Outdoor Adventure Management – Shackleton

This exciting 3-year Outdoor Adventure Management course provides students with the opportunities to develop the academic knowledge and appropriate skills necessary to gain employment in the broad outdoor sector.  

The course has gained a reputation as one of Ireland’s foremost adventure education programs, with former students working all over the world in the field of outdoor and adventure education. 

Year 1: Outdoor Sports and Recreation (5M5148, QQI Level 5) 

Year 2: Sports Recreation and Exercise (6M5147, QQI level 6) 

Year 3: Entrepreneurship in the Outdoors 


Click here for an explanation of qualifications in the UK and Ireland. 

Why Study Outdoor Adventure Management? 

Outdoor adventure education is an evolving discipline that has been challenged with addressing some of the most difficult dilemmas of the 21st century.  

Through the study of environmental education, examining personal and social development and experiencing adventurous recreational opportunities you can explore where you might fit, in this varied and exciting field.  

In this course you will move beyond learning by doing and explore the true potential that outdoor adventure experiences have in contributing to the education and welfare of the world today. 


Outdoor Adventure Management Year 1

Certificate in Outdoor Sports and Recreation – QQI Level 5

The first year of our course aims to equip our students with a variety of personal and practical skills in outdoor adventure environments. Additionally, you will be introduced to the theory that underpins outdoor adventure education and the academic skills needed to pursue a career in the outdoor adventure sector. 

Program content*:
  • Outdoor Recreation 
  • Adventure Activities 
  • Communications 
  • Work Experience ** 
  • Outdoor Leadership and Safety 
  • Ecological field studies 
  • Sailing Skills 
  • Kayaking Skills 
  • Windsurfing Skills 
  • Powerboat Skills 
  • Mountain Skills 
  • Rock climbing skills 
  • Rescue and Emergency Care (REC2) first aid 
  • Safeguarding 
  • Principals of Leave No Trace

Outdoor Adventure Management Year 2

Sports Recreation and Exercise – QQI level 6

The second year of our course takes you further down the path of understanding the value of outdoor education in all aspects of life. You will explore the benefits of positive outdoor experiences and all its potential. This course provides the theoretical underpinning of outdoor learning as well as looking at leadership within the outdoor activity sector. 

Program Content*:
  • Sport industry practice 
  • Leadership 
  • Event Management 
  • Risk Management  
  • Work practice ** 
  • Sailing instructorship 
  • Windsurfing instructorship 
  • Kayaking skills 
  • Powerboat skills 
  • Mountain skills 

Outdoor Adventure Management Year 3 or “stand alone”

Entrepreneurship in the Outdoors 

The purpose of the course is to give individuals the opportunity to develop their business idea, skill, product or service and to equip them with knowledge, skills and confidence to start their own small business. 

Individuals from various backgrounds will work together in a shared office hub with facilities available to help them perfect their skills/product/service while being supported by mentors. The course will be delivered through a combination of lectures in Start Your Own Business and Digital Marketing, as well as mentoring to help learners create their own business. 

If you want to start your own business or develop a skill you have, and turn it into a small business, then this course is for you. Contact eleonore.conroy@cdcfe.cdetb.ie for information and application. 

Program Content*:
  • Marketing 
  • Setting up your own business 
  • Work Experience (carried out alongside our QQI level 5 and 6 programs, land and water based) 
  • CPD opportunities based on your existing NGB qualifications and aspirations. 


*All modules presented are subject to change and will be confirmed each year. 

** A limited number of first- and second-year students can partake in fully funded 3-week work placements in Corsica (Glénans Sailing SchoolCESM) and Fuerteventura (Club Ion) through the Erasmus program.  

Additional Opportunities During the Outdoor Adventure Management Course 

To assist you in becoming highly employable in the Outdoor sector in Ireland and abroad we will support you in working towards industry recognised practical skill qualifications. Below is a list of the awards that some of our motivated and dedicated students have achieved during their time with us. 

Professional Development Opportunities
Mountaineering Ireland Rock Skills Level 1, level 2, level 3 and Level 4  Mountaineering Ireland Rock Climbing Instructor Award 
River Safety and Rescue 1 and 2  Mountaineering Ireland Mountain Leader training 
Canoeing Ireland Kayak Skills Award (Level 1-4 River Skills)  Canoeing Ireland Kayak instructor (Level 1&2) 
Irish Sailing Essential Navigation  Canoeing Ireland River Kayak Instructor (Level 3) 
Irish Sailing National Powerboat Certificate (Level 1&2)  Irish Sailing Powerboat and Safety Boat Instructor 
Irish Sailing Dinghy Instructor and Advanced Instructor  Irish Sailing Senior Instructor (Sailing, Powerboating and Windsurfing) 
Irish Sailing Catamaran Instructor  Irish Sailing Go! Windsurfing Instructor 
Leave No Trace Awareness Course  Leave No Trace Trainers Certificate 
Rescue Emergency Care First Aid  Sport Ireland Safeguarding 1 – Child Welfare & Protection Basic Awareness Workshop 

(These incur an extra cost) 

Career Opportunities

The purpose of the Outdoor Adventure Management course is to develop students as professional, self-reflective individuals capable of meeting the demands of employers in the Outdoor & Adventure Education sector and adapt to a constantly changing world. The qualifications aim to widen access to higher education and enhance the career prospects of those who undertake them. Employers are crying out for graduates that have the right skills and aptitudes including creativity, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, resilience and motivation. 

