Gap Years

A Unique and Fulfilling Gap Year Experience

What is Firm Foundations?

We run a highly successful gap year programme called Firm Foundations, the course is completely free and a great introduction to the outdoor industry or a challenging year out. Firm Foundations provides a unique opportunity to gain 6 to 10 NGB qualifications free of charge.

During the year you will learn various skills and be trained to run many different activities for schools and visitors of our activity centres. You will gain industry standard qualifications which will allow you to progress into the outdoor adventure industry no matter what you decide to do at the end of the 12-month scheme.

Learn more about our two Activity Centres – Whitemoor Lakes and Pioneer Centre

Where is the scheme based?

The scheme is run at our two activity centres Whitemoor Lakes in Staffordshire and Pioneer centre in Shropshire.

Whitemoor Lakes is based near Lichfield the activities are land, water and ropes based. For a full list of Activities see our activities page, here are some of them: fencing, archery, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, high ropes, climbing, abseil and zip wire.

Pioneer Centre is based near Kidderminster, the activities are predominantly land based both Roped and Skilled, to see our activities visit our activities page or check out our Instagram @pioneer_acuk : some activities include Climbing, High Ropes, Ariel Trek, Raft Building, Archery and The Giant Swing.

When does it start and how do I apply?

We have 2 intake’s each year January and August – our next intakes will be starting in August 2024 and January 2025 – You can apply through the link at the bottom of the page.

The Firm Foundations scheme is open to international volunteers however you will require a Tier 5 Visa to be considered for the scheme – we cannot offer this directly but have contact with third party organisations that can help.


A taste of what the year is like

The year will provide you with a fun and challenging opportunity to begin your career in the outdoors or learn a new set of skills in your gap year, you will receive all the training you need in-house to deliver a wide range of outdoor sessions to a variety of different groups.



What qualifications could I get?



First Aid

Rescue Emergency Care

Fencing Core Coach

British Fencing Association

Archery Instructor Award

Archery GB

Paddle Explore

British Canoeing

Foundation Safety and Rescue Training

British Canoeing

PLUS: Training Budget for other Qualifications

For more information on further qualifications specific to each centre please get in touch!

Apply Now

Click the button below and fill in our online application form…yes it’s that easy!

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How can I find out more?

If you’ve got a question about the course, chat to us on Facebook or drop us an e-mail.


More info

Kings Park Rd,

T: 01604 499699

King's Park Conference Centre

More info

Kings Park Rd,

T: 01604 493111

King's Park Sports

More info

Kings Park Rd,

T: 01604 494100 / 797900


More info

Cleobury Mortimer,
DY14 8JG

T: 01299 271217

Whitemoor Lakes

More info

Barley Green Ln,
WS13 8QT

T: 01283 795000