Discovering potential as a mature student on “immersive” Outdoor Adventure Leadership degree

Ian's apprehensions about returning to education completely disappeared as soon as he enrolled to study BA (Hons) Outdoor Adventure Leadership at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Ian Dewhurst decided to progress his studies full-time while continuing to work. As a first time degree student in his mid-30s, Ian did have some concerns about returning to study. In addition to being dyslexic and having negative past experiences with education, he was worried about keeping up with the academic challenges of the degree and also about learning alongside students younger than him. However, Ian said: 

"My fears were quickly dispelled. The staff at the University have been incredibly supportive and caring since my initial expression of interest."

Ian says that he has in fact made “some of the closest friendships” he has ever had with fellow students, who all share a common interest in outdoor activities.

Ian also praised the immersive nature of the programme, which extends far beyond traditional classroom settings.

“I am currently on my eighth residential, sitting in my dorm room overlooking Lake Coniston in the Lake District. I have spent a week learning about adventure sports coaching, receiving tutoring from top-level paddle sports coaches and ex-Olympic level whitewater rafting coaches, who happen to be our lecturers.”

Ian Dewhurst.
Ian Dewhurst.

Currently in his second year of studies, Ian is gaining so much knowledge and experience from the programme that when it finishes he intends to continue his education.

He says: “With the continued support of the University, I now wish to aim high and ultimately achieve a PhD in my chosen subject of outdoor education.

“Thank you to UCLan’s Outdoor Adventure Leadership staff for being positive examples of what is achievable and for showing me the potential available to me as an individual. You have inspired me to strive towards my future goals.”