Continuous Professional Development

A learning organisation

AHOEC provides regional and national opportunities for leaders to be developing their learning. These are hugely varied covering the practical, academic and the inspirational.

The regional gatherings often have speakers and sessions designed around local needs and members requests. The Regional Chair should be contacted for all requests and offers of regional CPD.

The Half Yearly and Annual conferences expand this and an example of the AHOEC workshop programme for the 2016 Annual Conference is shown below:


  • Andy Fewtrell – Business Planning – Why?

Types of plan Model plans Who to involve How much detail Other plans

Projects Continuity/resilience Succession

The workshop will also include a facilitated discussion allowing some exchange of experience of business planning and an opportunity to ask questions related to business planning and other business related subjects.

  • Lucy Harrison – Get More Business

Many businesses tell me ‘I need to do more marketing’ but when we get down to it, is it really more marketing that is needed? Or is it more sales? Running a small business is hard work, time is of the essence and sales are sometimes seen as scary. Where should you spend your precious time?

In this interactive and practical session Lucy will help you focus on the right activity to get more business. This will be an informal workshop that will give you practical actions and tools to take away for the future.

Commercial Success and Quality Outdoor Education. Are they incompatible?

  • Doug Jones/ Dave Harvey – Getting to Gold

Introducing the revised Gold criteria and taking you through the process of mentoring and inspection. This will also be an opportunity to ask questions and share good practice around all aspects of the criteria.

  • Kev Jackson – From LA to charity: moving to a different business model

The theme: a journey from a LA dependence model to an external provider.

As from Oct 1st 2016 Oxfordshire Outdoors (3 residential centres & advisory role) will no longer a LA resource. This workshop looks at the process we followed with particular reference to the impact on self; staff; organisational interdependency; procurement / legal requirements; managing change; retaining and developing customer base; business modelling; transition and new start. It’s not a prescribed process but hopefully will offer some useful tips and markers for colleagues who are thinking of or embarking on a similar journey.

  • Mark Davies – PPE Myth busting

Ever wanted to know the true answer to “what is the lifespan of a helmet”? Do you really understand the differences between dynamic and low stretch ropes? How do we inspect a harness? What am I looking at when I do this? If so then this is the session for you!

We will look at what PPE is and the implications of its use, legislation, limitations, inspection regimes and inspection methods. The session will be based around a number of myths that get perpetuated throughout the sector, as well as giving attendees the opportunity to discuss their own myths that they want busting.

(2) Work at height kept simple

This practical session will look at developing a simple approach to working at height on ropes courses and climbing walls. We will look at the applicable parts of relevant legislation and guidance documents and how these can be used to guide our operation.

The key to this session will be to identify ways that we can utilise our current technical skills as climbers and mountaineers and put them into practice in the more formal “work at height” setting of a ropes course or climbing wall. There will of course be plenty of opportunity to ask questions, and to put the information into the context of the individual attendees’ specific work setting.

  • Jan Polack – UFA National Development Team. – Growth Mindsets

Inspired by the work of Dr Carol Dweck this interactive workshop will investigate the theory of Growth Mindset and what that means for our work with young people. We will focus on the use of praise & appropriate challenge and leave with practical strategies to put into use.

  • Jill Dawes – Challenging conversations and the power of positive feedback

As professionals we have opportunities to be open and honest with our peers and employees. We often swerve or avoid these situations for a variety of reasons.

This workshop shows how engaging in courageous conversations can have an incredibly positive effect on our motivation and commitment to our roles. It provides an opportunity to find the courage to be clear about our intentions, leading to more authentic and trusting relationships.

  • Peter Carne – What makes a brilliant residential?

As a result of working over five years with our 60 partner schools, Learning Away has begun to understand what we mean by high-quality residential learning, and have coined the phrase ‘brilliant residentials’ to describe these experiences.

In this workshop participants will have an opportunity to consider in detail the implications of Learning Away’s brilliant residentials criteria for schools and providers of residential experiences.

The brilliant residentials criteria and resulting recommendations were published in “Brilliant residentials and their impact on children, young people and schools – making the case for high- quality residential learning”, which can be found on the Learning Away website at

At the end of the session we would hope to have agreed on an answer to the question “What makes a brilliant residential?”

  • David Hodgson – ‘Linking physical movement and social interaction to improve learning, retention and exam performance’ – How We Really Learn

David will share research showing how outdoor learning can improve student attainment across all subject areas. His work involved modelling the way top students at the University of Warwick learned, revised and prepared for exams. His work is outlined in his book The Brainbox.

For the workshop following the keynote: Personality in Education

David will explore themes from his keynote in further detail to show how we can use the type model to enhance outdoor learning experiences.

  • Martin Chester – ‘A market profiling tool for getting active outdoors.’

The Getting Active Outdoors project started as a research report to help Sport England understand the outdoor sector. Now, over a year later, the report has been downloaded over 2000 times, the project has had a direct impact on the DCMS sport strategy; resulted in over 40 workshops; and had a direct impact on over 226 organisations; so far . . . .

I would like to talk about the lessons learned, and the potential role of outdoor centres in providing a “high quality immersion in nature” and kick-starting a healthy sporting habit for life. We will quickly explore the motivation segments, but focus on what they mean to us. Through case studies and industry examples, I will demonstrate how different organisations have used the insight in different ways, and consider the opportunities for the outdoor learning sector. The common aim is clear: more “business” for outdoor centres = more participation in sport. But only if we fulfil our potential and deliver it in the right way for the customer, with appropriate sign-posting to lasting change.

Moving on from the content of the keynote, I would like to introduce the concept of profiling our delivery against the needs of our customers. Very few providers in the outdoor sector take a truly customer focussed approach to delivery, so here is a refreshing chance to take an objective view of what you provide, and how well it delivers the goods for your target audience. After a few brief introductory slides, this will be a practical session exploring your own delivery.

  • Pauline Sanderson – Positive mindsets

Pauline will be this year’s after dinner speaker. Her talk will draw on her unique experience of completing the World’s Longest Climb from the Dead Sea to the summit of Mount Everest. She shares her learning and insights that helped to overcome the obstacles and challenges she faced both as an individual and as part of a team.

Pauline will also be running a workshop that will help delegates to reflect on their own personal and professional challenges and obstacles. They can then start to explore, develop and understand how mindset management can drive their success and help fulfil their potential. Delegates will leave with their own toolkit to help them have a lasting mindset for success.