Awarding Organisations are a special category of accredited centres.

They are defined as local or national organisations who wish to use multiple non-commercial climbing structures to deliver NICAS Climbing and/or NICAS Bouldering, solely to their own membership or candidates, and which are not accessible to any other users. They are limited to delivery of Levels 1, 2 and 3 only. The defining feature of an Awarding Organisation is that it works solely with their own members who are introduced to the facility(ies) purely by that organisation, where the facility(ies) are never open to the public or for use by other instructed groups.

The following may qualify as an Awarding Organisation:
  • Any facility which is solely open for, and used by, instructors of the applicant organisation. The structure should never be accessible by:
    o the public to climb or boulder unsupervised or as a casual user
    o non-instructed groups
    o groups of climbers led by a freelance instructor or one from another company/organisation
  • Groups using the wall do not pay ‘per use’ to use it – its use is either included in their annual membership fee to the organisation (e.g. Scouts), or is included in their course fee (e.g. a week-long residential course) or is free
  • The organisation/group should either be national, or part of a recognised geographical area structure – e.g. Sea Cadets, Girlguiding UK, PGL, local Council Pupil Referral Unit
  • Each structure must meet the minimum facility requirements for Levels 1, 1-2 or 1-3 of NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering
  • They must have access to a suitably qualified Technical Advisor or Competent Person who visits the structure(s) at least annually and supports delivery of the NICAS scheme(s). The structures must be subject to the same inspection routine and insurance as any other artificial climbing structure for their local jurisdiction. Where appropriate, they must conform with the relevant European standards.
  • Their clients / candidates are exclusively their participants (e.g. Scouts, children from Armed Forces families, PGL-registered school children) and not members of the public who can book without an introduction, membership or other link to the organisation.

General notes for Awarding Organisations

Logbooks and other course materials can be bought by Awarding Organisations from NICAS at the same rate as for any other accredited centre.

Each Awarding Organisation will have a Course Director (CD) who is involved in hands-on delivery of the syllabus, and visits every site under their remit on a frequent basis. They will also have a Technical Advisor (TA) or Competent Person (CP) who oversees all sites, and will visit each on at least an annual basis. The CD, TA or CP, and every coach who wishes to deliver NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering must receive a NICAS induction. The Course Director is responsible for entering candidate details into the Online Candidate Database, but may delegate this to a central Course Administrator.

All Awarding Organisations will be subject to payment of an annual Registration fee to NICAS. The level of this fee will be in line with with the fees paid by stand-alone centres, and may reflect the number of facilities registered, the number of instructors or coaches delivering the syllabus, and the anticipated number of candidates who may register for the Schemes. The fee will be set by NICAS and agreed with the Awarding Organisation on an annual basis prior to delivery of either Scheme.

NICAS recommends that all artificial climbing structures consider applying for ABC membership, adhering to the 10-point Code of Practice.

All Awarding Organisations and their structures will be subject to Moderation on the same rolling timescale as all stand-alone NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering accredited centres.

Facilities which have at any time been registered as stand-alone accredited centres previously may not be considered part of an Awarding Organisation’s facilities unless under exceptional circumstances, set out in writing to the NICAS Board and approved by them.

Candidates who wish to pursue NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering to higher levels than those delivered by the Awarding Organisation must transfer their registration to a stand-alone NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering centre of the appropriate level to continue their training.

Facilities which do not meet the criteria set out above, or those who have facilities in excess of those required for Awarding Organisation levels, may wish to apply to be an Accredited Centre in their own right for the appropriate NICAS scheme(s) (e.g. Level 4 of NICAS Bouldering). They will then be treated as any other stand-alone Accredited Centre, as set out in the NICAS handbooks.

If your organisation would like to explore becoming an Awarding Organisation, please contact us for guidance.

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