Tom Tysoe, Treetop Extreme Supervisor
As part of a new series of insights into careers at Willen Lake, we chat to Tom - our Treetop Extreme Supervisor - to find out more about the course, what a typical day looks like and what it takes to work here.
How long have you worked at Treetop Extreme?
I started working on the high ropes course May 2015 and am the longest serving member of the team.
Why did you decide to work here?
To be honest it was a bit of a wild ambition – I thought it looked brilliant so applied, although didn’t expect to get it. I’ve always been a very active person who likes climbing around, being loud and having fun. It seemed too good to be true at first!
The active and the social aspects of the role really appealed to me. I’m very talkative and hyper and not very good at sitting down. I knew a long time ago I wasn’t going to be good at an office-based role; I needed to be moving around. My role at Treetop Extreme combines all of this which is fantastic.
What did you do before working at Treetop extreme; was it something similar?
Not at all! Directly before, I was working as a housekeeper at a local holiday destination. Before that, I’d worked in bars and other similar roles, after returning from university in Manchester. I’d never done anything like Treetop Extreme before.
What do you enjoy the most about your role?
The team is easily one of the best things about working here; and I take real pride in this as I have helped to build it. I’m a big fan of fun, and I think having fun is really important. Helping people to have more fun is my main goal in life! The fact I have a job that pays me to do that is amazing. I’ve met so many incredible people while working here; some I wouldn’t ever expect to see on a high ropes course. There’s been some very emotional moments throughout the years too, not just those who are scared of heights but those who come for particular reasons; I’ve met people training for the army and I’ve had a group of 60-year-old women come in who were doing it as part of their bucket list challenge, as well as lots of other characters. These memorable customers really keep you going. I don’t like too much repetition and every day is different here!
Is there anything particularly challenging about your role?
There are still challenges but I’ve become a lot more self-assured while working here. There’s very rarely a problem that comes up now that I don’t feel comfortable dealing with. Maintenance work, particularly at height can be tricky, but also some of the most fun. The role is a great combination of physical duress mixed with mental problem-solving which really pushes you at times.
Can you describe a typical day?
It depends on whether it is during the on or off season. In the on season, I’ll help open up and start by looking through the plan for the day. We’ll then set the course up, carry out the necessary checks and brief the team. Within an hour of opening up we are ready to welcome our first customer; whether that’s the public or school trips. Then it’s time to ‘deliver the wow’ – doing anything and everything you can to ensure people are having a good time. You have to keep an eye on all the customers as they go through the course and make sure they are enjoying themselves. We all get on well as a team so there’s always a great atmosphere. Once we’ve waved off our last customer, we’ll check the course through and close up the site.
In the off season, we do still get customers but there’s much more of a focus on behind the scenes activity including maintenance; whether that’s replacing obstacles or giving the hut a fresh coat of paint. We also ensure staff are up to date on their training and look at marketing the site to new and returning customers. It’s definitely a lot more varied in the winter but always enjoyable.
What qualities do you need to work at Treetop Extreme?
The most important thing is to want to have a good time while you work. We have a very eclectic mix of people working at Treetop Extreme; we’ve got people who are joining the military or in the fire service, we’ve had people that have only worked in pubs before. Everyone is different but what binds them together is a universal love for fun and a mutual respect for leisure. Everyone here appreciates the importance of a good time and works hard to ensure they deliver excellent customer service. We don’t even have to ask our team to do this; they do it because they like sharing that experience with people. If you like showing people a good time that’s all you need; everything else, you learn on site. We have very few people who come here with adventure activities background.
Would you recommend working here?
Vehemently! Whoever you are, you can get a lot out of working here.