Expedition Leader Training with Gapforce
93% Rating
(24 Reviews)

Expedition Leader Training with Gapforce

Follow in the footsteps of past Trekforce Leaders including Bruce Parry and Ed Stafford - learn key Survival, Leadership and Management skills on this amazing & challenging 4 month course. You start in the mountains of Wales and then the team heads off to the jungles of Central America. This extreme Training course will push you to the limit, our instructors are there to test you; they won’t make it easy. Can you get your team through some of the most challenging terrain? Will you pass as a Trekforce Expedition Leader? Kick start your career!

Locations
Europe
North America » Costa Rica
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Length
3-6 Months
Accommodation
Hostel
Primary Language
English
Starting Price
$10,000.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Webinar briefing, airport transfers, Instructors, local guides, Medic, accommodation, meals, Mountain Leader Training, DofE Asseser Training, RGS off site management, RLSS Water Safety,remote emergency care, advanced survival training, project training, Rescue & Medi-cal training, 4x4 and canoe training, logbook, project equipment and materials, project trans-fers, 24/7 emergency back-up, social activities, job assistance and T-shirt

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Housing
    80%
  • Support
    93%
  • Fun
    93%
  • Value
    87%
  • Safety
    94%

Program Reviews (24)

Default avatar
Paul
Male
29 years old
UK
University of Sussex

Self improvement fun...in the jungle!

9/10

This is a diverse course that will push you both mentally and physically. The course aims to train you in all sorts of skills such as orienteering, survival and leadership theory. River crossings and wilderness medicine were the 2 parts of the course I enjoyed the most. Whilst these 'hard' skills are very expedition orientated, I have found a lot of the leadership theory and training to be transferable. It's been very useful since returning to my job managing a small team. With such a range of topics covered, there is something in this course for everyone. Living as part of a small group of people can also give you some insight into how you fit into a group. Regular feedback sessions from both your peers and instructors make for valuable learning experiences as the course progresses.

One thing that that was discussed at great length throughout the course was the food. Before signing up to this course it's important to realise that you will be spending up to two weeks at a time in the jungle. As such, don't be expecting five star dining, it's an expedition! That said, meals are sufficient and I'd recommend people view meal planning and rations shopping as a challenge. This aspect, like so much else on the course, comes down to what you make of it yourself

I'd like to give the team of instructors a special mention in this review. Jade and Colin have been doing this for a long time, and it shows. They're extremely inspiring people with a wealth of experience and knowledge ready to pass on. Elliot isn't such a dinosaur. He's fairly new to the team but being a graduate of the course himself, he knows the content inside out and is a natural in his role.

Since completing the course I have been in contact with Gapforce and look forward to working for them in the summer. It's an excellent way to break in to a notoriously difficult industry and would recommend this program to anyone looking to do this.

How can this program be improved?

There are some disparities between documentation received from the Gapforce office and what actually happens on the course. For example, I thought the urban awareness aspect would be more comprehensive and I was hoping to complete a high altitude trek and more kayaking. I have since come to understand the difficulties in organising these activities in country and it's a good example of how expeditions in general have to be flexible. However, I'd like to see the documentation reflect this so that expectations can be more relaistic.

Default avatar
Paul
Male
30 years old
Brighton
University of the West of England

Best time of my life jungle leader expedition training

9/10

It really was the best time of my life - I'm not just saying that either!

Firstly we completed our mountian leader training in Wales, 10 days of hill walking, navigation and leading - taught by fantastic and knowledgable instructors. We had a great bunkhouse all to ourselves, 15 mins away from the base of Snowdonia. Although the training is normally reserved for those that have 3 weeks prior experience, due to the fact that we are completing this ELT course, Gapforce have an exemption. It's definitely a worthwhile and fun part of the trip!

We then headed off to Costa Rica for jungle training, Colin, Jade and Elliot teaching us how to master living and surviving in the harsh environment of a real jungle - learning anything from the basics - lighting fires and using our machetes properly, to more advanced survival training - building beds and shelters from all natural materials. Being in a jungle is not something I had ever done but really liked it, seeing all the fauna and flora, sleeping in a hammock every night and cooking on an open fire. We also completed extensive medical training, Jade running through basic and wilderness first aid, including scenarios that became more elaborate as our knowledge increased, including killer bees, machete killers and falling off cliff sides - all great experience and training, in situ to help replicate real-life situations.

