Another interesting CWA assessment at Undercover Rock, Bristol, which highlighted some of the great things about the award and also the not so great. There were 4 candidates – 3 women and 1 man. During the briefing at the start of the day one of the women mentioned that as far as the outdoor industry in general went, to her it still felt like a man’s world and that as woman she had to be so much better and try so much harder. Opinions are changing and some people only see the Instructor/climber and their ability but some see only the gender and yet I still have men say to me at the crag – ‘ shouldn’t you be at home cooking the tea love?’
The 3 women were well prepared for their assessment, they had visited several centres and done far more than the bare minimum and it showed. Alex Underwood was an outstanding candidate, who was experienced, knowledgeable, had lots of ideas, fun games in her toolbox and had a calm but authoritative manner that was perfect for a CWA Instructor. They had all made the time to be fully prepared for their assessment.
The male candidate, however, had done the bare minimum, 80% of his personal climbing and observations were at the same centre. It showed in everything he did as his experience was very limited. An assessor has to question candidates to give them opportunities to develop their ideas in the limited time. The assessment is not cut and dried, there are opportunities for shared knowledge and some training as candidates are not expected to know everything but they do have to be safe and present themselves as a role model for others to follow.
I have often heard people talking about going for their assessment, some of them personal male friends and saying they are going to wing it to see if they can pass even though they are not ready – they are often deferred. It is an Instructor’s job, with years of experience and training behind them to ensure that a candidate is ready to take on the full responsibility of an Instructor and to ensure that their clients will be in safe hands.