Benefits of NICAS

Taking part in a NICAS scheme can provide immense physical and mental benefits to learners, as well as giving parents and carers the confidence of enrolling their child on a national scheme.

Why take part in NICAS?

Challenge for the mind

Climbing is not just about physical strength – it’s also a mind game that sharpens your problem-solving skills.

Mental health benefits

Climbing is proven to relieve stress, boost focus, and improve decision-making. The NICAS schemes are designed to grow independence while also building communication skills, creating a supportive social network that contributes to overall mental well-being. Plus, it’s super fun!

Physical workout

Climbing engages muscles you didn’t even know you had: it’s a holistic workout and improves your overall fitness.

Sense of achievement

Get that feel-good vibe from accomplishments during NICAS sessions, whether that’s from learning to tie a figure-of-eight knot, demo-ing a movement technique, or passing an assessment.

Teamwork and fun

NICAS sessions are an opportunity to make climbing friends, overcome challenges together, and share your highs and lows with likeminded climbers. Not to mention all the warm-up games to make you smile!

What are the benefits for parents?

Parents, carers and guardians tell us that enrolling a learner on a NICAS scheme gives them peace of mind and confidence.

Committed to safety

While climbing by its nature involves risk, the NICAS schemes give learners a clear pathway to gain the appropriate safety knowledge and technical skills to identify and manage risk while climbing. Our assessment standards ask learners to demonstrate safety awareness and continued safe behaviour, and climbers cannot progress to a higher level of NICAS until coaches are confident that they can behave and climb safely and responsibly.

In addition, we require coaching staff to have completed specific training, sign-offs and/or Mountain Training qualifications appropriate to the scheme and level that they are supervising. Coaching qualifications and training are screened before a centre can become accredited, and whenever new coaches join as NICAS personnel during the year.

Quality coaching

At NICAS, our aim is to “develop climbers through quality coaching” – and supporting our centres to deliver high quality coaching is central to our mission as a charity. By requiring NICAS coaches to meet defined levels of relevant training, NICAS ensures that sessions not only build technical skills but also motivate and inspire learners to reach their full potential.


NICAS works closely with other industry partners to ensure safeguarding policies and procedures are implemented and followed at our accredited centres to protect children, young people and adults taking part in our activities.

Nationwide standards

Our schemes are run at centres throughout the UK and aboad, and each scheme has a syllabus that is standardised, repeatable, consistent and quality assured.

Behind the scenes, rigorous quality control measures are in place to uphold the relevance and excellence of NICAS schemes. From staff induction to syllabus review, from technical standards to complaints procedures, NICAS remains committed to delivering top-notch climbing experiences that parents and children can trust.

Change centre if you move

Because our scheme content is independent of each climbing centre, someone taking part in NICAS Bouldering in Cardiff should be learning and achieving the same skills as someone taking part in London, Glasgow or Dublin. If a learner moves home, both their NICAS record and their achievements are transferable and will be recognised at another NICAS accredited centre.