The popularity of the great outdoors has led many more people to enjoy time in the countryside during the pandemic which is why certain activities are at the heart of new training courses to be delivered by a Hampshire based training company.


From its base at Botley Mills, DA Training and Consultancy has been operating since 2012 and they are now launching a separate outdoor-focused arm, DA Outdoors. The main business is a national training and consultancy provider which delivers funded training covering apprenticeships, workforce skills, redundancy support, commercial training and e-learning, via an experienced team of tutors, teachers and assessors, with a customer base stretching across the country.


Managing director at DA Training Consultancy, Lorna Carter-Blake, said: “Outdoor spaces and activities have been vital to both physical and mental wellbeing during recent months. People have walked or exercised regularly, and visited new coastal, river or countryside spaces to re-connect with their friends and family.


“Home clear outs and garden projects have filled the hours along with cooking and crafting, schooling children, or cycling together. This is something we can build upon, because we have the structure in place to deliver learning. We are adding the new offer in response to new interests.”


The team is currently working to create courses best suited to altering safety guidance which will comply with social distancing measures, for example land and water-based day courses covering bush craft and foraging, expedition and camping skills, aimed at both locals and visitors who may be planning a staycation break in Dorset or Hampshire.


Climbing, mountain biking, kayaking and canoeing are amongst sustainable and environmentally friendly activities which have become popular in recent years, whilst stand up paddle boarding has enjoyed exponential growth during the pandemic’s fine weather, with practitioners regularly travelling up the River Hamble to Botley.


Lorna Carter-Blake said “Apprenticeships in the leisure and hospitality sectors train staff who work in numerous holiday parks, outdoor activity centres and hospitality venues, and many are fortunate to have grounds or premises which we can adapt to allow for social distancing.”

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