After getting my outdoor education diploma from college and having few jobs as watersports instructor in south of France and the Philippines, I decided I wanted to do more with my watersports career but wasn’t sure how best to go about it or what avenue to take. So I looked at outdoor education type degrees that were available and found the Adventure and Extreme Sport Management degree at Solent.
This course is for you if you’re set on the idea of embarking on a career in the outdoor and adventure sports industry, but are yet to figure out your niche. You learn such a wide variety of topics above and beyond ‘coaching’ and ‘management’ that spark the potential for infinite diversification within the industry.
One of the most valuable skills I learned at university was how to organise myself. I also grew in confidence through the numerous presentations I had to give in front of large numbers of people as part of my assignments. Finally, university has significantly developed my leadership skills, which was by and large achieved through group work assignments.
Throughout my studies at Solent, I worked my summer of first year in Turkey as an instructor, and the summer of second year I spent operating the wakeboard cable at JB Ski. I also worked the occasional day for Solent University watersports centre on the Hamble teaching keelboat courses.
I think by far the most unique thing about this course is that it can adapt and evolve in real-time alongside the unfolding of the industry.
After graduation, I started working at Lagoon Watersports in Brighton. The centre offers a huge array of watersports activities to over 400 members as well as providing activity weeks for kids, and getting loads of newbies into watersports for the first time. My role as an instructor was diverse, doing everything from sailing, windsurfing, wakeboarding and stand up paddle boarding.
A year later I was appointed as the centre manager. My typical working day starts with a morning meeting with the instructors and run through the day to make sure everyone knows what they are doing. We then set up the centre so all the equipment is ready for the day.
During the day I am the RYA senior instructor on site, which means I have overall responsibility for everyone on the water. When members are out on the sea in stormy conditions, their lives are in my hands, so we have a very specific recording system to ensure no one gets lost.
I also have the usual logistical management responsibilities such as organising the rota, overseeing the general maintenance and upkeep of the centre, running staff training sessions, taking bookings, organising events such as wakeboard competitions and charity fundraising events, as well as people management.
My tips to anyone wanting a career in this industry is to demonstrate your enthusiasm for growth and commitment to long term personal development and you will get your foot in the door easily.
From the point of view of an employer in this industry, we want people who are self-motivated, and whom want to develop themselves personally and professionally. From there, it’s just a case of being a team player, being the first one to arrive in the morning, and asking lots of questions.