Frequently Asked Questions

Q1.How do I become an Awarding Centre?

Awarding Centre Application Process

Please read Awarding Centre Application Process.

Q2. I’m a freelance instructor, can I be a Course Director?

NICAS is granted to facilities, not to specific people. If you do not own or run your own climbing wall then you can receive an induction to deliver NICAS at an already-approved wall, but you will not be a Course Director in your own right. If you are the main instructor at a wall whose owners do not object to you becoming the registered NICAS Course Director, then please get in touch to discuss an application with us before completing any paperwork.

Q3. When can I do an induction?

An induction as an external instructor can be arranged through the Awarding or Primary Centre where you usually instruct: contact their Course Director for details. If you are a Course Director about to start running NICAS in your own facility, this can be arranged through your nearest Primary Centre.

Q4. Can I just buy certificates without the handbooks?

No, the NICAS achievement levels are a package with the purchase of the handbook being a candidate pre-requisite for each level.

Q5. Can I use the NICAS logo?

If you are an Awarding or Primary Centre we are happy for you to use the NICAS logo on your website or in your brochure, however, please read the Use of the Logo document first. Contact us for artwork.

Q6. We’re a school / youth group who use an external climbing centre. Can our staff assess the NICAS levels?

Your staff, if suitably inducted, are welcome to teach NICAS however the assessment of each level must be done by your chosen Awarding or Primary Centre. Their Course Director is responsible for ensuring consistency and quality of assessment and of candidates, so retains the liability for assessment and issuing certificates.

Q7. What are the age limits for NICAS?

We recommend that the lower age limit for candidates if 7. There is no upper age limit, but the scheme is aimed at the child to young adult sector.

Q8. Where does NICAS fit in the scheme of instructional awards?

NICAS is not an instructional scheme, but a personal achievement scheme. To instruct NICAS you will need a nationally recognised qualification such as CWA, SPA or an approved Site Specific qualification. Course Directors must hold the CWA as a minimum. More information on these can be found at

Q9. What are the costs of running NICAS?

There is an annual registration fee for each facility, based on the award levels it offers (currently set at £30+VAT pa for Level 1, £35+VAT pa for Level 2, £50+VAT pa for Level 3 and £60+VAT pa for Level 4, and £100+VAT pa for Level 5) . There is also a cost for the logbooks for your candidates. The Level 1 & 2 booklet is available at max RRP £5 / €6 and the Level 3 to 5 binder is available at max RRP £8.00 / €10. Currently these costs include certificates as candidates achieve each level; logbooks are VAT exempt as agreed with HMRC

There is also a requirement for your Course Director to undergo a regular induction, every 3 years. This cost will be set by the Primary Centre hosting the induction, but is currently recommended at £50+VAT per person. Primary Centres may set their own costs for these sessions and may charge travel or other costs on top. Please discuss your requirements with them.

Q10. Where does NICAS sit on the National Qualifications Framework?

At the moment is doesn’t sit on there at all as it is an award rather than a qualification. This is an area we are exploring further.

Q11. Can we use NICAS towards our Duke of Edinburgh / GCSE / A–level / BTEC qualification?

Yes, NICAS has been used by our member centres for all of these schemes, and is the syllabus adopted by EdExcel for GCSE PR (Indoors Climbing). Contact us for more information and advice.

Q12. My child is a climber, can they join NICAS?

Your child can be registered for NICAS at their local Awarding or Primary Centre, who will advise on instruction and progression through the scheme. Search for your nearest centre on our website.

Q13. I’m sending you an application to deliver NICAS at my wall. What documents do you need?

Please make sure your application form is fully completed and signed by your Course Director, Technical Advisor and Primary Centre. Alongside your application we’d expect to see copies of relevant qualifications certificates for your Course Director and Technical Advisor, photographs or a route-guide of your facilities, and any additional supporting information. If you’re missing any of these it will delay your application.

You can either send your application fee cheque with this paperwork, or we can send you an invoice .

Q14. Our Course Director has done their induction at a Primary Centre, can we start delivering NICAS?

You can start to deliver NICAS to your candidates once you’ve received written approval from us. This means we’ve received and assessed your application form, received your annual registration fee, and satisfactorily answered any queries we had about your centre. We’ll write to you once you’re OK to start instructing, and send you a certificate to display confirming your NICAS status.

Q15. How do we get the NICAS logo next to our name in the BMC Handbook?

We supply the BMC with a list of Primary and Awarding Centres each year, so if your application has been approved by the publication deadline it should appear in their handbook for the following year.

Q16. Our wall doesn’t quite meet your “minimum requirements” for the Levels we want to deliver, will you be flexible?

We assess every application on its own merits, so contact us with details of your specific case and we’ll be glad to advise you.

Q17. We have a mobile wall, can we run NICAS?

We now allow Mobile Wall providers to offer NICAS Level 1, subject to a satisfactory application. Contact us for details.

Q18. We’re an Awarding Centre and we need to order more logbooks, who do we contact?

You should contact your nominated Primary Centre in the first instance. If you consistently order large numbers of logbooks you may be able to order them direct from us, but talk to your Primary Centre first.

Q19. We are an aspirant Awarding Centre, do we have to use our closest Primary Centre for logbooks and inductions?

No, you can choose any of our Primary Centres for inductions and logbooks.

Q20. We’re a Level 4 Awarding Centre, what do we have to do to become a Primary Centre and deliver Level 5?

You need to send us a written submission explaining why you’d like to offer Level 5, how this will benefit any local candidates and Awarding Centres, and how you’ll deal with issues such as geographical overlap with existing Primary Centres. You must be members of the ABC, your wall needs to meet our Minimum Physical Requirements, and there is a one–off financial set-up cost. Your application goes to the Board of Trustees, the ABC and may go to the public before any decision is made. Please contact us in the first instance.

Q21. Why does our Awarding Centre registration have an expiry date?

We register centres for NICAS on an annual basis, running from 1st June to 31st May each year. Each year we’ll write to you to ask for up-to-date details of your centre, details of the candidates you’ve registered, and asking for your next year’s registration fee to renew your status.

Q22. How much do the logbooks cost for candidates?

The price for logbooks is capped. The Level 1–3 logbooks and Level 4–5 logbooks are purchased by centres, from the ABCTT, at £6.00 each. The HMRC has advised that logbooks are exempt from VAT. These costs are capped so the maximum cost to candidates is £7.50 for each. Additional logbook pages can be printed from this website at no additional cost: see our downloads section. Currently certificates for each level are also provided at no extra cost to the Accredited Centre or to candidates.

Q23. Our climbing centre is outside the UK, can we deliver NICAS?

At present we are unable to offer NICAS for use outside the British Isles, except where the climbing facility is located in an International or British School with British-qualified climbing instructors and access to a suitably qualified recognised Technical Advisor holding MIA or above. If your facility falls into this category please contact us for more details.

Alternatively we can provide consultancy via independent Technical Experts who can fly out to your facility to discuss your options, however the full cost for this must be met by the enquiring facility.

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