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Advanced Outdoor Activity Instructor (Sports, Recreation & Exercise)

This course provides learners with an opportunity to achieve up to five instructorship awards in canoeing, sea kayaking, rock climbing, orienteering and trail cycling as well as the training required to become a mountain leader.

Available through CAO
Apply now

What will I study?

  • Open Canoeing Instruction (6N5349) - Including Canoeing Ireland Level 4 proficiency training and assessment and Level 2 instructor training and assessment
  • Orienteering Instruction (6N5190) - Orienteering Ireland Orienteering Instructor Award
  • Sea Kayaking Instruction (6N5193) - Including Canoeing Ireland Essential Coastal Navigation Course, Level 4 proficiency training and assessment and Level 2 instructor training and assessment
  • Single Pitch Rock-climbing (6N5845) - Including Mountaineering Ireland Rock Climbing Instructor (RCI) Assessment
  • Sports Industry Practice (6N4650)
  • Team Leadership (6N1948)
  • Trail Cycle Leader Instruction Skills (6N4946) - Including Cycling Ireland Trail Cycle Leader training and assessment
  • Work Experience (6N1947)

Why should I apply?

If you want to spend your time outdoors introducing others to the joy and adventure that Irelands environment has to offer, then you are in the right place.

This course is aimed at those individuals that have already gained some qualifications in the outdoors and want to further develop their instructorship and leadership skills. You will also explore the interpersonal skills for leading groups and environmental education knowledge to help connect the people you take outdoors to the environments that they are recreating in. Through engagement in a variety of sports as well as developing some theoretical knowledge to support those instructorships, the learner will develop the skills and knowledge to create a long and enjoyable career in the outdoors.

This course allows our learners to be flexible and innovative by equipping them with a broad range of awards across disciplines ensuring a sustainable career in the outdoors. You will be able to take on many different roles within organisations or to confidently setup your own business.

All Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required to participate on the course will be supplied and will become your own property on successful completion of the course. This includes hiking boots, rain gear, backpacks, wetsuits, cags, harnesses, helmets and climbing shoes amongst other equipment. In addition to this you will pay no fees whatsoever for the course!

This course is a path to explore the different educational and employment opportunities in the outdoor recreation sector. 

What are the progression opportunities?

When a learner finishes our Advanced Outdoor Activity Instructor course, they have a number of progression opportunities open to them.

Many of our learners choose to progress directly into the job market and have found employment in a range of roles such as activity instructor, tour guide, social care activity provider and many other areas of this varied and broad sector. This Outdoor Workforce Map gives you a good indication of the many areas of work one could access upon completion of the Advanced Outdoor Activity Instructor course.

Or a learner may choose to continue on their educational journey and pursue higher awards. The successful learner on this course is awarded a QQI level 6 Sports, Recreation and Exercise major award. The sector specific NGB qualifications listed above are embedded within this QQI award. Upon completion of this course learners can apply for entry into a number of outdoor recreation, outdoor learning and outdoor education degree courses.

Participants can also focus on the advancement of their outdoor instruction qualifications. You will have trained in open canoeing, sea-kayaking, orienteering, trail biking, hillwalking and rock climbing and there are opportunities to progress further through the National Governing Body (NGB) award frameworks in all of these disciplines:

If you complete a QQI major award with Kerry College, you may use your results to progress to third level (University, Technological University or Institute of Technology). You should check individual university websites for specific entry criteria for courses.

There is a separate section on the CAO application for applying using your QQI results from Kerry College in the same way you use your Leaving Certificate results. You may also apply under the QQI Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS). A limited number of places are available each year.

See the following links for further information (all open in a new page).

CAO Information for FET Students

Look-up CAO Requirements

Qualifax – Further Education

About the Higher Education Links Scheme

Search Higher Education Links courses – Careers Portal

What are the employment opportunities?

Outdoor recreation is becoming more popular and with this popularity there is an increasing need for highly skilled Outdoor Instructors. These instructors are finding work in tourism, education, youth services and supports and in training provision to say but a few.

