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Outdoor Adventure Management - Shackleton

Outdoor Adventure Management - CDCFE


Year 1: QQI (Level 5)

Year 2 & 3: Higher National Diploma (Level 6)

This challenging 3 year Outdoor Adventure course provides students with the opportunities to develop the practical skills, knowledge and qualifications necessary to gain employment in the adventure sector of the tourism industry. The Shackleton course has gained a reputation as one of Ireland’s foremost outdoor adventure courses, with ex-students working all over the world in the field of outdoor adventure. 
Ethos of Outdoor Education:

"You must do the things you think you cannot do"

Outdoor Education is based on the principles of philosophers like John Dewey and Kurt Hahn, who believed that education should be based on the theory of experience. For young people to be leaders, they must possess the virtues of temperance, justice, wisdom and bravery. In order to obtain such virtues, it was realised that direct and purposeful experiences which forced them to act were the best way to instil such qualities. The philosophy of Outdoor Education, in a sense, is a philosophy of life. It is learning from experience, it is learning from our mistakes, it is learning about ourselves and others, it is learning to be a better person.

Outdoor Adventure Management - CDCFE Outdoor Adventure Management - CDCFE

Certificate in Outdoor Recreation (QQI Level 5 )

Academic modules:

Year 1:

This certificate provides a comprehensive introduction to Outdoor Recreation which includes: Hill walking (Mountain Skills), Sailing Skills, Windsurfing, Kayak Instruction Skills (Canoeing Ireland Level 2 or 3 certificate, Level 1 kayak instructor training), Powerboating, rock climbing, outdoor recreation, adventure activities, outdoor leadership and safety, REC First Aid, Child Protection, Communications, Work Experience and Expedition Planninng (including a two day self sufficient expedition in winter).

Higher National Diploma in Sport (Leisure/Outdoor Adventure Management)

Year 2:

Sport and Leisure Industry, , Principles of Sports Coaching, Physical Activity, Lifestyle & Wellbeing, Personal and Professional Development, Work-based Experience, Webdesign, personal outdoor skills.

Year 3:

Marketing Principles, Operating and Managing a Sport Leisure facility, Managing in the Health and Fitness, Customer Service, Applied Sports Coaching, Event Management in Sport and Leisure, the Developing Manager,  Research Project. 

Practical skills:

Over the three year course, motivated students will have the opportunity to work towards the following National Governing Body awards. These practical awards take time and personal motivation to attain.

Irish Sailing Association Dinghy Instructor, Irish Windsurfing Association Windsurfing Instructor, Canoeing Ireland Level 2 and Level 3 kayak instructor, Canoeing Ireland Level 4 kayak skills, River Safety and Rescue 1 and 2, Mountaineering Ireland Mountain Skills and Mountain Leader training, Single Pitch Award (Climbing), RYA Yacht master Coastal Theory, ISA Senior Instructor (Sailing, Powerboating and Windsurfing), ISA Powerboat and Safety boat Instructor, ISA Catamaran Instructor.

Outdoor Adventure Management - CDCFE Outdoor Adventure Management - CDCFE

Career Opportunities

Our ex-students are working all over the world in some of the best positions in the adventure industry. For example, we have recently formed an alliance with Sail Carribean and Landon Carver to complete an 11 week work placement during the summer of 2015 sailing in the Caribbean.

Sail Caribbean British Virgin Islands Placement (SCBVIP) brings 6 trainees who are undertaking the Shackleton Outdoor Adventure Management course at Coláiste Dhúlaigh College of Further Education to complete an 11 week work placement during the summer of 2015 sailing in the Caribbean. Throughout the placement, participants will assist the Captain in leading others through sailing, instruction of curriculum, shipboard life, land and water activities, time management and group living.

They will also assist in the facilitation of group dynamics onboard and planning of activities that challenge students. Candidates will receive command experience and award opportunities while with Sail Caribbean in the British Virgin Islands. SCBVIP will add substantially to participants employability in the sector as well as contribute to prerequisites for Irish Sailing Association / Royal Yachting Association qualifications.

Our former students also work in Adventure Centres, Leisure and Community Centres and as Sport Development Officers, Adventure Travel, Youth Development work, Yacht Masters, Raft Guiding, PE Teachers, Army and Navy Officers, members of the Gardai.

College Links

Colaiste Dhulaigh have just signed a reserved progression agreement with the Institute of Technology,  Tralee. IT Tralee have agreed to reserve 5 places on the third year of the  BA(O) in Adventure Tourism Managment for successful HND students.  

In the past students have continued their education with advanced entry into the following colleges: Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (Business and Outdoor Education), Waterford Institute of Technology (Leisure Management), IT Tralee (Adventure Tourism), University of Chicester (Outdoor Education), Strathclyde University (Outdoor Education) and University of St Martins (Outdoor Education)


Apply using the application form online. Applicants are choosen by interview only. A keen interest in the outdoors and some previous experience are desirable. For applicants who have completed a year long FAS course in Outdoor Education, a limited number of places in second year are sometimes available.

The interview process has changed for Sept 2016 entry.

Interviews have already taken place for Sept 2016 admission. Some limited places may become available over the summer, keep an eye on the CDCFE admissions page for details 

Please note that students must be 18 years of age at the time of registration.

Water Confidence

Water confidence and a good swimming ability is required for this course. 

Please note:

This course requires a high level of physical fitness and self motivation, and a strong interest in outdoor sports. The practical qualifications provided depend on the individual student achieving the required standard. This is a practical course: it is estimated that 60% of our activities are practical in the outdoors, the other 40 % academic. While our course suits people with different learning styles, the second and third years of the Higher National Diploma require good academic and organisational skills.

It is estimated that the student should budget for 1500 euro per year in addition to the registration fee to cover the cost of personal gear, trips away and external qualifications.

.Outdoor adventure Management - CDCFEOutdoor adventure Management - CDCFE

Outdoor adventure Management - CDCFE

Trips away are an important part of the Shackleton course, allowing students to develop character and leadership and teamworking skills. In recent years, students have undertaken trips all over Ireland, hiking and kayaking trips in north Wales, sea kayaking expeditions in Scotland, sailing trips in Croatia and Corsica, and whitewater kayaking expeditions in Slovenia, Spain, Uganda and Morocco.  

These trips allow students the opportunity to push themselves and develop self awareness of their strengths and weaknesses and an understanding of others.

Have a look at some recent films made by students to get a feel for the course:

Here is a short promo film made by Darragh Mc Morrow of his three years on the Shackleton course: 



A podcast of a recent radio documentary on windsurfing made by Near FM with Eleanore Conroy, Dan Kealy and Shackleton students in Malahide Estuary



Outdoor adventure Management - CDCFEOutdoor adventure Management - CDCFE

Contact:   Tel: 01 848 1400      


Eleanore Conroy


Rob Coffey

Course Charges

Year 1: €800*
Year 2: €850*
Year 3: €595*

* includes €200 Govt. charge

All photos taken by staff or recent students

Apply here

Outdoor Adventure Management - Shackleton
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