Once you have completed your GCSEs at 16 there are a number of different options available to you, but did you ever consider that watersports could be one of them?
You can train to become a watersports instructor alongside studying a Diploma in Outdoor Sport. Most colleges running these courses offer a Level 2, Level 3 and a Level 3 extended diploma so you should be able to find a course to suit you, depending on your GCSE results. These courses are extremely practical and provide plenty of time on the water to develop your skills. The Level 3 courses often carry UCAS points meaning you could continue to study at University on completed of your course.
We spoke to Hannah Mason, the Programme Manager at Falmouth Marine School to find out how this can work for watersports.
We asked how the Watersports Instructor Diploma course works?
“The course is two years long, although you can do just one year depending on your circumstances. Students come away with not only a diploma, but a wealth of experience and the opportunity to gain multiple watersports instructor qualifications. Making them really employable on completion of the course. There is a one day in the classroom and two practical days at Stithains Lake Activity Centre, as well as some mandatory work placement hours”
How does the more watersports focused course differ from other courses?
“With other Outdoor Sports Diplomas you may do a wider variety of both land and water-based activities, but with this course there is much more of an intense focus on being on the water which can result in gaining multiple instructor qualifications and making the students extremely employable in the watersports sector.”
Students come away with not only a diploma, but a wealth of experience and the opportunity to gain multiple watersports instructor qualifications
The amazing thing is that this course is free, just like A Levels, for 16–18-year-olds. If you find academic study isn’t for you, this could be the answer
Do you need any watersports experience?
“No, some of our students already have a keen interest in one or two watersports, but some are complete beginners. The amazing thing is that this course is free, just like A Levels, for 16–18-year-olds. If you find academic study isn’t for you, this could be the answer.”
Do you find your students often go into employment in the watersports industry?
“Absolutely. Generally, after the first year, students will get jobs at local clubs and centres and after the two years many students choose to go abroad to work. As part of the course, it’s mandatory to do work experience, which will often be the first ’foot in the door’ they need.”
Ok we’re interested – what’s next?
“Search in your area for colleges and 6th forms who offer these courses or ask your careers advisor at school for help. Most colleges accept online application up to a year in advance. At Falmouth Marine School, there is as easy online application form to fill in. The next step would be an interview (either in person or online) which will hopefully result in an offer to study on the course! Here at FMS, we run taster days and intro days before the course starts to allow you to meet your tutors and peers before the course starts in September. If you can’t find a course near you, there is often accommodation available.”
So, who knew? You can study for your watersports or outdoor education career at the age of 16, and its free! To find out more, just search for your local provider of diplomas in outdoor sport.
Sailing and windsurfing, are now able to be taught and will be assessed in 2021 for AS-level and 2022 for GCSE and A-level.
Students wishing to take PE at GCSE, AS or A-level and to have sailing or windsurfing assessed as one of the activities, should speak directly to their school to determine which Awarding Body they use and the criteria, assessment and evidence required.