Rosie is training a new wave of diverse & inclusive instructors to help more people get outdoors

Rosie Tanner, Managing Director of Land & Wave.

By Daniel Face [email protected]

Published: October 9, 2023 | Updated: 6th October 2023

After years running their training courses for majority male cohorts, one Dorset-based outdoor adventure company is setting out to address the gender imbalance and bring a little more diversity to their industry.

Land & Wave logoLand & Wave have been running school trips, Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, stag and hen dos and kids’ holiday clubs at locations across the county for more than a decade now.

Over that time, their outdoor instructor courses have launched the careers of more than 230 people, encouraging the business to start an apprenticeship scheme in 2021.

Rosie TannerApplications came flooding in – but the team quickly noticed a common theme.

“In that first year of apprentices, three out of four were male”, explained Rosie Tanner, MD of Land & Wave.

“That realisation led us to look more closely at what we could be doing to address the gender and diversity imbalance in the outdoor industry.

“After all, these apprentices and newly trained outdoor instructors will be going out and encouraging the next wave of outdoor enthusiasts.

“If we want to increase the amount of underrepresented people in the industry, we’ll need to start by giving people representatives that are just that – representatives of who they are.

“This extends beyond getting women into these roles, but also non-binary people, people of colour, religious people.

“It needs to be as diverse as possible.”

Rosie and the team soon began applying that philosophy, and they’re already making big strides.

This year, Land & Wave had 12 female instructors and managed to flip the ratio on their 2023 apprenticeship intake – taking on two female, one male, and one non-binary apprentice.

Verity ChurchOne of those is 25-year-old Verity Church, who’s due to complete their course in October 2024.

“I don’t know of anyone else who’s non-binary in the outdoor industry”, they said.

“I don’t feel it’s openly talked about, and I think there’s definitely a space for more LGBTQA+ representatives in the industry.

“It should be normal that we have anyone and everyone represented, no matter your gender or ethnicity.

“I know this is changing, but there’s still a lot of growth that needs to happen.”

Land & Wave are actively driving that change through a new range of adventure weekends and wild swim retreats, with an emphasis on attracting a more inclusive, non-male audience.

This August they also teamed up with The Adventure Girls Club to offer the new Women’s Wild Camping & Bushcraft Experience, featuring 24 hours of fire lighting, axe throwing, shelter building and campfire cooking in a supportive and welcoming environment.

For club founder Alice Keegan, it marks an important step towards equality in the industry.

Alice Keegan“I get contacted by a lot of women that really want to get outdoors but are too scared”, she said.

“What we want to do is make it safe. We want to provide women with the skills, the know-how, and most importantly, the confidence to go out there and enjoy the outdoors.

“We all know how important nature is for our mental health, and we don’t need to be conquering it or doing crazy intense challenges to get the benefits.

“The collaboration between us and Land & Wave aims to empower women.

“They might not need those bushcraft skills again, and to a certain extent, it’s not about that.

“It’s about giving them the confidence that they can learn new things, they’re capable, and the outdoors doesn’t have to be scary.”

As for Land & Wave, they’ve received great feedback from their apprentices so far – but Rosie says there’s still a lot to be done.

“While it can seem daunting, it’s important that we start otherwise it’ll never change”, she added.

“We all feel very passionately about readdressing the imbalance and encouraging absolutely everyone to go outside.

“This isn’t just about us though. We can’t change this on our own.

“We need schools to change the way they teach sports. All sports should be taught to all children, regardless of their gender.

“We need children to be more actively encouraged at home and at school to simply enjoy the outdoors – it’s not just for sport.

“And we need more organisations like ours to actively look at changing who they choose to be the face of outdoor activities for the next generation to more easily relate to.”

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