Expedition Leader Training with Gapforce

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About

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!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 30 reviews
  • Housing 7.8
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 8.7
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 15 of 30
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Terence
7/10

Experiential Trip

The Expedition Leader program has been one of the biggest highlights of my life. Trekking jungles in Costa Rica, hiking mountains in Wales and diving in Volcanoes of Nicaragua. It wasn't all fun and games. There were hardships and pressure to perform. All lessons were taught on a hands on basis and every aspect of your performance will be graded and reviewed. It was comprehensive but achievable with the right attitude.

I would like to praise the program for the in-depth interpersonal leadership skills and soft-skills. I believe this was the best skill to take back from the course as the program emphasized on the mental training of a leader which by far is the most important and transferable skill thought throughout the program.

However, I would like to mention that I would personally like the in-house training we've received to be certified on an international basis; cave rescue training, river rescue training and remote first aid.

With everything being said, the program has proved itself to be a 'Leader competent' type of training with the technical skills to compliment.

How can this program be improved?
Certification on technical skills on international level.
Yes, I recommend this program
Gaz
10/10

The most pertinent investment I’ve made in my personal development

I stumbled across this course a month before the departure date. To sign up would require quitting my job, letting my house out and a few other boring real world problems, so after 3 days of trying to talk myself out of it I bit the bullet and booked my place.

I’m writing this review sat in my office - a beach in Thailand, or at least that’s today’s view. This is my first contract working with Gapforce having graduated the Expedition Leader Training Course and it’s reaffiriming my decision to do it every day.

If you have an adventurous spirit and fancy the idea of being paid to travel to exotic locations, inspiring like-minded people in the world of adventure travel and exercising invaluable skills in leadership, logistics and interpersonal relationships then this is for you.

The course itself is fantastic in every way. Even if you have no aspiration to be an expedition leader, as an experience and for the transferable leadership skills you learn that could be taken just as easily into the field as into any corporate environment, it is a worthy investment.

For any outdoors enthusiast with a penchant for travel, a thirst for adventure and a need for a challenge I cannot recommend this course highly enough!

How can this program be improved?
Another trek added into the itinerary instead of one of the volunteer projects would have made it feel more balanced.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Terence
9/10

Expedition leader training

The Expedition leader course was a comprehensive yet mentally and physically challenging experience. We were in the jungle for at least 2 weeks at a time before coming back out for food runs. The highlights of the course we're definitely the 3am emergency medical drills and Expedition recces in Nicaragua. My confidence as a leader has improved and i learned more about myself than any other experiences I've had. After passing the course I was offered a contract to lead the Australian Expedition. My only wish was for the Expedition Leader Training is to include high altitude trekking!

How can this program be improved?
Include high altitude trekking
Yes, I recommend this program
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Robin
8/10

Intensive leadership training

Wanting to change something in my life, I found this course while browsing the internet. It took me a while to decide as it was quite expensive, but they guaranteed work if you pass the cours. I saw it as an investment into the best job possible; motivate and guide people to have the best adventure of their life. I never had any regret signing up, the team became family. It is a very intensive course but so worth all the effort and money! A lot of different topics were covered to open the door to a growing industry: wilderness medicine first aid, logistics, leadership skills, group dynamics, etc. Lessons given by experienced and professional expedition leaders. Whoever loves being outdoor and wants a first grip on the industry this is the course for you! Best choice I ever made!

How can this program be improved?
-More treks would be nice, (but hardly necessary if you are already experienced in hiking and camping)
-a little more equipment training (how to pack, what clothes for what purpose, etc.)
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jon
10/10

Amazing Adventure Experience!

The TEL course program was an AMAZING experience full of adventure, personal growth, challenges, team work and incredible instructors! I highly recommend the course for anyone interested in working in the expedition industry or if you're interested in seeing if you have it in you. It was not not easy by any measure but the experience is worth every bit of sweat and effort! It changed my life in many different incredible and enduring ways!

Yes, I recommend this program
Will
10/10

Got grit?

The hardest and most rewarding four months of my life. Expect dirt; hunger; a brutal workload; high stress; perilous wildlife; unforgiving environments and the need to find reserves of physical and mental resilience you didn't know you possessed.
Gapforce's Expedition Leader Training Program is not for the faint of heart, but provides a unique fast track into the industry with good employment opportunities for those who do well. If nothing else you will come out of the course with a host of transferable skills and the knowledge that you achieved something remarkable.
Oh, and you get to keep your machete afterwards.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Paul
9/10

Self improvement fun...in the jungle!

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Paul
9/10

Best time of my life jungle leader expedition training

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Richard
9/10

Fantastic and challenging four months expedition leader training

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sean
9/10

Expedition Leadership Training course Costa Rica 2016

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jared
10/10

Greatest four months you could ask for

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Matt
10/10

The best experience of my life

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Liam
10/10

Trek force

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Xav
10/10

Great way to spend a gap year

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

Yes, I recommend this program
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charlie
9/10

awsome trip

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

Yes, I recommend this program

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About GapForce

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,...