Climbing Awards Review FAQs


The following pages may answer some of your questions, but if not, have a read through the questions and answers below. If you still have a question, please contact us.

Climbing Awards Review update - Oct 2017
What’s in a name
Climbing Awards Review - candidate transition arrangements

1/ What are the names of the climbing qualifications?

The new names will come into effect in three phases beginning in April 2018.

The full pathway includes the following qualifications:
  • Climbing Wall Assistant
  • Climbing Wall Instructor – formerly Climbing Wall Award
  • Climbing Wall Instructor Abseil Module – formerly Climbing Wall Award Abseil Module
  • Rock Climbing Instructor – formerly Single Pitch Award
  • Climbing Wall Development Instructor – formerly Climbing Wall Leading Award
  • Rock Climbing Development Instructor
  • Foundation Coach
  • Development Coach
  • Performance Coach
  • Mountaineering Instructor Award
  • Mountaineering Instructor Certificate
There is also a new skills scheme called Rock Skills which will include four courses:
  • Rock Skills Introduction
  • Rock Skills Intermediate
  • Rock Skills Learning to Lead Sport Climbs
  • Rock Skills Learning to Lead Trad Climbs

2/ Have the syllabi for the existing qualifications changed?

Yes, although the changes do not take effect until 2nd April, 2018. The following lines will be added to the Climbing Wall Instructor, Abseil Module and Rock Climbing Instructor syllabi:

Managing/supervising other staff

Understand the role and scope of an assistant. Understand the opportunities and liabilities presented by using an assistant in a session.
Manage an assistant.

Teaching and learning skills

Create and maintain a positive learning environment for all participants.
Communicate effectively and appropriately with a group and individuals, checking for understanding.
Demonstrate an ability to adapt the teaching style to meet group needs.
Help participants develop a positive attitude towards climbing and introduce the idea of lifelong participation.
Identify and use appropriate tasks to develop effective and safe climbers.
Show an understanding of the reasons for evaluating a session and success of the outcome.

The following section will be added to the Climbing Wall Development Instructor syllabus (some of the individual points were already part of the syllabus):

Teaching and learning skills

Create and maintain a positive learning environment for all participants.
Communicate effectively and appropriately with a group and individuals, checking for understanding.
Demonstrate an ability to adapt the teaching style to meet individual needs.
Continue to develop positive attitudes towards climbing and lifelong participation.
Understand and introduce progressive activities to ensure development of appropriate knowledge, skills and experience over time.
Observe and analyse individual performances to provide appropriate, effective and timely feedback for participants.
Evaluate a session and its outcomes to inform the planning of future sessions.

New handbooks for these qualifications will be available in due course.

3/ I have completed SPA/CWA/CWLA training, should I do my assessment before 2nd April or wait until the renamed qualifications are launched?

If you are ready to take your assessment before 2nd April, you should proceed as planned. If you are successful you will be awarded with the SPA/CWA/CWLA and shortly before 2nd April we will also give you the appropriate renamed qualification.

If you do not feel ready to be assessed prior to 2nd April, you should familiarise yourself with the revised syllabus and book an assessment when you are ready. (The additional syllabus points are part of the answer to question 2 above.)

4/ How can I deliver one of the climbing schemes?

Our qualifications are highly regarded in the outdoor sector thanks to the knowledge and experience we use to create and develop them and our quality assurance process. We recognise that the quality of the staff is fundamental to the success of our courses which is why there are some essential and desirable criteria for individuals who want to get involved (these are not listed here and will be available from each organisation in due course).

For some more comprehensive guidance on delivering courses for Mountain Training please read this page: How to work on Mountain Training courses

The specific prerequisites for course directors with regards to qualifications are below. Please note: these are only the qualification prerequisites; each national Mountain Training organisation will require additional experience as part of the application process.

  • Rock Skills Introduction: Rock Climbing Instructor
  • Rock Skills Intermediate: Rock Climbing Instructor + Foundation Coach or equivalent
  • Rock Skills Learning to Lead Sport Climbs: Mountaineering Instructor Award + Foundation Coach or equivalent (when Rock Climbing Development Instructor has been launched, it will replace the MIA as the minimum qualification to direct this scheme)
  • Rock Skills Learning to Lead Trad Climbs: Mountaineering Instructor Award + Foundation Coach or equivalent (when Rock Climbing Development Instructor has been launched, it will replace the MIA as the minimum qualification to direct this scheme)

  • Climbing Wall Assistant: Climbing Wall Development Instructor
  • Climbing Wall Instructor: Mountaineering Instructor Award
  • Climbing Wall Instructor Abseil Module: Mountaineering Instructor Award
  • Rock Climbing Instructor: Mountaineering Instructor Award
  • Climbing Wall Development Instructor: Mountaineering Instructor Award
  • Rock Climbing Development Instructor: Mountaineering Instructor Award (when Rock Climbing Development Instructor has been launched, it will replace the MIA as the minimum qualification to direct this scheme)

  • Foundation/Development/Performance Coach: the provision of these qualifications is currently limited to a pool of existing experienced climbing coaches.
  • Mountaineering Instructor Award: Mountaineering Instructor Certificate
  • Mountaineering Instructor Certificate: Mountaineering Instructor Certificate


This article was posted on 02/11/2017.