NNAS Provider Survey 2023 summary

by Nigel Williams

In February 2023 the NNAS Board of Directors carried out a survey of course Providers seeking their views on a range of topics from the awards ratios, contact time and syllabuses to thoughts around Tutor training, Continuing Professional Development (CPD), regionalisation and marketing.

In the 29 years since the NNAS was launched at the Royal Institute of Navigation in 1994 this is the first attempt to survey our Providers. Much has changed in that time from digitised customer management systems to a full-time staffed office, and training for all tutors. The outdoor sector National Governing Bodies have also developed numerous qualifications which can work with the NNAS awards, they have also developed CPD policies and regionalisation governance which are things the Board has either put in place or is investigating. So, it is right that we seek the views of the Providers and gather evidence as we seek to develop our operation and quality assurance to remain the UK’s leading Navigation Training organisation.

74 Providers from around the UK responded, around half were private businesses with the other half being largely educational or corporate groups. (Corporate groups are mostly the uniformed youth organisations).

  • The popular awards of Bronze and Silver are well established and fundamentally sound. There is some debate about the Gold award having a consolidation between the training and assessment to help participants better prepare.
  • The Tutor Training course introduced in 2016 has been well received and is becoming recognised by other partner organisations. The science of Cognitive Navigation is influencing our thinking about who, what, how, why, where, when we teach the subject so keeping Tutor course providers up to date is work in progress.
  • The Regionalisation program is almost complete and this should enable a dispersal of training and quality standards around the UK.
  • Marketing and raising the profile of the NNAS has been a challenge over the years. We are working with our main partner Harvey Maps, also Silva and AdventureSmart to help us with this, but it is clear we need to do more.
  • It was good to find that a number of Providers have worked to make the awards accessible, making reasonable adjustments to manage people who might normally not access this sort of training. There is potential here to collate the examples of what can be done to support people with additional needs.
  • Similarly, there are a few examples of Providers running courses via other activities such as biking and canoeing and they too have offered to share with others thinking of developing something similar.

The NNAS is a small charity with 1.5 full-time equivalent staff managing over 200 Providers. Much of the development work is carried out by the Development Officer on 2 days a month and the individual volunteer Board members. It was gratifying that a number of Providers have made offers of help with some of these tasks.

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