Sport and Fitness SCQF level 5 NC

What is special about this course?

Do you have a sense of adventure that you’d like to share with others by pursuing a career in the great outdoors? Do you love spending time outdoors and the thrill of challenging activities?

This course is aimed at improving your personal competence in a range of outdoor adventure activities based in a world-class location. You will gain essential practical experience and accelerate your learning in challenging environments. The course is part of the School of Adventure Studies, giving unparalleled access to tuition from highly skilled and active adventure-sector practitioners, to guide you on your way in developing sound skills and experience in mountain, river and sea environments. It will prepare you well for a career in the outdoors, covering a range of performance awards as well as the Paddlesport Instructor Award.  We will support you in creating your own outdoor CV and finding a work experience placement that could lead to future employment.  It also provides a foundation for further academic study and the opportunity to progress to further courses within the School of Adventure Studies.

Core Skills are an integral part of the course and you will study ICT, Numeracy and Communication. These will be tied in with the other units you are studying and will enable you to move on with confidence to your next educational step or place of employment.

Entry requirements

Students must be 16 years of age at the start of the course.

Applicants should have at least three Standard Grades at credit/general level or three National 4s or above or equivalent combination of both; a passion for the outdoors (mountain and water environments); a good level of fitness and the ability to swim at least 50 metres.

All candidates will attend an interview, and if you do not meet all the entry requirements this can be discussed and your previous experience may still qualify you for entry to this course.

The course provides solid foundation skills in hillwalking, navigation (summer and winter), climbing, kayaking, canoeing and mountain biking.  It also offers a chance to try additional activities such as skiing, snowboarding, coasteering and stand-up paddleboarding. 

  • Paddle-sports and team work
  • Mountain sports and leadership
  • Mountain biking
  • Conservation and volunteering
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Fitness and exercise
  • Nutrition, health and wellbeing
  • Core Skills: numeracy, communication and ICT

You will also have the opportunity to obtain awards including:

  • BC Paddlesport Instructor (formally level 1 Coach)
  • BC Paddlesport Explore (formally 2*)
  • BC Foundation Safety and Rescue
  • 2 day HSE Outdoor First Aid
  • John Muir Trust Explore Award
  • National Indoor Climbing Wall Achievement Scheme levels 1 & 2
  • Go Mountain Bike Awards
  • NNAS Bronze and Silver Awards (navigation)

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

50% classroom based and 50%  practical.

How long will my course last?

34 Week

3 days per week throughout the academic year.

Where can I study my course?

    • Broadford

Start date



Most students have their course fees paid as this is a full time course. Please contact your local college learning centre or Student Services for more information.

Some of our courses require students to have essential equipment/clothing.

If you are 18 and over and are eligible for a bursary, these costs will be met through your bursary. If you are not eligible for a bursary, you will need to fund these items yourself.

If you are under 18, you are entitled to have essential equipment paid for whether you are entitled to EMA or not. However you must apply for EMA even if you know that you’re not entitled to EMA.

If in any doubt or if you want detailed information, please call student services on 01397 874321.


Students may qualify for bursary funding.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you’ve completed your course, you might like to consider our Certificate in Outdoor Leadership in Fort William, or similar course at SCQF level 6. You could also go straight into employment with your new practical qualifications.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I’ve learned loads on the course. I’ve loved it, particularly the variety of activities that we do. A bit of everything: kayaking, water sports, mountain sports and winter sports, with National Governing Body Awards available which are so useful. We also do conservation which is a really valid addition as it puts into perspective the work that goes in to maintaining the outdoors and the impact tourism and Adventure tourism has on landscape.

I think that Broadford on the Isle of Skye where the course is based is a 100% selling point. Skye is amazing and was part of the draw to learn in more than one place and also to prove to myself that I can work in a remote location.

I plan to go to Fort William next to do level 6 Certificate in Outdoor Leadership course and then choose one of the degrees. I want to go the whole way and have an Adventure career.

Andrew Watson

Apply for Outdoor Adventure - Sport and Fitness SCQF level 5 NC

We are no longer accepting applications for 2019/20

I want to start in 2020/21

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at West Highland College UHI. West Highland College operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.