Our former students are working all over the world in some of the best positions in the outdoor sector. Some typical job roles related to this qualification are: 

  • Educator in an Outdoor Education Centre 
  • Instructor in an Adventure Centre 
  • Business Owners 
  • Environmental Development Staff 
  • Park Rangers 
  • Conservation Officers 
  • Forest School leaders 
  • Yacht Masters 
  • Nature Kindergarten staff 
  • Leisure and Community Centre staff 
  • Sport Development Officers 
  • Adventure Travel Guide 
  • Youth Development work 
  • High Altitude Mountain Guide 
  • Raft Guiding 
  • PE Teacher 
  • Army and Navy Officers 
  • Members of the Gardai 
  • And lots more… 

Links with Higher Education 

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

Entry Requirements 

  1. Students must have a leaving certificate or equivalent and must be 18 years of age at the time of registration. 
  2. Prior to formal acceptance of any conditional offer, you must: 
    • attend an Outdoor Adventure Management briefing. 
    • submit a letter of motivation that demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively and discusses internal and external motivation for undertaking this course (see template for suggested headings). 
  3. Water confidence and a good swimming ability is required for this course. Students need to be able to swim 50m in order to take part. 
  4. Students undertaking Outdoor Adventure Management work placements are also required to meet the conditions of our Fitness to Practice policy along with statutory Garda Vetting requirements. 
  5. There are opportunities for direct entry to our second and third year (entrepreneurship) with relevant academic and practical experience. This will be assessed through a Recognition of Prior Learning application process. Please contact the program coordinator if you would like to explore this option. 

Notes for Success

This course requires a high level of physical fitness and self-motivation, and a strong interest in outdoor sports.  We are committed to staying true to the ethos of experiential education and therefore this is a uniquely blended program: it is estimated that 40% of our activities are academic, and 60% are practical in the outdoors. We believe that theory informs practice and practice informs theory. Our course is inclusive and caters to a diverse range of learning preferences. 


Willie Whelan, coordinator of 1st years: willie.whelan@cdcfe.cdetb.ie 

Clodagh Higgins, coordinator of 2nd years: clodagh.higgins@cdcfe.cdetb.ie 

Eléonore Conroy, mentor of the entrepreneurs: eleonore.conroy@cdcfe.cdetb.ie 

Tel: 01 8481400 

Student Testimonies

Mick Byrne and Jonathon O’Brien (Business owners at City Kayaking)

Mick and Jonathan are past students with a passion for the water. Mick founded City Kayaking with another past student, Donnchadh McCobb in 2011/2012 (Donnchadh has since moved on to specialize in other areas of the industry). Jonathan joined the company in 2012.

They built the City-Kayaking brand in Dublin as a unique and accessible way for tourists and locals to experience the city. In 2019 they bought the traditional sailing vessel “Brian Ború” and developed the brand “Dublin Under Sail”. On board they run 5 day, residential, youth development “Sail Training” voyages for groups of 10 as well as running day trips for tourists and locals in Dublin Bay. Both brands have a strong environmental and science strand. They are dedicated to hiring Shackeltons, which is a great opportunity for students to gain quality experience.



Mark Keogh (Business owner at Wild Summits)

Mark is a past student, whilst studying with us he demonstrated his love of the mountains and hills. The passion he felt and the knowledge he has gained led him to open up his own business Wild Summits.


Edel O’Regan (Business owner of Ériu Tours)

Edel is a past student who gained the knowledge of hidden landscapes in Ireland through her love for the outdoors and whilst studying with us. She used her experience to travel to New Zealand where she realised her dream of starting up her own touring business back home in Ireland. Edel joined Colaiste Dhulaigh CFE again, this time on our tourism course to gain her National Tour Guide badge and licence.




Course Charges 

Year 1: €440
Year 2: €520
Year 3: €250**


** Any applicant in receipt of any social welfare payment or credits, and PUP payments will receive a waiver on the course charges.  

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

International students are welcome, please read the following: https://www.cdcfe.ie/student-information/prospective-students/international-students 

All photos taken by staff or recent students