Instructor Development scheme - What's it Like?

21 Dec
Instructor Development scheme - What's it Like?

We are Currently have an advert for opportunities to join our Instructor Development scheme (IDS) .Having just completed 19 months on the IDS scheme Katrina Seator took the time share her experience in the hope of inspiring others join the scheme…..

“Sea kayak guide in Alaska or Instructor Development Scheme (IDS) at sportscotland on Cumbrae? and only 24 hours to decide! Working in Lapland away from my family and friends I plastered these choices all over facebook and asked my guests. The answer was unanimous, everyone said I should go to Alaska, after all I’d always wanted to kayak amongst the glaciers. However when Cumbrae’s Rod Smith phoned me just as I was getting on a snowmobile and asked for my answer I replied “Yes I’d love to come and work at Cumbrae!”

Everyone thought I was crazy when I told them. I hadn’t made a decision in advance, I just went with the words that came out of my mouth at the time. Now at the end of my IDS contract I know I made the right decision that day .

I went to Cumbrae as a level 2 paddlesport coach and kayaking is my passion. It was great having a choice of kayaks to take out whenever I wanted and it was amazing only having to carry them across the road to get to the sea. I was able to tag along on all the paddlesports courses and assist the leaders, helping build up my logbook. Being IDS meant I got 25% discount at Glenmore Lodge which allowed me to do paddlesports courses not run at Cumbrae. I am now a Sea Kayak Leader and Canoe Leader.

I quite fancied yachting so after a few weeks getting settled in to the job, I went off on a weekend cruise. It was amazing. At one point on the first night I was left up on deck on my own in the dark helming and I couldn’t believe that I was in charge of this big yacht. It was exhilarating! Next month I did a competent crew course and learnt all the basics. After that I got out on the yacht as much as I could and did the day skipper theory course. I got to spend a weekend on the huge OYT Yacht which was another great experience. I loved it.

By November I was a Day Skipper so I kept it up and moved on to the Yachtmaster theory and by March I had done my Coastal Skipper practical. I got out on the yacht as much as I could going round and round in circles picking up mooring buoys and MOBs. My hard work paid off as I finished off my contract by achieving my Yachtmaster. I was over the moon to gain such a big qualification.

I had done a little bit of Dinghy Sailing before I went to Cumbrae but it wasn’t my favourite watersport. It was good having a variety of Double Handers and Single Handers on site to use whenever I wanted. The first time I went sailing at Cumbrae was on a catamaran and it was so much fun flying along whilst hiking out. I was having great fun until it pitch poled and I went flying round the mast then was under water, but that’s all part of the experience.

In amongst all the yachtmaster prep. I was doing, there was a Dinghy Instructor course running and everyone kept telling me I should do it. They kept telling me a Dinghy was just a small Yacht so everything was pretty much just the same, apart from it didn’t have an engine. I decided to spend a few weeks dinghy sailing constantly and booked on to the Dinghy Instructor course. The course was interesting, I learnt a lot and I am now a Dinghy Instructor.

I was in the office one day and found out there was a cancellation on a Personal Watercraft Proficiency course the next day. I had been jet skiing as a teenager on those rare occasions when the sun shone in Scotland and I had gone jet skiing on holiday abroad too. I completed the course and went jet skiing a few more times practicing manoeuvres. A space came up on a PWC Instructor course last minute and I decided to give it a go. I figured I’m already a snowmobile guide so it can’t be that difficult! The PWC Instructor course is the most fun Instructor course I have ever done and I passed so I’m now a PWC Instructor too.

I decided I wanted to learn to Windsurf so I started going out practicing a lot, it was really exciting on a windy day when you managed to pick up lots of speed. I achieved my Intermediate Windsurfing certificate and I’m hopefully going to do my Windsurf Instructor in the near future.

Being on the IDS at Cumbrae meant I lived in the perfect location to get out on the water every day. Who doesn’t want to wake up in their cosy little chalet and look out their window to see the gorgeous views across the Clyde?! It also meant I had access to all the boats and equipment to do all the watersports Cumbrae offers any time I wanted.

The actual job itself was really good. I enjoyed working in the office and speaking to clients and giving advice on courses based on my experiences there. The job involved working mainly in the evenings and early mornings which was great as it meant your days were free to get out on the water as much as you wanted.

All the staff at Cumbrae are very friendly and it’s like a big family. The catering staff make sure you get well fed, the office staff are very friendly and always make sure you are included and invite you to social gatherings and the senior instructors are always encouraging you to progress and better yourself.
I had an amazing 19 months on the IDS at Sport Scotland Cumbrae and I want to go back and do it all over again.”

Inspired ?.....Current IDS advert and application to join IDS in April 2019 can be found here

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