Currently a 2nd year BA Adventure Tourism Management student studying at West Highland College UHI.
I did my placement with The Outward Bound Trust at their Loch Eil Centre. This placement came about as I knew of them via some practical sessions I did there as part of my course. I really liked their ethos about working with young people, so I decided along with a fellow student, to ask if it was possible to do a work placement with them. The recruitment process was very relaxed and consisted of e-mails and a few phone calls to establish the best way to go about fulfilling all the required hours.
The placement was very relevant to my studies, especially for my second semester’s work, as practices at Outward Bound Trust were analysed as part of one of my modules. The initial five days shadowing an instructor gave me a real insight into what it was like to be working in the environment where the focus was the young people. It also gave me a good idea to the average working week and how full on it can be. The second part of my placement, being part of the stores and maintenance team, wasn’t so relevant to my studies but gave a greater understanding to how Outward Bound Trust as a whole works.
As I had three different roles during my placement, my responsibilities varied from one of a group leader to one of cleaning sheds. Overall, I found a new level of respect for those who are working at these types of centres as the amount of work needed to run, just a one week session is phenomenal. Probably my most valuable experience was watching the Instructor I was shadowing deal with potentially stressful or dangerous situations as young adults’ hormones kicked in after very little sleep.
Impact on future career aims
Skills such as time-management, organisation and decision making were all of vital importance to this role as an OB Instructor, so having the chance to see how different people manage situations and organise themselves in accordance to their task, was really useful as it has given me lots of “tools” to utilise when I myself am instructing a group.
I would whole heartedly recommend anyone to take a work placement module. It gives you a better understanding of what it is really like to be in the working world, and ultimately helps you decide if it really is what you want to do when you finish education. To get the most out of your work placement, make sure you are organised and you know where you need to be at what time. Make notes and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get stuck in, you get out what you put in. Ask for feedback, good and bad, it’ll really help see what you need to work on and what you are already doing well at. Have fun, don’t be afraid to socialise, it gives you a better feel of what it’s like to be part of that team.