Which qualification is right for me?

Quality training from the world's largest paddling course provider

With the launch of a range of direct entry awards, clubs, centres and organisations may be wondering which qualification is right for the activities they run. This guidance will give you an overview of the options available to your paddlers wanting to start their journey on the qualification pathway. The Career Start or Develop Skills section of the website will also help.

These are all direct entry awards which could be the first step for any aspirant Instructor, Coach or Leader.

Paddlesport Leader

Paddlesport Leader

Launch: April 2017
Aimed at: Paddlers leading on sheltered water environments, running safe and enjoyable trips based on their group’s needs and aspirations.
Age: 16+
Craft: The Paddlesport Leader can lead any craft, from any craft.
Prerequisites: One day First Aid, safeguarding training and membership.
Training: Optional training available. Candidates can cross check their requirements, using the skills checklist or self-analysis tool, and opt for bespoke training opportunities, for example, in-house training at your club or working alongside/shadowing other leaders at your centre.
Assessment: 1 day assessment
Examples: In a recreational club, the Paddlesport Leader could be leading journeys, providing a safety framework for multiple craft or in a racing club, could provide a safety overview on a training session chaperoning other paddlers.

Paddlesport Instructor

Paddlesport Instructor Courses. Image of tandem sit on top paddlers playing games

Launch: January 2019
Aimed at: Paddlers whose main focus is to deliver paddlesport taster/starter sessions and short journeys in very sheltered water environments, within the safety management systems of clubs/centres or other organisations.
Age: 14+
Craft: Stable craft typically used for taster/starter sessions (including kayak, open canoe, sit-on-top and Stand Up Paddleboard)
Prerequisites: Membership and Foundation Safety and Rescue Training (FSRT)
Training & Assessment: 2 days combined
Examples: Organisations running introductory sessions for those who have never tried paddling or clubs playing games to progress their new paddlers paddlesport skills.

Coach Award

Paddlers Practising and playing games

Launch: January 2018
Aimed at: Paddlers who wish to coach those who want to gain/improve paddlesport skills within a chosen discipline. This will include coaching beginners new to the sport, or paddlers looking to develop their skills in the given discipline/environment so they can paddle safely without the need for a coach.
Age: 16 or over at the time of assessment. 18 for advanced water options
Craft: 22 options available covering all of our main disciplines and environments
Prerequisites: Membership is the only prerequisite of Core Coach Training.
Training: 2 day Core Coach Training (online or practical), 2 day Discipline Specific Training.
Assessment: 1 day assessment
Examples: A Polo club looking to develop their athlete’s skills or a club coaching sea kayaking sessions in a moderate or advanced water environment.

This gives an overview of the options available to clubs, centres and organisations who are able to select a variety of Instructors, Coaches and Leaders to suit their needs.

This article will support you getting started but you should also consider British Canoeing Awarding Body’s Environmental Definitions and Deployment Guidance and any guidance, legislation or requirements of the country where you reside and/ or the activity takes place.


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