The next stage was to head off to Nicaragua and recce the country, a very important part of expedition leading. We headed off in small teams and a budget and had to decide what activities, sights and places to complete for a 10 day adventure of the country! The teams then came together to pick the best bits from each team's adventure and then duely completed it ourselves. This allowed us the freedom to interact and see the country through our own eyes, picking out sections that we thought would be great to see and do, whilst also learning what it is to recce a area/country

Other individual parts that stand out were the night of cave rescue, river crossings, R&R canyoning and the basics of bicycle and kayaking were all extraordinary fun and great learning experiences.

The personal development runs highly as well, with regular feedback sessions and ways to improve your personal performance, skills improvement and leadership styles/models.

It is expensive, which was a major drawback for me, taking a long time to decide whther to go ahead with it. But with the intensive daily training, budget for accomodation and food, once the first day of the course rolls on, you don't really think about the money anymore - it's all about completing something that most people wouldn't even think of doing.

Default avatar
Richard
Male
27 years old
U.K.
University of Exeter

Fantastic and challenging four months expedition leader training

9/10

The gapforce expedition leader training course is a fantastic experience. You spend some time in Wales completing the first part of the mountain leader course, before heading to Costa Rica. There you'll spend the best part of 3 and a half months in and out of the jungle, learning how to survive in such a challenging environment. Once you have the basic jungle skills mastered you begin to get opportunities to teach other groups. This experience is invaluable for those looking to make this a career and I think it's one of the best parts of the course. Another part of the course I really enjoyed was our Recce in Nicaragua. We were sent out in small groups to find interesting and fun experiences and then to write up all our findings and create an itinerary. Another part of the course which I really liked was the river crossings. We spent a lot of time learning how to cross rivers safely and to rescue casualties (it's also a good excuse to cool off in the heat and have a bit of a play!). The course includes a lot of medical and incident management training, both of which I found to be very enjoyable. Scenarios range from a snake bite casualty on the other side of a river, to a machete wielding maniac in camp, to a casualty with a spinal injury that needs to be stretchered out of the jungle, so there's a real mix of mental and physical challenges. Our leaders Colin and Jade were also great, very knowledgable and always had a good laugh with us which made the lessons more enjoyable. All in all the whilst the course is expensive you recieve a lot of valuable training, you'll meet lots of cool like minded people and it's a great opportunity to learn new skillls and challenge yourself. It's also a really good fast track into the industry, as those who do well on the course have the chance to work with gapforce afterwards.

How can this program be improved?

The program already includes quite a few certificates, but I think it could be improved even more by providing a few more qualifications to help with employability. The Spanish lessons could also be more in depth.

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Sean
Male
25 years old
Gent - Belgium

Expedition Leadership Training course Costa Rica 2016

9/10

Just after finishing the First part of the course in Wales our group was of to the paradise called Costa Rica.
Away from all the harsh weather, out of the mountains and into the jungle.
We got to experience all the hardships and started learning what challenges it brings to become a leader.
We've learned so much and everyone had there own personal challenges to face, which for me were almost all conquered.
I feel like a new man and feel like I can take on any challenge.
All in all the course was life changing.

How can this program be improved?

I felt like the course could have been cheaper and some group problems could have been resolved a lot faster if the leaders were there to solve them faster.

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Jared
Male
28 years old
Wollongong, Australia

Greatest four months you could ask for

10/10

Didn't know what I had gotten myself into when I first signed up to the course. Now having completed it I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences I have had in the past 6yrs of travelling the globe. learnt many new sills as well as developing some very essential life skills that transfer to multiple situations and industries. Can't fault the course in any way. If you are thinking about doing it, don't hesitate and jump in. You wont regret it.

