KILLIAN O’Riordan from Clonakilty is one of 25 Irish outdoor activity instructors who have been chosen to participate in this year’s Leonardo Da Vinci Programme as part of the Carve initiative.
Carve – the Course for Adventure Related Vocational Educators – allows participants to work and live alongside their French counterparts, and Killian will be going to the Alps on January 24.
Killian, who works in the Ardmore Adventure centre, will be living and working in the glamorous Alpine ski resort of Chamonix for two weeks, to gain a valuable insight into the way adventure centres are run in France.
He was chosen after competing a selection process that began in July.
The participating instructors are skilled, not alone in the technical delivery of outdoor activities such as kayaking, hill walking and rock climbing but also in the delivery of education through the activity.
They specialise in developing life skills through adventure activities, and very often work, not just with outdoor activity enthusiasts, but with youth-at-risk groups, groups with disabilities or addiction, and in some cases elite athletes.
In addition to observing French work practices, participants will also spend some of each day learning to ski or snowboard, or improving their existing skills.
It is hoped they will return with systems and techniques to improve their work in Ireland, and that the work placement will help develop relationships between the Irish and French centres.
The programme, now in its third year, is being funded through Europe, and participants received a FETAC Level 3 language training in preparation for their trip.
The Leonardo Programme has also allowed for the funding of all flights, transfers, accommodation, lessons and subsistence, as well as providing equipment for the harsh Alpine environment.