3+2 Outdoors - William

3+2 Outdoors - William

Having two teachers as parents, it was perhaps inevitable that William Luff would follow their lead and make education a career.

But it was education that initially drove the 17-year-old New Plymouth Boys’ High School student to try something different.

“I’m not that book smart and prefer hands on learning, being outdoors and sport,” William says. “I had thought about doing an apprenticeship but wasn’t sure. One of the teachers at school suggested the 3+2 programme at Topec and I thought it sounded like a bit of fun.”

William has thrived since taking up the challenge and now has clear goals mapped out for the future – and they include the classroom.

“I now plan to study Phys Ed at Otago University and then do a one-year teaching course. During the year as part of the leadership unit we had some primary school kids come out and I really enjoyed working with them and the leadership aspect, so I’ve decided to do teaching.”

The 3+2 outdoor education programme involves students spending three days each week at school and two days at TSB Topec, where they study towards the National Certificate in Outdoor Leadership level 3 while continuing their level 3 studies at school.


Under the supervision of experienced outdoor education tutors, the students learn and develop leadership, communication and teamwork skills in the outdoors by taking part in activities such as rock climbing, kayaking, tramping, navigation, survival skills, risk management and outdoor leadership.

William, a keen surfer, rugby player, cricketer and basketballer, has particularly enjoyed the white water kayaking this year.

“I’ve enjoyed the thrill of it. I didn’t realise how complex some of the strokes are and how much learning is involved to get it right.”

Since being on the course, William says a lot of fellow students at Boys’ High have shown interest in the programme and want to get involved.

“They kept asking me ‘where are you going every week?’. I told them about it and have been telling them they should to do it too.

“I really like how the assessment is based on your skills, not writing about your skills.”

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