I am often asked how does one go about selecting a bushcraft course provider? There are many bushcraft schools across the globe to choose from. This is a very difficult question to answer because we are all looking for a different experience. There are many considerations when deciding which course best suits your needs. Price, location and syllabus are important factors.
Value for money is always a contentious concept. One person will be comfortable paying considerably more for a course than another. When I am looking for training the price is obviously a consideration. However I am generally more concerned by value. When someone is considering a course with Forest Knights we are always happy to discuss their needs and expectations. Some of the common concerns are:
- Where are you? Location, Location Location. It’s a cliche but the venue of a course is a major factor when considering spending your hard earned cash. Is the venue suitable for the activity? A fire lighting master class in a conifer plantation with peat soil may not be the best spot.
- Is the site big enough to minimise the environmental impact of activities? Regular large groups in a small patch of woodland are quickly going to strip the area of resources.
- Is there are permanent camp? I am always asked about our toilet. Some courses I have been on involved wandering into the woods with a trowel and smile. Others have involved a long walk to a plumbed toilet. Others like Forest Knights have a composting toilet.
- Is the site close to public transport? Not everyone desires to own a car. Does the course provider offer pick up from the nearest train station? Are those train services frequent?
- What are the neighbours like? Is the site bordering the local sewage treatment plant or motorway. A good nights sleep is important if you are to get the most of a course.
- Travel time? Whilst a cheaper course may be interesting, if the provider is based at the other end of the country the additional travel time and costs may make it less attractive.
The cost of a course can seem to be expensive especially when you’re on a budget. However there are several of factors influencing the price.
- Client Instructor ratio. How many clients are on the course and how many instructors?
- Are all the instructors skilled and experienced in their subject?
- What materials are provided. Specialist equipment and materials are expensive.
- Is the school full time? Some bushcraft providers do not offer courses year round and offer a few courses each year. This could be that they are specialists in a topic such as primitive skills or that they have a primary occupation and teaching bushcraft skills is more of a hobby.
- Does the school have adequate insurance? Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions? Any reputable school will be happy to discuss your concerns.
- Do the instructors hold a current First Aid Qualification suitable to the location and activity.
- is the course catered or self catering? If catered what is the quality of the food provided. Forest Knights prides itself on offering our students top quality food. All our instructors must be excellent outdoor cooks.
- What equipment is provided? Has the school invested in top quality tools for their students to use.
When I am selecting a course for my own CPD or that of my instructor team I am mindful of the experience and qualifications of the instructors. Will the lead instructor actually be taking the sessions etc. Generally when look for an course, we want the instructor to be universally acceptable as one of the best providers in the country. Knowledge of the subject is essential. However not all experts are skilled educators and entertaining. There are many instructors that offer fantastic courses and the vast majority will offer something that we can all learn from. The important factor is can you develop a good rapport with the staff and therefore despite the weather and the other students really maximise the learning opportunity. There is no point attending a course where the teaching style of the instructors just sends you to sleep.
All the instructors teaching from the a place of comfort? Do they have a real mastery of the subject matter? can they empathise with those that are not naturally gifted and set small achievable goals for all their students. Is the school profit lead or client centred? Do the instructors focus more on getting the right photographs for their social media profile’s rather than ensuring their students get their undivided attention?
Choosing The Right Course Check List?
- Does the organisation have a good reputation? Check social media, forums, Trip Advisor etc.
- Is the school accessible? Location and availability?
- Does the School have Insurance and structures to ensure consistency?
- Group Size?
- Does the course reflect your values?
- Is the course of good value for money?
Forest Knights never forget the you have a choice. It is a huge privilege to be asked to provide a course for people. You are not only investing your money but more importantly your valuable time. Every client should expect to leave feeling the event exceeded their expectations and they were valued.