NICAS for the future
2018 saw the 10-year anniversary of NICAS, a scheme which started just with a handful of climbing walls and has now grown to deliver climbing to over 140,000 young climbers at over 200 centres.
A decade in and we have taken the time to review and reflect on all we have learned. As well as our recent survey for providers (do take part if you haven't already: the prize draw is closed but feedback is still welcome) we have been talking with key providers and gathering information on how we can improve scheme take-up and increase the numbers of young climbers.
Our core schemes, NICAS and NIBAS, have always been developed with our centres and continue to evolve, so the fundamental content and structure is good.
But there is more we can do to make it easier for centres to deliver and easier for more young climbers to access the world of climbing through NICAS. Hence we have been focussing on improving the service we offer and the support we can provide to providers and candidates alike.
Over the past year we have conducted an in-depth review of our operations and have designed a plan which will consolidate everything NICAS has achieved to date, expand its infrastructure and support, whilst ensuring it is fit for growth in the future.
One of the biggest visible decisions is to move away from contracted staff and become an employer. You may not have realised, but the current Officer team are all part-time contractors. We now recognise that ABCTT should offer support, respond to your queries, and have decision making capability, five days a week. The current team are fully supportive of these changes and have spent the last few months creating a framework and structure for the brand which will see it grow significantly over the next decade.
Change is at the heart of this improvement and new staff will be bringing a fresh perspective. The existing Officer team will step aside to allow for these exciting changes from 31 March 2019. After an open recruitment process, we are pleased to introduce Abbi Blakey in a new role as Membership Manager, providing continuity of expertise. Recruitment for a Managing Director (combining the Executive and Technical Officer roles) and for further admin support will start very soon.
During this transitional period (March/April) we would be really grateful if you are thinking of placing orders, to do so before mid-March to allow us time to manage the team changes. Whilst we do not anticipate any dip in service this will just help to ease the load a little over the short term.
Our strong core schemes will continue to be available to our huge network of committed, hard-working centres. The regular reviews, surveys and feedback we receive from centres will continue to ensure the schemes are strong, flexible and fit for purpose for the next generation of young climbers.
These changes will enable us to: promote the schemes more widely, engage with a more diverse range of delivery partners, provide greater support for centres who deliver our schemes and improve the resources available to support both coaches and candidates. We hope this will result in many more young climbers coming through the doors of NICAS and NIBAS climbing centres.
All the team involved in NICAS are proud of what has been achieved over the past ten years and are excited about what this fresh approach will bring for the future.