Meet Andy Cash, our new Outdoor Specialist Trainer
I have joined Skern Training and Skills as an Outdoor Specialist Trainer delivering the new Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeships. This post fits consistently with the pattern of my career - I have always worked in roles which aim to establish new or develop pre-existing programs. I eat sleep and breath outdoor learning and I have a personal passion for delivering high quality outdoor training experiences. I believe outdoor education really has transformative effects on personal growth.
Reflecting on career successes, at 20 I developed a new outdoor department for a pupil referral unit where the program directly related to the successful reintegration of 30% of students back into mainstream school. At the same time, I also set-up a Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) open award centre alongside my role as a youth worker. Another proud moment was developing a full-time outdoor education program for a behaviour-based school. During the 6 years in the role, I took the team through a dramatic transformation - from picking up buoyancy aids off the garage floor through to designing and overseeing the build of a fully independent outdoor centre.
Most recently I led the first cohorts of students through the BTEC in Sport and Outdoor Activities where my teaching practices were recognised across a large land-based college. This was during the difficult and unpredictable Covid-19 pandemic, this challenging teaching environment led me to quickly develop a blended learning approach to cope with the ever changing working conditions. This was a particularly difficult for students, and I take great pride in the level of support I was able to provide and building some incredible relationships as a result.
My personal practice is guided by a philosophy to support the personal growth and development of all my learners on a truly humanistic level. I intentionally say ‘my learners’ as I fully embrace the responsibility and crucial role I hold as an educator and the value that each interaction has in potentially changing somebody’s world. Over time it has been amazing to hear from previous learners and the comments they have shared about the impact of their outdoor learning. Now, my focus has shifted towards developing other instructors, so they have the tools to equally inspire and impact positively on those they interact with.
The outdoor theme runs through every part of my life, and I am equally passionate about my climbing and mountaineering. I particularly enjoy committing to more exposed climb’s such long mountain routes, sea cliffs and frozen waterfalls. Equally I train hard at my local wall so that when I go outside, I can crush it. On the water I am a keen recreational paddler on easy white water and SUP. Alongside this, I have held national governing body awards for many years - the highlight in my coaching career was when one of my athletes, a member of the climbing squad where I coached, won the BMC national youth competition for her age group, and was later selected for team GB.
My energy and excitement is ignited when working with people within an outdoor context. I feel truly alive and creative when delivering outdoor learning and doing outdoor activities. I love creating greater opportunities for high quality learning experiences, I value each of my learners immensely and believe that each interaction has the chance of instigating a positive behaviour change.