Local Climbing and Abseiling Awards recognised by Girlguiding

This is a list of awards the holders of which are approved to instruct Girlguiding members. The list does not imply that these awards may be used other than at the locations and within the remit of each award.

Please remember that the most likely reason that an award is not on this list is that we have not been asked about it! If you would like us to check an award please email us (see Contacts page).

Level 1 Equivalents

The Climbing Wall Award

This is issued by Mountain Training (MTUK) and has for a while been an equivalent award for Girlguiding. This means that you do not need the Girlguiding Level 1 Award if you hold the Climbing Wall Award (CWA). Please note that the Climbing Wall Award doesn’t include abseiling unless you take the abseiling module, which is extra – then it would be called the CWAA.

So… what does this mean?

  • If you hold the CWA you can teach climbing to Girlguiding members as if you had the Level 1 Award from Girlguiding, but you may not teach abseiling.
  • If you hold the CWAA you can teach climbing to Girlguiding members and you can teach abseiling too.
  • If you have done CWAA Training (which is the CWA Training plus an extra 4 hours of abseil training), you are exempt from Level 1 Girlguiding Training.
  • If you have only done CWA Training and not CWAA with the extra abseiling, you are not exempt from Level 1 Training (nor any part of it).
  • Please note that if you are exempt from CWA Training or CWAA Training you are not automatically exempt from Girlguiding Level 1 Training but must apply to Girlguiding for exemption.

If you are interested in the CWA, go to: http://www.mountain-training.org/award-schemes/cwa

Northern Ireland Education & Library Board Level 2 Awards

These are all assessed by MIA’s or MIC’s and are therefore acceptable. Please note that the North-Eastern ELB does not issue climbing qualifications at all.

Northern Ireland Mountain Training Board – Climbing Wall Supervisor Award

This award has now been superseded by the UK wide Climbing Wall Award.

Scout National Activity Centres

There are currently seven of these (see listings) –

o   Buddens, Dorset

o   Downe, Kent

o   Gilwell Park, Essex

o   Great Tower, Lake District

o   Hawkhirst, Northumberland

o   Woodhouse Park, Bristol

o   Youlbury, Oxford

These centres are unique in Scouting in that they are assessed by their own scheme for National Activity Centres at a higher standard than is required elsewhere in Scouting. All climbing/abseiling staff are assessed by MIA/MIC holders and are therefore accepted by Girlguiding.

In House Awards

Many centres, LEAs, climbing walls etc. have their instructors assessed by MIA or MIC holders every year. This is accepted by Girlguiding UK. Please ask the centre whether this is the case; the instructor must be directly assessed by the MIA or MIC holder and the certificate signed by that person, and this may not be subcontracted to the holder of another award (e.g. an SPA holder, no matter how experienced); and it must be renewed annually.

Please note that in – house awards may be more specific than other awards; instructors may for example be qualified to run one specific activity only. Please ask.


‘Weaselling’ is the local name in the Peak District for rock scrambling. This has been a very popular activity for many years in the area with outdoor groups.

Weaselling is classed as a climbing related activity as it: a) requires the use of helmets, spotting and climbing techniques; b) can involve considerable drops and work near cliff edges (e.g. Higger Tor); c) is usually undertaken in areas recognised as climbing crags.

Therefore the qualifications for weaselling are:  – A National Governing Body outdoor climbing qualification: SPA, MIA, MIC, British Mountain Guide. (NB Not Climbing Wall Award)  – OR a competent adult in possession of appropriate First Aid certificate who has been trained by a holder of the MIA or MIC. The assessment must be carried out directly, and signed, by the MIA/MIC holder. This training will be site specific. The training will normally be valid for a period to be decided by the MIA/MIC but not more than five years.

Innovative Leisure, Leicester

Innovative Leisure are the importers and approved representatives of an American brand of climbing walls. Girlguiding have accepted the training provided by Innovative Leisure as appropriate for the walls, which are classified in the same way as fairground rides.

The instructors/operators of the wall must provide a written certificate/letter signed by Mr Phil Pickersgill of Innovative Leisure to evidence that they are trained and approved operators and have been personally assessed by Mr Pickersgill or a member of his team – no other trainer is acceptable.

(Please note that the Warden at Tolmers scout site in Hertfordshire is a member of the Innovative Leisure team and therefore Innovative Leisure activities at, or provided by, this site are accepted).

Please note that Innovative Leisure retrain staff at walls at two-year intervals, and any evidence of qualification must be up to date.

Please also note that walls quoting ‘ADIPS inspections’ and the like are correct and this is a necessary procedure, but this only refers to the structure and the maintenance of the structure and mechanisms – not training and instruction of staff – and is not a substitute for the instructional qualification letter mentioned above. You must be assured that the equipment has had an ADIPS inspection within the last 12 months – a certificate should be available.

Level 2 Equivalents

Northern Ireland Education & Library Board Level 2 Awards

These are all assessed by MIA’s MIC’s and are therefore acceptable. Please note that the North-Eastern ELB does not issue climbing qualifications at all. These awards apply to specific local crags.

Southern Sandstone Awards issued by Local Authorities in the South-East. Currently the only county we know for certain runs the award is Kent. Details can be found at: http://www.adventurekent.org/services/courses/climbing

There may be other providers but we are unaware of these running currently.



One thought on “Equivalents

  1. I have found that no indoor climbing wall is willing to accept the girlguiding scheme. The mimuim they ask for is the CWA. So if we do not live near a Guiding run climbing wall, would it be best to advise people to do the CWA rather than the Guide Scheme?

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