Otago Polytechnic

"As we employ NZOIA qualified instructors, we know they have already met certain requirements."
Andy Thompson, Programme Manager & Senior Lecturer, Outdoor Leadership & Management Level 5 Programme, Dunedin

Our business

We employ three staff and many contractors and operate an outdoor programme from February to November.

We teach students personal, instructing and guiding skills in the following pursuits: white water kayaking, sea kayaking, mountaineering, rock climbing, alpine tramping, bush tramping. 

These disciplines are balanced with practical and lecture sessions involving the development of critical thinking in leadership, sustainable issues, fitness and nutrition, adventure races, training for events, phycology, biomechanics and video analysis.

Safety system strengths

We are proud of the structure and content of our safety systems.

We completed our OutdoorsMark in 2010 and we have not stopped developing our safety systems with our permanent and part time staff. Having gone through another external audit it has been valuable to relook at what, where, how and why we do things. Staff engagement is critical. This requires daily management and is continually being reviewed in order to improve.

We have three documents: 

  • An operations plan that overarches the execution of the programme and links all parts of our safety aspects of our programme and consultancy work
  • An instructors handbook that covers; vehicles, disciplines (operations, tailgates, teaching topics), emergency procedures
  • Appendices that link to the operations plan and instructor handbook

The instructor handbook has been very useful. I spent a lot of time preparing this and consulting with different technically skilled people to ensure it represents the right message. We have included certain teaching progressions so that we are also consistent with our standards and teaching methods for our students.

It works well for us because

The instructors’ handbook allows me to give short term contractors/employees relevant information required to teach in the field. They can read the relevant sections prior, thus short cutting long conversations and training from me to help them understand what we require. 

As we employ NZOIA qualified instructors, we know they have already met certain requirements. Once they fulfill our specific programme training we can move with confidence faster through an induction process and get them into the field. All permanent staff can also assist other staff if I am not available.

The handbook is A5 sleeves, so it is easily updated and carried in the field. It is held together with a ACCO 875 Fastener.


Andy Thompson
Email: andy.thompson@op.ac.nz 
Phone: 03 477 3014