The increased cost of a University education has made us rethink and question the traditional pathway to a career. Are there other ways to obtain qualifications and skills?
In the winter sports industry there are many routes to a career. One of the most popular choices is to embark on a ski or snowboard instructor training course to learn to teach a sport.
The adventure travel industry is one of the few areas in the UK economy showing signs of significant growth. The modern traveller wants adventure, challenges and fun. For the winter sports industry this is good news. So what will the industry require in terms of employment?
Instructors in all sports are an essential requirement for the travel industry whether it be in skiing or kayaking. Certified, competent and personable instructors are valuable for any provider of adventure experiences. However, instructing can be a seasonal occupation so potential instructors have to be prepared either to relocate between seasons, for instance ski instructors can expect to be in Canada during the winter and Australia in the summer. Or, instructors can become qualified in a number of disciplines making them employable the year round.
So how do you become an instructor, and what future can you expect?
Sport certification in teaching and coaching is available through national governing bodies. Visit their websites and see there requirements. It is normal that you should have a level of proficiency in the sport you wish to coach or teach.
Take a course. Learn. Be prepared to invest in your future. This will not be cheap. Training can be expensive so shop around and make sure that whoever is providing the course can assist in your career development either by providing a progression pathway or by assisting in finding future employment.
Be ready to volunteer in sport. Taking time to assist professional coaches or teachers not only looks good on the C.V. – it also gives you a relevant reference when looking for work.
Look for any internships on offer. An intern can earn while they learn.
Learning to instruct is just the start of your career. Expect to continue training for the rest of your life. Most ski instructors aspire to be a level 3 or a level 4 instructor and when working in a snow school will receive regular mentoring and coaching from their seniors. Pay will be minimal at first. In Canada income can be boosted with tips. A good instructor with patience, humour and interest in their clients will attract cash rewards from satisfied customers who will normally return for more instruction.
A career in instruction may lead to you becoming a snow school director, snow school administrator, a race coach or a sports teacher. There are many avenues to follow. The key to success is being prepared to listen, learn and respect. Plan where you want to be and make certain you can get there.