The outdoor sector is a broad and varied sector that allows for innovative ideas of what one can do as an outdoor instructor. This Outdoor Workforce Map will give you a snapshot of the multidisciplinary opportunities that are open to those of us who begin our training as outdoor instructors. Your imagination and ingenuity are the only limits to what you can do. So, whether you want to work with children in the outdoors or you want to be an expedition leader, your journey starts here.

What are the entry requirements?


  • You have a Level 5 award in a related area, NGB certifications, and/or relevant professional experience.
  • Applicants must be 18+ years of age on entry to the course.
  • Mature applicant route available for applicants aged 23+.
  • Competent written and spoken English (CEFR B2 or Higher).
  • Non-EU/EEA applicants must have permission to work in Ireland.
  • You have completed Level 1 Kayak Instructor (essential), Rock Climbing Instructor Training (essential), and Mountain Skills (desirable).
      • (If you have any questions about completing these certifications please contact the Killorglin Campus on 066 9769244)


  • High level of physical fitness is essential.
  • Understanding of and sensitivity towards the natural environment.
  • Demonstrate participation, membership or leadership in sporting and outdoor activities is an advantage but not essential.
  • Excellent communication & interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent numeracy skills.
  • Basic computer skills.
  • Positive, adaptable, self-motivated team player.
  • Garda vetting is a requirement for this programme and participation is subject to a satisfactory outcome of the Garda vetting process.

What is the certification?

QQI Level 6 Major Award Certificate in Sports, Recreation & Exercise (6M5147)


There are no fees payable on this course. All materials and books are provided.
Learner payments may be available to some applicants.

Full-time Courses - FAQs

FET is short for Further Education & Training. Kerry College is an integrated college of FET which means we offer further education programmes which lead to third-level progression along with a range of employment-focused skills training programmes. We also offer a range of apprenticeships.

No, but if you are, you may qualify for a Training Allowance or Back to Education Allowance.

All of our employment-focused full-time day courses are fee-free and fully funded. Places are subject to an admissions interview and our course capacity - which can be as low as 14 in some cases.

Again, you don't need to be on a social welfare payment to apply or secure a place. 

Our progression-focused courses are full time programmes and run from September to May each year. They provide you with the time and opportunity to explore a potential career and study path - before committing to a third level course of study.

You can achieve up to 390 points on our courses for progression which you can in turn use to access a range of third-level courses.

Kerry College has agreements in place with many Institutes of Technologies and Universities to allow our students to progress to study there.

You'll need to work hard though, achieving a full range of distinctions is often a requirement to progress.

Our employment-focused courses are full-time programmes focused on building knowledge, skill, and ability and essential qualifications to enter the jobs market.

Most have integrated work practice and/or industry placement. Many include unique, professional micro-certifications which further increase your employability.

Our courses for employment are a great choice for those wishing to career change, reskill, upskill, or start your career.

Specific entry criteria will vary depending on the course.

For most courses for employment, you must have completed a minimum of three years post-primary education or have a Junior Certificate. Some courses for employment require that you are either 18+ or 21+ before applying. Check each course page for further details.

For most courses for further study and university progression, applicants must be at least 16 years of age at course start date and ideally have a Leaving Certificate, LCVP, LCA or at the least QQI Level 4 Major Award. 

Mature students (over 23) may also apply. 

If you do not meet the specific entry criteria, you may be called for an information interview to secure a place, unless an interview is already part of the admissions process.

The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a ten-level system (1–10) giving an academic or vocational value to qualifications obtained in Ireland.

Kerry College offers programmes at Levels 5 and 6 but also a range of industry-recognised professional certifications.

In addition, we also offer a number of pathway courses at Level 4.

A Minor award is commonly referred to as a module - but also as a component certificate or a certificate of unit credit. 

These single 'modules' may be completed and certificated individually. All minor awards are linked to a major award that allows learners to collect and build their minor awards and work towards gaining a major award. 

A Major award is a significant achievement and usually comprises of 8 minor awards or modules.

Gaining a major award allows progression to a range of third-level programmes or qualifies you for an entry-level job where you can build on your qualification with experience.

