“An interest in the outdoors makes you more employable”

 In Challenges, Outdoor Skills, Tracey Ann Breese
Outdoor Skills and Employment.

Yesterday we spent the day at Outdoor North Wales Forum. This is a great opportunity every year to find out about important developments in our sector and meet other businesses from all over North Wales. I always come away feeling like we belong to something big and amazing.

This year I came away with one thought I couldn’t get out of my head.

Rock climber James McHaffie presented to us the work he has been doing with the BMC to encourage young people into climbing. In typical climber fashion he presented with a passion for his sport and at times a language which only those who know a bit about climbing will ‘get’. My son is a rock climber and I am always amused by the way he talks about climbing, the language he uses and the names of the routes he reels off expecting that every else knows exactly what he’s talking about! I don’t think they even realise they do it..

I was particularly fascinated once ‘Caff’ started talking about climbing and the link to careers. Not just careers in the outdoors but jobs and careers in general. I’ve always been committed to personal development and as a lover of physical challenges the outdoors has played a massive part in this for me.

Fascinated also because as a former employer, employability tutor and CV writer (call me weird but writing CV’s or helping people write theirs is actually a hobby of mine!) I can see how the skills we develop in the outdoors translate in a working environment.

So this was the quote from James McHaffie that inspired this blog I’ve been meaning to write for ages..

“An interest in the Outdoors makes you more Employable”

Something that I have banged on about to anyone who will listen to me long enough is that taking part in the Nijmegen Marches taught me so much about myself and what I was capable of that I could rip up my CV and write a new one based entirely on those 4 days. But it doesn’t have to be a big 4 day personal challenge, it can be just spending time in the outdoors which helps you develop skills and characteristics that employers love.
So I thought I’d share with you the 5 main skills which are important in a working environment that I believe you strengthen in the outdoors.


There are times taking part in outdoor activities and challenges when you are in a situation where you may feel uncomfortable, scared or maybe even in pain. I debated putting this one down as Focus, because it’s the focus on the end goal that keeps you moving in the right direction but I think it’s a bit more than that. You have to be really determined to get there.

Remember, if you can get through this you can get through anything.


The ability to rise to and adapt to challenges and changes we are faced with. Being able to ‘bounce back’ and have another go if things don’t go to plan the first time. Knowing that we get stronger through each challenge we face.

Nature is a fantastic teacher in resilience.

Remember, it’s not about failing, it’s about learning and trying again.


Taking part in outdoor activities and challenges makes us more aware of:


What we are capable of, what our potential is. How we react in different situations and what we need to do to improve ourselves and our skills.

Also how we react to others in situations we are not used to.

Especially useful for self-motivation.


How others react in similar situations and how they react to us. How we communicate with others to get the best from every situation and the way we adapt our roles within different ‘teams’ and in different situations depending on what our ‘team’ needs form us.

Especially useful for developing Leadership skills and/or customer experience knowledge.

Environmental awareness

What is going on around us. The impact we have on the environment and what we can do to minimise this.

Decision Making and Problem Solving

Being faced with challenges in the outdoors is a fantastic way to learn to focus on and solve problems in other life situations. In the outdoors you have no choice but to face the issue and find a solution. We need to be creative in the use of resources and be able to break down the problem. We may also find ourselves in situations where decisions need to be made quickly!

Positive Attitude

Just being outdoors effects our attitude, makes us feel better and happier. There is research everywhere which shows how the outdoors improves our mental health and our outlook on life, making us more positive. The change of environment helps us see the bigger picture and gives us the chance to escape, change our pace of life and put stress into perspective.

Tip: Surround yourself with positive (outdoor) people 🙂


There are obviously loads more I could add to this list but I thought I’d keep it simple. I’d love to hear about your top 5!


Outdoor North Wales Forum is organised every year by Snowdonia Active and was held at Glasdir in Llanrwst.

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