We take safety into account when hiring our staff. All of our Climbing Instructors are required to have a valid First Aid certificate at least equivalent to St John Ambulance Standard First Aid with CPR. This includes training in the use of the EpiPens and AED that we have on site. The law only requires only that one staff member on duty at a time have this training. In addition these employees have all gone through a Police Reference check, as a means of protecting the children who use our facility.
It is our intention that all of our instructors attain an appropriate level of certification to demonstrate their qualifications and professionalism. There are two certification programmes that we support:
- Climbing Gym Instructor Level 1: for instructors teaching introductory top-rope climbing lessons and movement technique
- Climbing Gym Instructor Level 2: for instructors teaching lead climbing and advanced technique lessons
The ACMG sets a very high standard for each of these levels of certification, which provides assurance that certified instructors will deliver a high level of instruction, including careful attention to all safety issues. Due to the logistics involved in the certification process (many hours of preparation before each course and multiple days in the course itself, which is only offered a few times a year), it is not realistic to make certification a strict prerequisite before hiring instructional staff. We seek out those who have been certified, but will also hire other instructors who we believe are equally qualified, and then make sure they obtain the certification within a reasonable period of time. The gym pays the fees for certification of our staff when we send them to these courses.
The CWA is the industry trade association for climbing wall owners and operators, and now offers a Climbing Gym Instructor certification programme. Our Head Instructor Clint Searle was the first in Canada to be certified as a provider for this programme. We now have most of our instructors certified under this programme, and we will soon offer Instructor Certification as a service to others in the climbing community.