Our Monavalley Campus has full-time courses starting every month of the year. These courses range from 8 weeks to 56 weeks in duration. We don't do a mid-term or Easter break at Monavalley. Our Campus Locations at Clash Road, Denny Street, and Listowel run by the academic calendar - starting in September and ending in May and include breaks at mid-term and Easter. Our academic year is 38 contact weeks- so when you see 39 weeks, it's a year-long course of 38 weeks plus one week for Christmas.

Applications for all full-time programmes should be made online via the Kerry College website. Your application will be processed using FETCHCOURSES - the National FET Course Application System.

If you haven't signed up for a FETCH account, you'll need to do this first. It's free and a one-time setup.

Applicants are allowed to have a maximum of three live applications for full-time Kerry College courses.

FETCH COURSES is the national application system for all FET course applications. 

All new applicants must set up a free account on You must use this to apply for all further education and training progarmmes anywhere in Ireland. 

For existing FETCH COURSES account holders, login and apply as before. 

You can reset your password using your email or mobile phone. When you do, make sure you keep it for future reference.

Bear in mind, FETCH uses your PPS number to identify you - so although you might be able to set up a second account - it won't work properly.

If you're still stuck, contact our Tralee Admissions team on 066-714 96 96 or Killarney Admissions team on 064-662 25 93.

We use the admissions interview to ensure minimum entry requirements are met and to pre-screen applicants for work practice and/or industry placement. We also assess which applicants will gain the most from spending some time at Kerry College.

In preparation for the interview, consider why you’ve applied for the course, know the modules and the overall award, what you need to learn, and how you plan to use your new skills. You'll need to bring a copy of your CV and any relevant certificates.

In cases where there is a high demand for a course, you need to do well at the interview to make it onto the class-list.

Sometime, applicants don't meet the minimum entry criteria but feel they have the aptitute and experience to successfully complete the course. This is often where a mature learner is returning to education without a Leaving Certificate. 

Get in touch with us at the Tralee Admisisons Office on 066-714 96 96 or Killarney Admissions Office on 064- 662 25 93 where we will discuss your application with you.

Yes, you do. A lot can change in a year and we always like to catch up with you and see how we can help.

You have 3 funding routes to explore. If eligible, you may receive one of the following on a full-time Kerry College course:

Learner Payment, Back to Education Allowance, and SUSI Grant.


Also known as a Training Allowance. If you are on a qualifying DEASP payment, you may continue to receive this payment as a Learner Payment while on any full-time course at Kerry College. An F103 form is issued by Kerry College to applicants who accept a course place. This form must be completed by you and stamped and signed by DEASP/INTREO. Bring it with you on the first day of the course to have your Learner Payment processed. 


When you have been accepted onto any full-time course at Kerry College and you feel you may qualify for a Back To Education Allowance, notify DEASP by filling in the form BTE 1 – available for download here:


You may qualify for a SUSI Grant (via if you have applied for a SUSI approved course. Check their website for this list which includes many Kerry College courses for third level progression.

The responsibility for researching and applying for funding and financial supports is yours. We are always available to point you in the right direction though!

If you can't take up your place, you should let our team know immediately, so we can offer your place to another applicant.

We don't have a deferral policy in place for our full-time courses. 

Unfortunately, this is not possible.

Your Learner Payment payment (also called a training allowance) is payable on receipt of signed and stamped F103 form at course start. We send an individualised F103  to all successful applicants. If you are on a qualifying social welfare payment, DEASP/INTREO will stamp and sign this for you.

Our courses for employment are free. If you can attend full time, you can apply for a place. Despite not qualifying for funding or a grant, you may still get a travel payment (if you live more than 3 miles/5km away from the campus location) or an accommodation payment (if you live more than 20 miles/32km away from the campus location).

Our courses for progression are free. At present, travel or accommodation payments are not part of these courses. 

Kerry College has abolished all online application fees and is working to make Further Education & Training free for everyone in County Kerry.

The NCS (National Childcare Scheme) is now in place and provides childcare supports for those on full-time education and training programmes. Full details can be found on the webpage.

Get in touch with Kerry County Childcare Committee at (066) 718 1582 to discuss which childcare supports are available to you should you enroll on a full-time FET course.

Still have questions?

Contact our Kerry College Admissions Offices –  Tralee on 066 714 9696, Killarney on 064 662 2593 or [email protected]

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