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Matt
Male
20 years old
Aberdeen, Scotland

The best experience of my life

10/10

I had recently left school in May 2015 and was looking for a worthwhile gap year which would give me some sort of qualification. I could have never predicted the change this course would have to my life. I feel as though it made me a more productive, responsible and well balanced individual. It doesn't matter whether you think you're already all of those things, this course will change you for the better in every way possible. I cannot recommend this course enough. The best experience of my life.

How can this program be improved?

We did a lot of traveling around to get to different places to do different things. I felt at times that we did more traveling than we did activities. Got to put in the mileage to get to the destination though.

Default avatar
Liam
Male
24 years old
Durham

Trek force

10/10

Really good course that develops you in leadership and as a person. The activities you participate in are once in a life time. The leaders are well motivated to provide a good course for the trainees. Big thanks to dan and lidia for providing a good course.

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Xav
Male
24 years old
London

Great way to spend a gap year

10/10

We all learnt a lot over the four month course that will be invaluable in expedition life. Both on personal and leading expeditions abroud. The training team of dan and lydia and the medic Kim were great

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charlie
Male
24 years old
england

awsome trip

9/10

the while trip from start to finish was a well run and very professional operation. I feel that In four months I have learnt more than I ever thought I would, and after being constantly drilled with early morning scenario wake ups I now feel very confident to deal with any medical situation that I may be presented with in the futer. I would definitely recommed this trip to the adventurace soul

Default avatar
Regan
Female
24 years old
Santa Barbara, California

review of the TEL program

10/10

The Expedition Leader program from GapForce was one of the best experiences I have had. This was unlike anything I had ever done before, and it was a blast. The skills and life lessons I have gained from this course are ones that I will have with me for the rest of my life.

How can this program be improved?

I would make sure the groups are always of a certain number of people.

Default avatar
Joe
Male
24 years old
Stamford
University of Leicester

Trekforce expedition leader training

10/10

A well rounded course with a lot to offer the adventurous soul and anyone wanting to make a change with their lifestyle and experience something truly exciting and difficult. Dan and Lydia made outstanding leaders that were confident, friendly and dealt with every situation that arose proffensionally and swiftly

How can this program be improved?

Longer belt kit

Default avatar
Nico
Male
24 years old
Sarasota FL

Tel course

8/10

The course was very well organized and ran with the upmost care in regards to safety. This is all while keeping the intensity up which is what I think most people find so great about this course. Mr. Chew and Ms. Mason where of the upmost proffessional character during the course.

Default avatar
Francesca
Female
24 years old
Cardiff
Cardiff University

Mayan medic mtec

10/10

There aren't words to communicate what an incredible experience this was. We were pushed to our limits, both physically and mentally, but had support from amazing group leaders (thank you Dan and Lydia!) plus met an incredible group of likeminded people.
We felt well supported by Gapforce as a company, and had complete faith and confidence in our leaders, which meant that i felt safe participating in activities that I never thought I was capable of back at home! What's more, I learnt a huge amount of expedition medicine which I hope to utilise one day. Highs included 2 days of kayaking, experiencing and participating in a simulated cave rescue, and learning how to build an improvised stretcher and getting to float a fellow group member on it down some rapids! A negative is the extensive kit list, but I think its worth it for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

How can this program be improved?

The opportunity to skype/ have contact with the actual group leaders prior to the trek. Would have been great to get their advice about kit.

Default avatar
Stefan
Male
32 years old
Belgrade, Serbia

In the Jungle

10/10

Well thought out program run by skillful staff.
Designed to build your confidence and skill, without overwhelming you.
The program covers wide range of subjects and will provide opportunity for significant personal growth.
Highly recommended.

Default avatar
Barney
Male
24 years old
Norwich, Norfolk, UK

Jungle fun

8/10

This course is definitely an experience. Personally, going from never having thought about leading expeditions, to be able to, is awesome. You learn so much along the way, with so many amazing experiences. I would definitely recommend.

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patrick
Male
24 years old
UK

ELT Great Career base

10/10

ELT course has given me a really sound base to begin my career. The jungle environment and intensity and diversity of the training has enabled
me to learn on the go.
River canoeing, navigation jungle activities getting my planning focused.
A dynamic group of people helped us build on our weaknesses.
A tough course for people wanting something a bit different who are really looking to find themselves in a challenging well organised structure.

