Otago Polytechnic

New Zealand Certificate in Outdoor and Adventure Education (Multi-skilled) (Level 4)*


Central Otago and Dunedin

One year full-time (34 teaching weeks)

On and off campus with field trips throughout the year (some of these will be overnight)

February 2019

Replacing the Certificate in Outdoor Pursuits (Level 4)

New for 2019, this redesigned and redeveloped qualification will give you the core skills and knowledge you need to work in the Outdoor and Adventure Education industry. 

A great first step into outdoor education, this one-year Certificate programme includes white water kayaking, rock climbing and sea kayaking. 

With the spectacular and world-renowned adventure playground of Otago as your classroom, embrace the chance to work with some of the most qualified instructors in New Zealand. This programme will also enhance your understanding and skills in leadership, personal communication, group interaction and sustainable practice. 

Graduates may be eligible to apply for full registration on the New Zealand Register of Recreation Professionals (NZRRP). 

This qualification may enable you to engage in paid or volunteer roles as a trainee instructor, leader or guide within community and private outdoor or adventure education/recreation/tourism providers. 

Alternatively, upon successful completion, you will be eligible for entry into the New Zealand Certificate in Outdoor and Adventure Education (Multi-skilled) (Level 5)* to further your studies.  

Coming soon!

Watch this space for more details including entry requirements and course content or contact the Programme Manager, Pete Eley (peter.eley@op.ac.nz) to discuss the programme. 

*subject to final approval

Graduate profile

Graduates of this qualification will be able to:

  1. Manage themselves across a range of outdoor activities, taking into account into account equipment, weather, local conditions, logistics and safety management.
  2. Apply principles of health, physical and psychological performance to enhance personal competence and safe participation for a range of outdoor activities. 
  3. Apply a framework of kaitiakitanga that incorporates respect for the tikanga and kawa of local iwi and/or hapū, sustainability, and the environment in which they are operating. 
  4. Use leadership theories to inform personal leadership and leadership of peers in a range of outdoor activities. 
  5. Apply the safety management system of an organisation, including being able to respond appropriately within an emergency care situation. 
  6. Plan, prepare and lead outdoor activities in low-risk, low technical outdoor environments, under direct supervision.
Entry requirements
  • Open entry.
  • If English is not your first language, you must also demonstrate an IELTS overall band score (Academic) of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5.0.  

All applicants for the Certificate must also:

    • Submit a log demonstrating they have completed 20 days of outdoor experience in an applicable outdoor recreation experience. (Tramping, camping etc)
    • Have a reasonable level of fitness including the ability to swim a minimum of 50 meters and the ability to carry a full overnight tramping pack on multi day trips
Additional information 

We will also require you to complete a New Zealand Police Consent to Disclosure of Information form.

Additional costs

You will need to supply some of your own equipment during this programme. You will be sent a detailed equipment list as part of your enrolment pack.

Your workload

Your week will run from Monday to Thursday with Friday being an Independent Learning day (you are expected to practise skills learned during the programme on these days). This is a full-time programme and a typical practical week may involve between 20-30 contact hours, which may include online components. You should commit yourself to a 9.00am-4.30pm day, but these times may vary, especially during daylight saving months. In addition, there are field trips during the year when you will be required to be away for one or more nights.

Further study options

Students who pass this Certificate will be eligible for entry into our New Zealand Diploma in Outdoor and Adventure Education (Multi-skilled) (Level 5)*. This is replacing our Diploma in Outdoor Leadership and Management (Level 5)Opportunities exist for you to bridge into other Institute of Sport and Adventure qualifications and you could increase your career prospects with our Bachelor of Applied Science degree.

*subject to final approval

Student loans/allowances

Student loans and allowances are for domestic students only. For information about student loans and allowances please visit the Studylink website. It is important to apply for your student loan/allowance at the same time as you apply for this programme, due to the length of time Studylink take to process. Loan/allowance applications can be cancelled at any time if you decide to withdraw your programme application or if it is unsuccessful. 

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive knowledge and skills due to practical experience in this area, enquire about our recognition of prior learning process at Capable NZ. You may have already gained credits towards this qualification.

Links to useful websites

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.

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