Thanh Nguyen

Rock Climbing Instructor


What I do

I am the lead rock climbing instructor at Rock It Adventures. I teach both adults and children how to scale the walls at indoor centres such as Urban Ascent and the Castle Climbing Centre in London, as well as rock faces in the outdoors.

How I got my job

After obtaining my award to instruct rock climbing, I set myself up as a freelance instructor and built a network of clients through centres that I visited and people that knew me. I also applied for positions at climbing centres when they became available and now have regular indoor instructor sessions, together with my own outdoor events.

What I love about my job

There are a lot of things I love. Not only is it fun and exciting but climbing outdoors allows you to see places from a different perspective. Also, helping people achieve something that they thought they were unable to do gives you a great feeling of satisfaction. The sport is very sociable, so you meet people from all walks of life.

What’s difficult about my job

There are many hazards and risks that go with the sport, so it can be mentally draining. You have to be constantly aware of your client’s safety, especially with young people who are very excited and do not see the dangers. It is a fine balance to ensure that they not only have a good time but also that they do not endanger themselves and others.

What skills I need

To be able to instruct rock climbing you will need to complete an award or certificate, such as the Climbing Wall Award or the Single Pitch Award. You would need to demonstrate that not only are you able to climb in a safe manner yourself, but that you are also able to pass this knowledge on. Key skills are good communication, being able to interact with different people, group management, being adaptable and being able to think on your feet.

Where should young people start if they want to do the job too?

Firstly, you need to enjoy taking part in rock climbing, as you will need to do a lot of it to qualify. A LOT! Spending time at indoor centres meeting other climbers, and joining a climbing club that will often do outdoor excursions, will give you the opportunity to build up your climbing knowledge, skills and experience. There will be a minimum requirement of climbing experience that you will need to demonstrate before training for the award, which you will need to bring together for the assessment further down the line.