How can this program be improved?

Food rations to suit body size and build not just one person one ration

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Nick
Male
42 years old
Hampshire, England
Oxford Brookes University

TrekForce TEL Course April 2014

9/10

Course:
Throughout the past 4 months the TEL course has challenged, pushed and inspired me. The course was run in sections each one taking our skills and abilities to the next level. It was well paced and very effective in ensuring we learnt everything correctly and safely but also realistically. The course utilised many different areas of Belize and as much variation as possible. I feel this was very beneficial and broadened our scope of learning especially meeting and working with many of the local guides and rangers. This was clearly only achievable with the excellent relations that the leaders had with all the local contacts and the mutual respect was obvious to see. Overall I found the course very well run and constantly challenging and enjoyable and also pushing us in many different directions. I joined to TEL course to push myself in different and challenging environments and I feel it achieved this on every level.
Leaders:
Our leaders for the TEL course, Henry Reynolds and Leo Bradbury, I feel, were the main factors in the success and the enjoyment of the course. Their enthusiasm and clear love of the jungle environment really shone through. There was a real feel that they both wanted to show off the best that Belize has to offer and while a lot of the course could be run in one area they really wanted to take us away and push us in other challenging areas and experience as much as possible. The desire to try new things, see new areas and ensure that we all experienced everything available was clear to see. The excellent relationships that they both have with the local guides and rangers was also clear and really benefitted the overall experience. The teaching methods were both well balanced and well thought out allowing us to practice all our skills whilst also being available to aid and educate us before any assessment to ensure a full understanding is gathered. Overall the leaders were excellent, always enthusiastic and fully engaged in giving us the best experience possible. They are both great assets to the TEL program and I believe intrigal to the course’s future success.

Default avatar
Hanna
Female
32 years old
Warrington, Uk
University of Glasgow

Awesome experience!

10/10

TEL course review

I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the course, it was definitely at points one of the most challenging things I have ever done - but also hugely rewarding at the same time. The course itself was very varied and also very practical, I feel I have learnt a wide range of leadership, bushcraft and communication skills that will be of huge benefit to me in the future, whether or not I decide to peruse a career in the exhibition leader field.

Leaders review

Henry and Leo were fantastic leaders, and truly did make the course. Their enthusiasm for teaching, extensive knowledge of the course content and overall encouragement and leadership made me determined to push myself to do well, even in the most challenging moments. I really feel they got the best out of me, and I got the best out of the course because of this.

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Victoria
Female
24 years old
Wirral,UK
Nottingham University

TEL 15

10/10

During the TEL course we have had the opportunity to go from knowing nothing about the jungle to thoroughly enjoying it and knowing how to live in it. The course was very well structure so section after section built on each other giving us a great breath of knowledge. We were very privileged to be able to spend time with Belizean's within BDARRT learning about rescue from them, also spending time with local guides who clearly knew a lot about the jungle. Within the course particular highlights were cave rescues, the final trek and teaching the cockscomb rangers first aid which had never been done before this was rewarding as we were able to give something back to a group that had helped us and worked with us previously.

The credit for everything we learned and how well we came on has to be give to Henry and Leo (our instructors). Their teaching methods were strong and useful and lessons were always to a very high standard. Throughout the course they were always available to answer questions and guide us through sections we were struggling with. It was particularly good to see how much they enjoyed the jungle environment and the course as there enthusiasm was passed on to us and allowed them to push to organise new and different things. It was also very good to see how good their relationships with locals was as this allowed us to spend more time with them and benefit from their wealth of experience.

The course was an amazing experience and I would thoroughly recommend it to others. I have to thank Henry and Leo for making it such an incredible experience.

