Gap courses or career breaks are often people’s last chance to explore and jet off to new places before settling in to the real world of work or more studying. There are loads of different options and activities from backpacking around the world to working on a conservation project but why not also do something that can later enhance your CV, further your own skills and qualifications and of course, be the trip of a lifetime?
As well as the physical challenge and the improvement in your own skiing or snowboarding that a 10 week instructor course will provide you, the course will also help you to develop many other skills. Over the duration of the course, skills such as effective communication, analysis of movement, management of groups, leadership, and safety awareness are taught and developed and you will have to demonstrate your understanding and use of them to pass the course.
Most courses also include a child protection module and 2 day first aid course, which are both useful qualifications to have on your CV when looking for work later in life.
Courses generally run for a 10 week period and should include level 1 and 2 qualifications from national governing bodies such as BASI (British Association of Snowsports Instructors) or CSIA (Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance). These qualifications are widely recognised within the industry and allow you to teach in many countries around the world such as Canada, America, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and more. The qualification is valid for 3 years before you need to complete a refresher course, usually one day, and therefore you are able to use the qualification in your future, perhaps whilst at university.
Once you are qualified the next trick is to find a job. Send out your C.V. to as many schools as possible but make sure you have done your research first. “You will be amazed at the number of C.V.’s we get that are addressed to a different school, think that Verbier is in France, have spelling mistakes and incorrect grammar or don’t fulfil the requirements we have stated on the website. You need to make your C.V. stand out from the rest, and errors and a lack of research into the resort or school do that for all the wrong reasons.” Says Maarten van Geest Communication and Marketing coordinator from Altitude Ski and Snowboard School.
The biggest problem for a new instructor is the lack of experience and any opportunity to gain experience should be taken. One of the best ways is to apply to ski schools to work part time during the busy holiday weeks of Christmas/New Year, Half Term and Easter, do a good job, be helpful, be available whenever asked, professional at all times and it might then lead to more work. There are also several companies such as Interski in Italy who bring school groups out from the UK and often need extra instructors for a couple of weeks.
Other things that help your C.V. stand out from everyone else’s are: having a qualification and experience teaching in another sport, having a second language that you can teach in and knowing the resort you are applying to. Showing an interest in developing your instructor qualification further by doing some of the modules for the next level, e.g. the common theory for the BASI level 3 can also help.
There are so many people fighting for the same jobs nowadays so why not make your CV stand out with these extra qualifications whist also experiencing an adventure in the mountains.