24 Oct People From Ethnically Diverse Backgrounds
.This post is about Mountain training Englands (MTE) Skills and Training fund From a Mountain Leaders Perspective
50% Off Don’t Miss Out
‘There is a 50% discount for all those people who are from ethnically diverse backgrounds. This means that the course providers can apply for the discount on behalf of their candidates, or individuals can apply for the discount to make access to the courses easier.’
This post explores my own experience of the movement toward making the outdoors industry more accessible for people from ethnically diverse backgrounds.
My experience has been both negative and positive. Nevertheless I think that this is a fantastic opportunity for people to come together and share the professional side of the great outdoors and I whole heartedly support the movement. If you are reading this and simply want to apply then … the skills and training fund is available to individuals, strategic partners and MTE course providers. Enabling people from ethnically diverse backgrounds who are currently under represented among their candidates to benefit from MTE’s skills and leadership teams … and here is the link.
If you would like to hear my experience and why I believe this is a good cause then continue reading.
The Negative Experience
This topic has brought both a positive and a negative experience me. I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to speak out about my negative experience because I feel the positive experience out weighs the negative, also it is a doubly positive, because MTE have taken away a huge barrier, the cost of courses. Also they have made it easier for professionals like me to promote their incentives for people from ethnically diverse backgrounds. lets hope it works.
This push for more people from ethnically diverse backgrounds to get involved with leadership courses has come off the back of Black Lives Matter (BLM). There has been more awareness growing over the past few years but it appears the uptake of the courses has not been significant. There was a moment during BLM when a couple of people started to challenge the Mountain Leader Trainee Facebook Group. Their was one person in particular who started the out cry on the platform and then persisted in explaining that the outdoors industry in the UK is corrupt and racist.
Double Edged Sword
Personally I do not believe the industry favor people for the color of their skin or culture. All that said mountaineering in the UK was founded and developed by Victorian people, mostly white men. Mountaineering and adventuring is a huge part of British Culture and something for all Brits to be proud of. Lets be honest the British do not have a good track record of been fair and caring. We became the next wave of savages dressed as civilised people but with evil and twisted ideals. We raped, murdered and pillaged on many a continent. My time in South Africa taught me how dark my ancestors were and I returned home disgusted with the true history of Britain, something they rarely teach us about in school. However, Mountaineering, maps and adventuring is one thing we can be proud of, and even this can be argued against, but we all need somethings to feel culturally positive about.
I challenged the outcry on the Mountain Leader Trainee Facebook Page. My understanding is that the platform is for people to go and ask questions about the skills needed to become a mountain leader. it is also a place for mountain leaders to go and share their knowledge to support others on their journey, it is a resource for everyone. I asked why the person felt the need to bring this argument onto that particular platform, I felt it was inappropriate and the noise it made over powered good quality and educational content with politically driven messages.
The admins on the group explained I was out of order and asked me to be quiet. I respected their cancelling of my argument and stopped commenting. Nevertheless, I took the chat private and did some digging to find out who the individual that started the outcry actually was. It turned out that it was a person from overseas. I asked how long they had been living in the UK and if I could assist with my skills as a mountain leader, I was happy to support the movement with action instead of argument.
They went on to explain that they had never been to the UK but would one day like to visit. This confused me a lot. Someone who has never been to the UK or has any intention of accessing the courses run by MTE was on a platform focused on supporting people to become Mountain Leaders arguing about equal rights. I could understand if this person was based in the UK and had come up against adversity, but the simple truth is that they hadn’t. It felt like an attempt to raise awareness for a good cause using a lie to do it, in my mind that is immoral and destructive.
Roll on to the 2021 guiding season and the booking started to flow in. looking back at the demographics of the clients I have guided this season I can confirm that over half of my clients have been people from ethnically diverse backgrounds. I have had people from China, Canada, Indonesia, Latvia, Spain, Lebanon and then people with Caribbean heritage, African heritage the list goes on. only about 40% of my clients have been White British and 100% of the people I have helped who were lost in the hills were also white British, or at least they appeared white and they spoke with an accent which was defiantly British.
This season has proved, at least for me, the complete opposite to what the message media was portraying. While the media are shouting about BLM and people from ethnically diverse backgrounds not having equal access to the outdoors I was leading the people described above through the mountains sharing my skills with them but more importantly I was learning about their culture.
The positive Experience
This doesn’t by any means reflect the reality of people accessing the outdoors professional qualifications. This is my experience of guiding and not a model for equality in accessing courses. All that said, may be I can go out on a whim here and say that my approach to the guiding world is different and attracts more people from ethnically diverse back grounds. May be Summit and Beyond was written through my filter of travel and cultural experiences, rather than through the filter of my experience as a white British man working within a movement founded by white British men. I suppose I have naturally aimed my branding and the message I project towards a deeper human experience, where as many other guiding services focus on one aspect of human existence, adrenaline.
The Conflicting Vail
It feels as though some how I have created a conflicting vail for my self. The vail has been both liberating and utterly confusing. Most services including MTE are trying hard to entice more people from ethnically diverse back grounds to access their offers. At the same time I am quietly spending roughly 60%, over half of my time out guiding with those very people. From my point of view we should be giving white British people the 50% off the courses because white British people are the people making the dangerous mistakes out in the fells. Also people fro ethnically diverse backgrounds are happily paying for professional support.
I may have placed Summit and Beyond in this position by accident, like I said before, through my filter created by travel and cultural experiences. Nevertheless, I feel that it puts Summit and Beyond in a strong position in the market. As a result of this I have spent the past few weeks on a business development course and have created a business plan to establish the aims for Summit and Beyond’s future.
Book Your Course
I feel extremely grateful to have the opportunity to guide people into the mountains. I also feel blessed to have travelled and learned a great deal about different cultures. It was refreshing seeing this offer pop up from MTE. It also motivated me to push forward and keep on living under the vail of my own experiences. This line of work provides the opportunity to spend a day out hiking with some of the most interesting and culturally diverse people I have ever met.
If you are reading this post and you are from a ethnically diverse background. If working in the outdoors is something you would like to explore? Then go and book your course and use this amazing opportunity.
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We are now taking bookings for 2022 season. Contact us here to book your Mountain Adventure
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