The outdoor recreation sector covers all active and leisure activities occurring in natural settings. Individuals or groups participate in a range of activities from bush walking and swimming to riskier activities like rock climbing and white-water rafting.
The sector sometimes works with disability groups, young people or corporate groups. Organisations tend to specialise in activities such as abseiling, canoeing, or operate as adventure tourism, ecotourism or holiday camps.
People employed in the outdoor recreation sector are usually expected to have “hard” and “soft” skills. Hard skills relate to the expertise in a particular activity which will keep participants safe and soft skills relate to communication, coordination, marketing and facilitation of activities.
OUTDOOR RECREATION IN QUEENSLAND
To quantify numbers, as at November 2012 under the ABS ANZSCO descriptor of Outdoor Adventure Guide, employment in Queensland has increased by 102.2% in the last year to 1,400 persons. Queensland has 43.9 percent share of the national employment of Outdoor Adventure Guides (3,100 persons national).[i] It is almost certain that this number is a conservative estimate of actual employment reported in this sector, as it is unclear if the Outdoor Adventure Guide occupation includes more specific activity based titles such as Recreation Officer, Diving Instructor (Open Water), Outdoor Adventure Instructor, Horse Riding Coach or Instructor, Fishing Guide, Whitewater Rafting Guide, Trekking Guide, and Mountain Guide to name a few.
In addition a study for the outdoor recreation sector[ii] determined that it is not possible to isolate employment in outdoor recreation in the ANZSIC groups in the sub-division Sport and Recreation. However it examined the types of firms in each ANZSIC class and concluded that outdoor recreation firms are likely to predominate the ANZSIC group 913 “Amusement and Other Recreation Activities”.[iii] The report concluded this group accounts for approximately 5 percent (10,600 national) of all paid employees in the Arts and Recreation Services classification (for Queensland this equates to 2,120 employees). Again this is a conservative estimate of numbers as it does not account for those employees classified under other industry sectors.
The ambiguity of national reporting descriptors and classifications and how employers/employees might report /associate their occupation, needs further investigation.
Therefore Skills Alliance estimates that employment for Queensland in outdoor recreation is approximately 3,520.
Value of outdoor recreation to Queensland[iv]
Labour market information[vi]
The following information on occupational shortages, reasons for shortages, issues, and workforce responses is the result of the 2012 Skills Alliance Influence Your Industry’s Future workforce development survey. This information has also been consolidated in the 2012-2013 Skills Report.
Outdoor recreation occupational shortages
Reasons for shortages
A report by the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation also cites the following challenges for the outdoor recreation sector:[viii]
The most commonly reported reasons why employees leave an outdoor organisation include:
Staff skills shortages in the sector focus on:
There is also a key issue around data that is available for this sector that impacts on reported numbers of employees, and how employers associate their workers in terms of job titles and links to the sector – i.e. consistency of labelling of job titles. For example, key titles such as Outdoor Recreation Instructor/Leader and Outdoor Education Instructor/Leader are influenced by the type of employer, the intent of their delivery, facilitation of skills, and the outcomes of what the employer needs to achieve for their organisation.
There are a number of consequences of this issue:
In summary, this issue needs further consideration and sector consultation in order to gain an agreed understanding of how employees are “counted” for the purposes of data capture to ensure validity in reported numbers for the sector.
The top two emerging trends impacting on outdoor recreation organisations are social media and new skills required.
In terms of what strategies outdoor recreation organisation have used to respond to these skills gaps, the top three responses were to:
Future strategies needed
[i] ABS Labour Force Survey – Employment by Occupation Time Series for Queensland to November Quarter 2012
[ii] Measuring the contribution of the Outdoor Recreation Sector in Queensland, May 2012, prepared by Synergies Economic Consulting for the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation
[iii] ABS Cat. 1292.0, 2008, Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) available at http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts.
[iv] Measuring the contribution of the Outdoor Recreation Sector in Queensland, May 2012, prepared by Synergies Economic Consulting for the Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation
[v] Queensland Outdoor Sector Survey 2010, Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation
[vi] Job Outlook, Australian Government, accessed 27 March 2013
[vii] Outdoor Queensland, QORF
[viii] Queensland Outdoor Sector Survey 2010, QORF
There are extensive opportunities in the outdoor recreation industry for volunteering and employment. Types of roles include:
Visiting the Myfuture website: http://www.myfuture.edu.au under the heading the Facts you can find out about the industry. To find out about a specific job in the outdoor recreation industry look under the myfuture’s tab the Facts, Work and Employment/Occupation search.
Service Skills Australia – Outdoor Recreation Discussion Paper – open for consultation – January to March 2015.
Queensland entrepreneur launches new adventure tourism insurance company – Australasian Leisure Management – 30 December 2014
A new insurance company that specialises in personal and property insurance for the often very specific needs of the adventure travel and sports market has been launched.
UN report shows growing value of global adventure tourism – Australasian Leisure Management – 30 November 2014
Identifying adventure tourism as one of the fastest growing sectors in global adventure tourism, a new United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) report highlights that countries in all stages of economic development are prioritising adventure tourism for market growth, based on a recognition of its ecological, cultural and economic value.
Statewide Outdoor Recreation Framework – Queensland Government – November 2014
The Statewide Outdoor Recreation Framework is designed to protect and improve access to outdoor recreation places and spaces; promote outdoor recreation opportunities and participation; and enhance the sustainability and capacity of the outdoor recreation sector.
CAMPING FAMILIES ARE HAPPIER, HEALTHIER AND WEALTHIER – Australasian Leisure Management – 18 September 2014
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia is highlighting that caravanning and camping holidays not only offer great value, but that they also help build and nurture the close relationships that are essential to a happy family life.
Brisbane Valley Rail Trail to benefit from $2 million funding – Australasian Leisure Management – 6 August 2014
Works to the Kilkivan to Kingaroy section of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) have been given the go ahead with the allocation of $2 million to develop the multi-use recreational track.
Recreational review of Queensland dams reaches major milestone – SEQ Water – 16 May 2014
Residents in south-east Queensland will soon have better access to dams and catchments thanks to an extensive review of recreational opportunities, which has reached a major milestone.
Queensland State Government to re-teach kids how to play via Nature Play education program – Jackie Sinnerton, The Courier Mail – 26 February 2014
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says there was an 8.46 per cent increase in emergency presentations of children aged five to 14 in 2012-13 compared with 2010-11. The news is so grim that the State Government is rolling out Nature Play, a project to educate parents and children on how to switch screen time to green time.
Woman vs Wild – at 100km race through the unforgiving mountainous terrain for the Annual The North Face 100 running event.
QORF Awards – 25 October 2013 – Peter Henneken (right), Chair of Skills Alliance presenting the FSR Skills Alliance Excellence in Outdoor Instruction and Education Award to Queensland Conference & Camping Centres.