1 semester/21 weeks

Instructor course

5 months of adventure

Our International Outdoor Instructor/Sports Coach Course is a fully immersive, professional foundation and adventure programme, taking place over twenty one weeks, with the opportunity to develop your skills as an outdoor instructor in a variety of exciting and diverse environments in Portugal and around Europe. Our course will provide you with everything you need to begin your career as an outdoor instructor/sports coach, along with a life changing opportunity for adventure.

The programme involves three core stages:
Training. 8 weeks.

Based in Portugal you will undergo the 10 weeks of instruction and training building your skills for a professional foundation ensuring the best start for your career as a multi activity outdoor instructor. During this process you will learn not just excellent foundational skills for the core disciplines but also the essentials of health and safety, leadership skills and programme design. An integral part of this process will be to practice these skills in diverse and exciting locations around Portugal.

Certifications. 8 weeks
Upon completion of the training stage, you will begin gaining the qualifications necessary to become a professional outdoor instructor. This will take place over two months. As part of this process, you will travel to some EU countries where you will undergo further training and experience in different landscapes while completing your certifications.

Expeditions.  5 weeks.

Expeditions are an excellent way to put your learning into practice. A vital part of being a professional outdoor instructor is about making important decisions in an ever-changing environment with many factors to consider such as health and safety, weather, and group management. You will have the opportunity to plan and design an expedition in the European countries of the group’s choice, with the support of your fully qualified trainers and guides.

Work Experience. One month (optional but highly recommended) 
Not essential but normally recommended for completing your training and to gain experience working in the field. This is a chance to hone your new skills with a professional company within a safe and supportive learning environment. You may choose to do so at our home base of Shark’s Lodge in Portugal or we can assist you with finding a professional placement of your choice.

What is involved

Rationale for the course design
After working in the outdoor industry for twenty-five years, both experiencing and leading courses around the world, we realised there is an element missing in the traditional instructor training courses. Most people who decide to enter this field do so because they have a love of adventure. So why not ensure this element is an integral part of the training itself?
Our course aims at:
• Getting you mentally and physically ready on a slow, steady pace, so you can absorb more of the experience
• Giving enough time and support for you to learn the skills in a comfortable manner
• Provide space and support for experiential learning introducing reflective practice from the beginning.
• Giving you proper, healthy, tasty food, that keeps you going and happy
• Letting you take control of your own learning as time goes by, making group decisions on places to go and activities to do
• Getting a set of qualifications that range from mountain to water, winter to summer, allowing you more flexibility in the future
• Learning skills on expeditions. Example: we will go down a river for a week, instead of driving to the same location for lessons everyday
• Having a relaxed atmosphere. We will train you to be professional, focused, competent and work under pressure, but without stress
• Allowing enough opportunities for you to gain the necessary experience to achieve the qualifications and to expand them with real world travel adventures.
• Have loads fun!!!


Qualifications that can be gained
EU recognised Level 1 Sports Coach Qualifications in:

– Surf, Stand Up Paddleboard, Bodyboard, Skimboard, Longboard, Orienteering, Canoe and Kayak, Climbing and Mountain Biking

– First Aid in Remote Locations

Why Portugal? 
Portugal offers a wide range of landscapes and weather conditions. We believe that this provides the perfect platform for learning by being able to offer this through experiencing a variety of conditions. Portugal is renowned for its sunshine but is does rain here and produce a wider variety of different conditions to train in. While you get mild weather coastal conditions in the winter there is snow on Portugal’s highest mountain Serra da Estrela. 
Our centre is in an ideal location in Portugal. With these locations at our doorstep:
• Berlengas UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
• Over 30 surf breaks in a 5km radius
• Sea cliffs with climbing routes 
• 4 National parks 1h away
• 2 large lakes 15km away

What our syllabus covers:
Hard Skills

• Hillwalking and mountain navigation
• Rock Climbing
• Canoeing
• Whitewater Kayaking
• Sea Kayaking
• Surfing
• Expedition Planning
• Expedition Video and Photography
• Bushcraft and survival training
• First Aid in remote areas training

. CrossFit training

• Kayak building 

• Stand up Paddle boarding

Soft Skills
• Foundations of Adventure Programming
• Practical and Organisational Skills for Outdoor Leaders
• Instruction and Facilitation in Adventure Programming
• Environmental education and Environmental ethics 
• Personal and social development
• Leadership
• Problem Solving
• Team Building and team work
• Team Management



Making the decision to choose the right training course is a significant undertaking, requiring financial and time commitments. 


Course Fee    6450€

Lodging and Food (optional) 

Equipment Package

The cost does not include:
Personal equipment, travel to Portugal, personal health and travel insurance (all outdoor activity companies in Portugal are obliged by law to carry insurance for participants during the activities. We do recommend you get extra insurance that covers you outside the training schedule).

Visas required for any countries travelled to during the expedition phase. Registration with governing bodies.