Gareth Clarke

Gareth came to us to change his career

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What triggered your interest in the outdoors?

I’ve always been interested in the outdoors! “What triggered your interest in working in the outdoor industry” was the desire for a change in direction. Having been made redundant from my previous job working in an office in London I released I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life wasting away doing something I hated. My wife and I wanted to readdress our work / life balance and do something we loved. In my case being outdoors. We spent some time travelling and then I saw an advert for the Fast Track scheme. The rest is history!

What are you currently doing?

Since the fast track I spent the first summer throwing myself into everything and anything to gain experience in all outdoor sectors. As I hadn’t taken my Mountain Leader assessment a lot of the work I did was on a voluntary basis but there were plenty of good companies to work for.
Once I passed my ML Summer in October 2016 more opportunities presented themselves, even though we headed into winter.
Since January 2017 I’ve been instructing in a local climbing wall and set up their NICAS scheme, gorge walking in the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales, leading on various large-scale events such as Yorkshire Three Peaks, leading small groups on National Three Peaks, lots of Duke of Edinburgh work (trainer / supervisor / assessor) all over the country, paddling instructor at a local outdoor education centre.

How has the Fast Track Scheme influenced this?

Before Fast Track I wasn’t working in the outdoor industry so it has been a huge influence. It gave me the way in I needed to jump start my career change and helped me find direction and focus for my ambitions.

What key bits of advice would you offer someone aspiring to do the scheme?

Make the most of your time at Plas y Brenin because unfortunately it will come to an end! Put your iPhone down, unless you’re taking pictures of the mountains, turn off the TV, listen to the professionals and immerse yourself in everything outdoors and open your mind.
Look very carefully as what pre-requisites are needed for each qualification and maybe don’t attempt all of them as you will not be able to consolidate in time.

What is your fondest memory from Fast Track?

There are too many!
I didn’t put any pressure on myself when I started the scheme and wanted to enjoy living for four months in the mountains. For me the fondest memory was the learning. Learning about new techniques and skills, different ways of coaching, new interests that became passions and learning about myself.
And the views!