We are announcing some great updates to the Level two skills awards that are coming into effect at the end of May 2021. (please see documents below for detailed outline)
We are aware that clubs are finding it difficult to get people on the water, and that the overall growth and development of Paddle Sport in Ireland has been stunted.
This was reinforced with the completion of the Award scheme review which highlighted several issues with the awards and qualifications scheme.
What we have embarked on since 2019 is a conservative approach to award redevelopment, we have focused on how to make small changes that can be implemented effectively but that have the biggest impact.
It was with this approach that in Dec 2020 at the Training and Development Unit AGM that the Committee and the TDO put forward the recommendation to change the level two skills award from an award that required the holders of this award to be led by an instructor to a peer award, where now they can paddle as a group with out the need to be led by an instructor. This motion was carried by over a 2 thirds majority. So once this motion was carried the TDUC and the TDO reviewed the syllabus to ensure that the changes were made while still ensuring that Safety was still a number one priority.
In changing the level 2 skills awards we wanted to achieve a number of things
- Support the clubs to help them get more people on the water.
- Integrate safety and decision making into personal paddling earlier in the development of the paddler.
- Adjust the gap in progression from level two skills to level three skills.
- And to adjust the gap between level one and level two skills so as to make the level one skills a more viable award.
- We also want the focus of the personal skills awards to be making people safe independent paddlers.
There was a lot of discussion and back and forth to ensure that the changes were appropriate.
In summary the main changes to the awards are as follows:
- Peer group as opposed to led by an instructor.
- Candidates will now explore weather and environmental factors and trip planning.
- Candidates will explore elements of decision making, risk assessment and group management.
- Candidates will now be expected to be able to carry out deep water rescues with the assistance of other members of the group.
- Candidates will be expected to be able to do a T rescue/paddle presentation rescue.
- Candidates will explore methods of towing in their training.
- Candidates as a group will be expected to carry some additional group equipment.
- All other strokes and techniques remain the same as the pervious version of the awards.
- U-18 Level 2 Skills Paddlers must still be supervised by some one who is over 18.
- The scope of the award remains unchanged.
We expect that we will see an increase in the training time required to achieve this award going from 12 hrs approx to 15-18 hours approx.
We would encourage all instructors to ensure that they are familiar with delivering new elements of the award.
We would encourage all clubs to only allow level two skills paddlers on pre risk assessed trips. That are approved by the Club Committee, and to take a cautious approach to trips while the updates to the award become established. Instructors/leaders can still be present on the trips but level two skills holders no longer need to be counted in the Instructor Ratio of 1:6 (1:8 for L3 Instructors in flat water).
For Members who have been previously awarded the level two skills we would encourage some upskilling before embarking on peer trips, to ensure that you are comfortable with the new elements of the award and the new remit which it affords you. We would suggest that you contact your club or course provider to help you with your training needs.
We would encourage all non-club providers to encourage their course participants to join the nearest club, so that they can continue paddling in a supported environment while they develop their experience.
Finally, this change to the level two skills awards, is the beginning of a wider overhaul of the awards, changes to the level two instructor have already taken place and changes to the River Safety Rescue awards have taken place. There are currently working groups that are reviewing the Sea kayak awards, and the Canoe skills Awards and the development of a Club accreditation scheme, we are also in the process of developing a competitive coaching framework. We have launched a new participation level award at the end of May, and we hope to have the overhaul of the education section of the website in the coming months.
On Behalf of the TDO and the TDUC we would like to thank you all for your time, patience and input into this process, if you have any questions or comments or ideas about the awards in general or specific relating to the level two skills, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Training and Development Officer Canoeing Ireland