Getting the Best Out of NICAS & NIBAS Schemes

  • Date: July 13, 2021 10:00am - 2:00pm

Getting the best out of NICAS schemes

Date – 13th July 2021

Venue: Online – Zoom webinar

This workshop will be delivered by Nicholas Parkin (NICAS Managing Director), Melissa Bacon, Tom Vaessen-Walker & Juliet Scott.

If you are an AMI or MTA member you will be able to apply for CPD.


Session 1 – The Big News Session

We’ve got some exciting news to share.

Lockdown has been tough for climbing, but NICAS hasn’t stopped throughout and we’ve been working with our Coach Development Team, climbing gurus & a bunch of 1st class sports marketeers to innovate and to provide sector leadership in getting people back into walls. This session unveils the first key development and share it with you.

We started working on this in April 2020 and it forms the core structure of what we want NICAS to become, now and in the future and critically, how it will help walls be the beginning of a lifetime of happy climbing experiences.


Session 2 – The Coaching Session:

Ideas, tips and tricks for successful sessions. How you can support your climbers to progress with NICAS and enjoy their climbing. This session will provide ideas on promoting wellbeing after lockdown, having fun as part of the learning experience, plus of course a look at  some of the syllabi (climbing and bouldering) level requirements. This session will be run by two experienced coaches, Juliet (Jules) Scott and Melissa (Mel) Bacon. They will draw on their experiences to get you inspired for your next NICAS and NIBAS sessions at the wall.


Session 3 – The Business Session:

Making the most of NICAS for your business: a case study. Tom Vaessen-Walker of Parthian Climbing will talk about his experiences of delivering a successful programme, from levels 1 to 5, at Parthian Climbing Reading. Tom has run a very successful programme of NICAS in which the youngest beginners progress right through the schemes, and many NICAS graduates have stayed on at Reading and taken all they’ve learnt into an instructor and coaching pathway. Having a community where young climbers, parents, and instructors are all bought into value of a nationwide, standardised programme is valuable to a climbing wall’s business. In addition to the Reading site, Parthian Climbing have embraced this approach with NICAS at its other sites in Manchester and Harrogate and will look to build on it with both climbing and bouldering schemes at their newest site, Southampton.


  • 1000 – 1010 – Introduction
  • 1010 – 1025 – Session 1 – Nicholas Parkin
  • 1025 – 1110 – Session 2 – Juliet Scott & Melissa Bacon
  • 1110 – 1130 – Q&A
  • 1130 – 1200 – Break
  • 1200 – 1300 – Session 3 – Tom Vaessen-Walker
  • 1300 – 1400 – Q&A and Summary



Juliet Scott

Development Coach, RCI, CWDI, PGCE 

Juliet began her career as a qualified teacher working in schools for 10 years. She has since spent the last 12 years as a self-employed climbing coach and runs Boost Climbing. Juliet is a provider of Mountain Training Coaching Qualifications. She has lots of experience with delivering NICAS directly as a Course Director, and she’s a member of the NICAS Coach Development Team. Juliet has a longstanding and successful squad and she has trained many students all the way from their early days of entering the sport through to youth competitions and beyond. Juliet has climbed in many places throughout the UK and further afield with trips in recent years to Morocco, Turkey and Spain.


Melissa Bacon

CWI, CWDI, RCI, DCA, ML (Aspirant RCDI & GB Physical Profiling Coach)

Mel is assistant manager at Brookes Climb as well as being course director for NICAS at the centre, a member of the NICAS coach development team,  and director of MB Mountain Adventures. Mel runs the junior, talent, development & senior squad academies at Brookes Climb. Mel runs various trips outdoors climbing and mountaineering including rock skills and the assistant climbing award. Mel is part of the MTA mentoring scheme and is deeply passionate about supporting other instructors on their journey through their qualifications as well as supporting female coaches further their qualifications, supporting them through the MTA qualification pathway.  Mel has been climbing for around 10 years indoors, outdoors trad and sport climbing and winter mountaineering travelling to different parts of the UK with her husky Shadow and abroad climbing in Chamonix, Spain, Portugal, Crete, Tenerife, Morocco, and India.


Tom Vaessen-Walker

Operations Director Parthian Climbing


Climbing hooked me during my mid-teens and ever since then from Sport Climbing in Europe to Traditional Climbing in the Peaks, I have always had a desire to not only be involved in the sport recreationally but also to have a career in it too.

I have been involved in the climbing industry in a professional capacity for the past 20 years. From an instructor, coach and route setter to Operations Director of Parthian Climbing, I have gained a passion and drive for developing the industry in both health and safety procedures and the future progression of the sport.

I have had the privilege of working with a number of highly experienced Technical Advisors and industry experts to help develop my skills in these areas and transfer them into our day to day running and strategic planning of the Parthian Climbing facilities.

I’m proud to say that over the 11 years I’ve been involved in developing the NICAS program at Parthian Climbing, we have established ourselves as one of the leading operators in the country, developing a highly skilled team of instructors and coaches that continue to deliver excellent standards of sessions across the country.