This paper reports on a study conducted in 2006-07 exploring the perspectives that some Australian employers have of graduates from an outdoor education degree program. Similar studies have been conducted in the US and the UK; however no such study has been conducted in Australia. This study clarifies some of the tensions that exist in the Australian outdooreducation field regarding how employers perceive prospective employees with academic degrees. The study assumed a threefold approach to building knowledge by exploring: 1) The characteristics outdoor education employers sought in prospective employees, 2) The qualities Australian employers in the outdoor profession expect in an OE graduate, and 3) The perceptions employers have of OE graduates currently working in the profession. Findings suggest that personal attributes and experience were the key characteristics that employers sought in outdoor education staff. A degree was considered to be beneficial when recruiting and selecting employees, but only in the context of a broader matrix of other skills. Some employers expressed concerns about inconsistencies between graduates, inaccurate perceptions of graduate’s personal skill levels, and arrogance amongst some graduates.
Australian Journal of Outdoor Education / Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.30-38