Student Profile : Laura Grainger

Laura Grainger

Where are you currently working?  I’m working casually as a freelance outdoor instructor and teacher aide in schools in Tasmania.  I’m also training with World Challenge and I’m about to go to Borneo for a month as an expedition assistant with 19 high school students from Melbourne.

What do you love most about your job?  Being able to facilitate young people to challenge themselves, push their boundaries and see them grow.  I love encouraging reflection and teamwork.  I love that I get to be in the fresh air.

What training did you undertake with TasTAFE?  Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation

When did you complete your training?   2015

What did you value about your training at TasTAFE?  So much to value about it!!!  Initially though, it was a massive help that it was accessible and affordable to me compared to the same qualification offered elsewhere.  I didn’t have to move interstate and I didn’t go into a big debt to study at TasTAFE.

How has your training helped you with your Outdoor Recreation/Guiding career?  Growing up, I was in Girl Guides and our motto was ‘Be Prepared’.  In hindsight, I was never really that ‘prepared’ but the Certificate IV really has me prepared!  Now I happily carry a massive first aid kit, spare gear, extra this and that…its weight in my backpack is actually worth its weight in gold.

One of my instructors at TasTAFE explained to me that he wanted us through this course to be so experienced in dealing with full-on scenarios in terrible conditions that by the time we were actually out in the middle of nowhere with a group of young people and things start to go wrong, then we were sure to be able to handle it because we’d been through worse.

The Certificate IV Outdoor Recreation at TasTAFE was relentless – and the knowledge and experience I gained from it has been priceless!

I didn’t realise what a unique course it is in Australia until I was at a training on the mainland recently with experienced outdoor leaders from across the country and I found that everyone else’s training (even in outdoor education university degrees and other equivalents) did not have anywhere near the same hands-on field training.

What is your most memorable moment you have experienced on a trip?  So many!  On the first day of the TAFE course, the 10 of us students met each other for the first time and we were told to meet at TasTAFE the next day, ready for a 3-day bush walk.  Next morning, we were taken to the back side of Mt. Wellington and given the choice of a few maps.  After a few hours of hiking in the light rain, we were handed a pretty dire weather forecast and told to find our way to a certain point on the other side of the mountain by the third day.  That night we ended up camping amongst the big boulders and shrubs on top of Thark Ridge – which is a terribly inappropriate place to try to camp.  A blizzard started.  So did the learning experiences.  It was -22°C including windchill, and everyone slept hugging a rock or a tree. However, it was a solid group of people… and the stage was set for rest of the course!

If you could invite anyone on a trip, who would it be?  My grandfather while he was younger – when he was still an athlete!

If you could give one piece of advice for someone contemplating a career in the outdoors, what would it be?  Try lots of activities recreationally – you’ll find what your natural skills are and see where your passion lies.

RTO Code: 60142

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