Institute for Outdoor Learning Conference

We are supporting the IOL conference this year which will be held virtually on 14th October 2023.  Please see the conference brochure for full details of the event and to book your place.

AIM will be sponsoring the workshop by Global Butterflies in the afternoon which looks at Equality, Inclusion & Diversity in the workplace.  We held this workshop for Members early this year and it was very popular so we hope you can join us for this.

Conf Brochure v5 18Sept23
Self Employed or Employed

When do Freelance Instructors need their own Personal Public Liability Insurance?

Outdoor Learning Survey Report – Summer 2022

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Outdoor Learning – The Pivot

This article in the Spring issue of Institute for Outdoor Learning Horizons magazine looks at the positives to come out of change.  As an outdoor professional the pandemic has brought challenges to many and here this has presented opportunities for some but also much change for others.



COVID 19 – Recovery Planning for the Outdoor Sector

Giving activity providers the opportunity to have their say on the challenges they face in the sector.  Colleagues from the Institute of Outdoor Learning have designed this survey to gather data to support the recovery of the sector as restrictions related to the pandemic are eased across the UK. Its findings will be shared with all Home Nation governments. Please ensure that you indicate if your services are predominantly influenced by any one Home Nation government.

Sector Survey II : Recovery Planning

Help us report to Home Nation governments the breadth and scale of the impact of Covid 19 is having on our sector.

Read more here

The survey is designed to capture the challenges outdoor providers are facing in planning their way out of the crisis.

Survey Link –

Closing date : 14th July 2020


COVID 19 – Latest Update

Supporting our Members through COVID 19 – UPDATE 6

We hope that you had an enjoyable bank holiday.  We all waited on Sunday evening for guidance from the Government on the next phase and hoped to have some clear messages for you all regarding next steps.

It is clear that as the current lockdown situation has not been eased, we think it is too premature to offer opinion or more detailed plans at this stage, needless to say that any business looking at reopening would need to adhere to Government guidelines to ensure they are complying for staff and implementing required measures regarding social distancing and hygiene.

As mentioned in the previous update it is sensible to review all risk assessments for each of your activities now and consider if these need to be revised or rewritten to allow for ongoing social distancing.  

Sport England

We have found the following link from Sport England which may be of interest to you regarding their Community Emergency Fund.  Please note the deadline of Thursday 15th May 2020 for new applications.


Andy Robinson at Institute of Outdoor Learning appeared on BBC’s Countryfile at the weekend.  In case you missed it please view the link below which talked about the current impact on outdoor learning (8min 04 sec onwards).

The North Face

North Face have launched an initiative called Explore Fund which aims to assist companies that fall into the following criteria.

  • Conservation groups and organisations​
  • Outdoor charities​
  • Outdoor industry associations​
  • Organizations or companies involved in the following sports/ activities:​ camping, environmental education, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, indoor rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, trail running, alpinism​

Applications can be made until 22nd May 2020

Please join our closed Facebook group

Or follow us on LinkedIn



Outdoor Expeditions – New Member Profile

Outdoor Expeditions

Thank you to our members who took the time to complete our membership survey for 2016. We received responses from over 30% of our AIM members.

Those who completed our survey were automatically entered into a prize draw to win an IPad Air 2, and our lucky winner was Russell Smith of Outdoor Expeditions Ltd in Suffolk. Bradley Mott and Kirsty Savidge, of the AIM team were able to deliver the IPad in person and speak with Russell about his experience in the industry and his newly established business, Outdoor Expeditions Ltd.

Outdoor Expeditions Ltd

After working as a teacher for over 10 years Russell decided a change was in order and in October of last year set up Outdoor Expeditions. Outdoor Expeditions Ltd is a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award approved activity provider that works with schools, organisations and individuals to run or provide access to high quality activities for all. They provide full packages which include training, practice and assessed expeditions.

Russell commented on why he choose AIM:-

“I chose AIM because I felt as a new business it was important to get the right cover and I felt after the research I had done AIM offered the best, this was because they appeared to understand the needs of my business better than anyone else. I originally came across AIM through the Institute of Outdoor Learning (IOL) of which I am a member, I had also read some good feedback on a couple of outdoor Facebook groups I’m a member of.  More importantly the thing that appealed the most to me was the fact that AIM was a mutual. I have always been fascinated by the whole mutual/cooperative business model, admiring companies such as John Lewis and my local Co-op – East of England Co-op, and when I started my business I tried to explore how I could work with mutuals and cooperatives. This is why I arranged my cover through AIM and why I bank with my local credit union Eastern Savings and Loans”

AIM was very pleased to welcome Outdoor Expeditions to the Mutual and wish Outdoor Expeditions the best of luck for the future.

Are We Fulfilling Our Potential?

Andy Robinson, CEO of the Institute for Outdoor Learning, examines the changing map of the outdoor and activities industry.

With statements about the need for increased participation in sport and physical departments (see the latest consultation on a new sports strategy from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport as a good example) it seems that our world of outdoor adventurous activity provision is well placed to be part of a solution. Good news, but is this simply a case of doing ore of what we’re currently doing or is there a need for us to develop and reposition our offers to have a bigger impact than we do at present?

Some good work has been done recently by Sport England, The Sport & Recreation Alliance and The Outdoor Industries Association to gain a better understanding of the outdoor recreation market (in its widest sense) in the UK. The resultant report is available on the Sport England website. It points to a need to think about how well current outdoor activity-related services meet a range of different consumer motivations. for me it is also a reminder of how the needs and opportunities for outdoor activity participants change through our lifetime, and the fact that the outdoors is so often a medium to fulfil social, developmental or health needs. I believe the challenge for providers of outdoor adventurous activity is to better integrate their pure outdoor services with other activity so that those other needs can be more explicitly met.

The Institute is currently working with The Blagrave Trust to review the approaches evaluation of the impact of outdoor learning with children and young people. A report and guidance will be available later in the autumn. I strongly believe that if we are to develop the services of the sector to fulfil its potential, we need to be clear about how we achieve the most far-reaching and sustainable impact, be that with a health, education, environment