The Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre and The Official Test Centre are coming together to deliver a Professional Instructor Training course at The Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy. The eventual aim of the course is to create multi qualified instructors, who will be ready to step straight into work, with all the physical skills of an instructor along with the soft skills required to become a great instructor.
The Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre (ASSC) was started by the Trustees of the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation in May 2014 and operates as a not-for-profit centre. As well as the usual sailing courses, the Foundation use the Centre to develop specific sailing programs in line with the Charity’s objectives. For full details on the Foundation and its charitable activities visit www.andrewsimpsonfoundation.org.
Due to a vast diverse sailing fleet and an experienced and enthusiastic team of RYA Coach Assessors and instructors partnered with fantastic sailing conditions, the sailing centre is fast becoming recognized as one of the top sailing centres in the country.
The Official Test Centre (OTC) is a purpose-built centre with the clear goal to showcase the modern sport of windsurfing, and provide access to windsurfing for everyone. Housing the major windsurfing brands under one roof, the concept of the centre is to enable its clients to test and compare the latest designs for themselves in favorable conditions.
With its affiliated RYA-accredited, the OTC can also teach windsurfing at every level, from the complete beginner to those wishing to hone their advanced techniques. They have a vast stock of new and used kit in their on-site shop, plus any spares that are required. As such, the OTC puts windsurfing firmly on the map in one of the most prominent water-sports arenas in the marine leisure industry today.
In addition to windsurfing, The OTC are also the WPNSA’s on-site stand-up paddling (SUP) partner. With over 30 boards in their fleet, they have everything from inflatable SUPs, to racing hard-boards and wave-specialist SUPs. The centre can provide tuition at every level, demo kit and sales.
Being a new centre the ASSC has taken great pride in selecting the boats it uses to deliver all the courses they run. The extensive range of boats the centre has available meets the needs of everyone from the complete beginner to the potential future Olympians.
The OTC has all the latest kit within its centre from most of the top brands as the senior members of the team are test editors for Windsurf Magazine. The kit is all regularly updated and the old kit sold on, so learning to windsurf there is ideal as you can gradually advance through the board and sail range and really get an idea of what kit is good for you and the different conditions.
Whether you are just starting out, learning to blast, going for that infamous carve gybe, chasing speed records or throwing yourself into the latest freestyle move the OTC will have you covered with the latest kit.
Both The ASSC and The OTC are nestled within the grounds of the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA), host of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing events. The harbour itself is one of the largest in the world, with Chesil bank on one side complimented by the four breakwaters of the harbour’s Victorian wall, creating an area of over 500 hectares of protected idyllic sailing waters. Add to this the fact that the harbour boasts the best wind statistics of the whole south coast, thanks to the prevailing wind being funnelled over the Chesil bank between Portland and the mainland, and you begin to realise just what a watersports Mecca the harbour really is.
Both centres are based a stone’s throw from the water’s edge and with 2 huge slipways this makes launching any of the kit in any wind direction a hassle-free experience. Once out on the water, the conditions are often described as “glamour” as there is always somewhere to hone yours skills or just go for a blast. And with the faces of Team GBR and other Olympic teams often gracing the water with you, there is always someone to ask, mimic and aspire to.
The WPNSA itself has been developed extensively over its 10 years, and has a very open, all-encompassing policy to ensure its shore-based facilities compliment its on-water credentials. With the whole site being fully wheelchair accessible, the classrooms, changing rooms and event spaces give plenty of space for shore-based coaching and development. The site hosts many different events in the sailing world but also caters for corporate events and weddings, with several meeting rooms and a large function hall. There is a bar and a café to keep those who are not out on the water entertained and is one of the few places that you can often rub shoulder to shoulder with past, present and future Olympians.
Professional Instructor Training
With the biggest overseas active holiday companies (Neilson, Mark Warner etc) crying out for staff each year, becoming an instructor is a great way to get into working abroad. And with many UK-based centres now offering work all-year round, the watersports instructor role is becoming a realistic choice for an active career.
The aim of the Instructor Training provided by The ASSC & OTC is to train people to be instructors but also to give them all the necessary tools to become a high-class instructor that would work well within whatever team they work with.
With centres, across the world looking for RYA instructors and expecting their staff to be able to deliver a whole host of RYA courses to any age range, the Instructor training course will not just look at the on water skills and theory of the RYA syllabus but will also cover how to be an instructor with a bag of tools to be a true asset within any team. With sections of the course covering things like creating session plans for courses from scratch taking into account; aims of the group, contingency plans, weather and much more.
As part of the course there will be regular individual assessments with each student to ensure they are moving in the right direction in terms of passing the course. This assessment has been designed to not only look at the practical skills but to also look at the transferrable skills that will be usable in whatever career they choose in the future. It will also act as a log to show how the student has developed over the course and will be a useful tool when it comes to applying and interviewing for jobs.
Another part of the course will see the students having classroom and practical sessions looking at skills that will help them develop a marketing mind … not just for self-promotion, but crucially of the business they will be working for. A CV and covering letter is obviously part of getting a job, but social media is now playing a huge part in marketing, both for business and the individual. As a student of the course you will be guided through a practical course in business and marketing. These skills are highly sought after by any potential employer today, and this training will put our Instructor Training graduates in good stead for the future, no matter what industry they progress into in the future.
There is occasionally some criticism levelled at package instructor-training courses, such as the one created here. The thought is that by ‘fast-tracking’ students, the level and competence of the graduate is lowered. This course aims to dispel this though, raising the bar and providing more rounded relevant and real-world training that will be invaluable when the student enters a working environment. Both the ASSC and OTC are guided by very highly experienced and qualified managers, both of whom started their careers on similar fast-track style courses. Alex Porter at the ASSC has been an RYA Dinghy Coach Assessor for over nine years, whilst Tris Best at the OTC has been an RYA Windsurf Trainer for four years. Both have built teams around them to help the daily management and they have been selected to bring their knowledge and experience to the centres.
Dan Hallam, who is heading up the Instructor training course, also did a similar fast-track instructor training course when he left school at 16. Fifteen years on, he has worked at many centres across the UK and Europe, and has come to the ASSC with the hopes that he can find and train the next generation of watersports instructors.
Business by Business is a training company which focuses on the delivery of business training for businesses and individuals who are studying for a specific professional qualification. The training is provided by business people who are actually working in businesses across a wide range of sectors, rather than a traditional training provider. The company was co-founded by Julie Cleaver of Popcorn Marketing and Anna-Maria Geare of Geare Business Consultancy who collectively have over 50 years’ experience in business in both private and public sectors. The programme will start with some pre course tasks around social media and the course content will include, Branding & Business, Business planning, Visits to marine based businesses, transferable skills, CV writing and mock Interviews, event planning and practical experience in presentation skills. It is the perfect additional module to the instructor training course, providing stand out skills for increased employment opportunities.
For more information about the course or dinghy sailing please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Phone the centre on 01305 457400 or visit the website, andrewsimpsonsailing.co.uk
For more information about windsurfing or SUP please contact email@example.com or telephone 07817717904.