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IOL Bushcraft Competency Award

Accredited Training & Assessment in Bushcraft Skills

The IOL (Institute for Outdoor Learning) Bushcraft Competency Award is designed for instructors, leaders and teachers who want to demonstrate that they follow good practice and have a high level of safety and competency in a range of bushcraft skills.

This 2 day course is open to all with an interest in passing bushcraft skills and knowledge on to others. The course covers 5 ket bushcraft skill units; edged tools – knives & saws, fire, water, tarp shelters & knots and campfire cooking.


The course is designed for the outdoor learning workforce including FE/HE students, apprentices, instructors and teachers. It is suitable for a wide range of people working or volunteering in formal or non-formal settings such as early years, schools, colleges, outdoor centres, education centres, wildlife trusts, national parks, youth and voluntary organisations.

The Award programme consists of a high quality training course, consolidated experience, assessment of bushcraft competence and certification by IOL Awards Centre.

For full details of the Award and the assessment criteria you can download the course specification here.


This 2 day course is £235.00 per person. If you represent an organisation seeking to book several team members onto a course then please ask us about our group discounts. Should you want to follow the training course with an assessment then there is a separate charge for that, usually £120.00 per person.


We host this course twice a year. You can look at our events page for any upcoming dates. If you’re an organisation looking to book several team members onto this course then please get in touch as we can set a custom date to suit you.

Your Tutor: James Kendall

James is our Head Bushcraft Instructor. He is an active member of the Institute for Outdoor Learnings Bushcraft Professional Practise Group. He is also a qualified Forest School Leader, Social Forester and experienced Woodland Manager.

“My approach to teaching bushcraft has always been with an emphasis on steering my students toward fostering a deeper connection with nature through understanding the landscape around us. Bushcraft skills are an effective way to do this as we learn about using natural materials and how we can live with the land, whilst also connecting with our own ancient past by seeing the land through the eyes of our ancestors.”

james kendall - bushcraft leader

Skills you will learn

This course covers five units of essential bushcraft skills. You can read a breakdown of each unit below.

bushcraft competency award units

Pitching Tarp Shelters, Knots & Lashings

  • Siting a tarp shelter. Hazards and the ‘5 Ws.’ UK wild camping law.
  • Pitching a tarp shelter in different setups, reducing the impact of bad weather.
  • Knots and lashings in bushcraft. Useful knots for any situation including toggles, quick release knots and improvising.
  • Organising your cordage. Hanking for easy deployment.

Campfire Cooking

  • Practical campfire cooking methods. Dutch ovens, billy cans, reflector oven, direct ember cookery, using pot hangers and campcraft.
  • Making and improving damper bread. Understanding how to bake using an open fire.
  • Understanding the burning properties of different woods.

Safe Use of Edged Tools & Knife Law

  • Hazards and safety considerations when using knives. Safe working distances, storage of blade, appropriate knives for bushcraft and ket location of arteries.
  • Safe and competent use of knives. Using a fixed blade and passing a blade. Cutting techniques including pointing up, crosscut, feathering/shaving and batoning. Making tent pegs and pot hangers.
  • Safe use of saws and folding saws.
  • Discussion of UK knife law, where you can and cannot carry a knife, transporting your knife.

Establishing Fires & Leaving No Trace

  • Demonstrating skill in 3 ignition sources for firelighting choosing from flint & steel, ferrocerium rod, matches, electrical, chemical, solar or compression.
  • Prep and use of natural tinders. Using inner bark, outer bark, seed heads, fungi, dried grass, bracken and tree resins.
  • Building a fire using gathered tinder, kindling and firewood.
  • Prep and use of man-made tinders. Using waxed paper, candle wax, gel, rubber, fire-lighters and hexamine blocks.
  • Maintaining a fire to boil water in a billy can.
  • Extinguishing and dismantling a fire to minimise our trace and environmental impact.
  • Fire safety and first aid. Appropriate measures to deal with burns.

Water Sourcing, Filtering & Purification

  • Sources of water, identifying at least 5 sources in the environment.
  • Using a ground well. How to site and make the well, common hazards.
  • Indicators of water, identifying at least 4 indicators in our landscape.
  • Purifying and filtering water – theory and practical. Millbank system vs. improvised filters. Boiling water for purification.


This course can be attended as a standalone training. However, for those wanting to achieve the Award then the next stage is to complete your Bushcraft Competency Logbook demonstrating 60 quality hours of consolidated bushcraft experience. Supporting evidence could include a mix of guided learning, self-learning, reflective practice, video, instructing/teaching or mentoring.

Following this students will take their assessment. The assessment is hosted externally by an IOL Leading Practitioner and lasts 4 hours.

Assessments cost £120.00 per person.

For full information on the assessment criteria for achieving the Award, download the course specification here.

bushcraft competency award - accredited course
iol bushcraft ppg

Statement of Good Practise in Bushcraft Competence

Woodland Classroom is a member of the IOL Bushcraft Professional Practice Group. They have a long-standing reputation for quality and innovation within the field of Bushcraft . They recognise the need for instructors, teachers and leaders to demonstrate that they have a basic level of safe and competent bushcraft skills and are following recommended good practice.

The Statement of Good Practice in Bushcraft Competence is designed to assist and support practitioners to learn and develop bushcraft skills, and to demonstrate their skills and competencies in bushcraft. It is a valuable guide for those involved in educating, training, and assessing the competence of instructors, teachers and leaders in bushcraft. You can download this document via the link below.

Find Out More

Take the first step toward building your bushcraft skills to a professional level. Get in touch with us and let’s get connected.

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James was knowledgeable, helpful and always boosting our self confidence. A high quality trainer.

Ryan Danvell

Outdoor Activity Leader
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