Default avatar
Rob
Male
24 years old
england

TEL 15 Henry and Leo Review

9/10

The course was an amazing experience, starting with basic jungle skills which were then utilized and built on as we were pushed to improve our leadership abilities alongside everything else that we were learning. Particular highlights for me now that i look back were my 1st leadership assessment that was extremely challenging and everything seemed to go wrong but was actually a lot of fun, the moment that stands out as a highlight was finishing the final trek and then standing tall on top of a restored mayan pyramid in xunantunich. in summary the course was well put together with tons of things to learn and build experience from Thankyou for an amazing trip!!

Henry. a strong character that was tough when needed but always giving just the right amount of support and asking the questions that prompt you to think of the answer you were looking for. henrys wealth of obvious jungle experience was always available for consultation but would often push you to find the answer yourself, this i think is one of the things that to me made henry stand out as a leader and instructor. it was a pleasure to be taught by him.

Leo. The assistant leader on this course. Leo has his own rhythm which whenever he stepped u to a leading role becomes much more pronounced this gave him an air of exactly what was needed in that position. As we were always observed and assessed Leo was very good at picking up on the smaller details and various actions of the group that you yourself may not have realised were happening. a naturally friendly person who was always approachable and would listen to any problems that may have been presented. again an extensive knowledge of bushcraft and workings of fire that shows through on any number of occasions of basic jungle life though very strongly in the survival section of the course. once again it was an honor to be taught by him.

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Henry
Male
24 years old
Tunbridge wells, Kent

Fun in the jungle!!!

9/10

The TEL course run by TrekForce was one of the most beneficial training courses i have been on (and iv been on many!) it is run in a way which means people from all different backgrounds and experience levels can all learn and grow as leaders, because lets face it how many people have spent 4 months in the jungle?... not many! all the training was hands on and practical which really appealed to me, the medical training and rescue training were defiantly the highlights of my course. the instructors on the course were incredibly knowledgeable and experienced and were able to pass on that experience to every one on the course. it is both physically and mentally very challenging but with the right attitude completely achievable! i would 100% recommend the TEL course to anyone who is passionate about the outdoors, leadership and most of all having an adventure!

How can this program be improved?

more bushcraft training

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Francesca
Female
24 years old
United Kingdom
University of Exeter

An amazing experience

9/10

I loved all of this course. Life in the jungle was amazing I loved going to a really simple way of living with the real basics. You were surrounded by amazing wildlife and everyone loves washing in a waterfall. Some of the course could be quite tough but it was really rewarding learning new skills and putting them into practice. The full night cave rescue with BDart was a real test of endurance and it was great to see everyone really pulling together and working as a team. And I got an amazing job out of it at the end working in South America. It really equips you to run expeditions from the exciting bits like using a machete to the organisational stuff like budgeting and organising projects.

How can this program be improved?

It would have been good to move around the country a bit more, a lot of the course was in the same national park.

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Leo
Male
24 years old
Oxford, England

TEL course 12 - TrekForce

9/10

3 months, trekking through some of the most challenging and awe inspiring terrain the world has to offer, sleeping in hammocks amongst the jungles chorus of unfamiliar animals, training with expedition medic's and BDARRT (Belize Disaster and rescue response team). Even after all this i would say it's not for everyone but if the last sentence tickles your fancy then the experience will be unique and full. Brace yourself for some thing challenging. It will be the mosi's and rations that will get you in the end. Can't wait to get back out there.

How can this program be improved?

A programme of this nature will never run like a Carribbean cruise and hiccups should be embraced as part of the adventure. However the prospective TEL should be aware that months of rice,crackers and corned beef will take it's toll but is the only food robust and light enough to be carried and survive the jungle. Always remember, eat like a king when your in town.

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Jamie
Male
24 years old
England

gotta love the jungle!!

8/10

great course! really enjoyed the trek... 5 days walking though waist deep water and through caves! also a great place to meet like minded people! learn some fantastic skills in an amazing location, what more can you want!

How can this program be improved?

would like more treks!

About The Provider

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Gapforce is a leading provider of structured Gap Year programs and summer opportunities overseas. The wide range of global adventures includes marine conservation, wildlife protection, community volunteering & healthcare, extreme expeditions, leadership training, working holidays, internships, sport coaching, ski instructor and leadership training.

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