With Record Applications to UCAS - Many Students Face an Unsure Future: International Academy Offers Ski Instructor Training Courses

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As the squeeze for university places in 2009 intensifies up to A-level results, many students must now look to defer their university place or rethink their plans for the future. A ski or snowboard instructor course could be an ideal way to spend a gap year, or as a starting point for a new career in the snow sports industry.

As the squeeze for university places in 2009 intensifies in the weeks leading up to A-level results, many students must now look to defer their university place or rethink their plans for the future. In addition to UCAS stating a 9.7% increase on applications to UK universities, some universities are now warning that where historically there were around 43,000 places in clearing, the figure this year could be nearer 16,000.

International Academy, known as the IA, who were one of the first companies in the UK to offer certified ski and snowboard instructor courses in Canada and New Zealand, have seen a surge in students taking part in their instructor training in recent years.

According to Alan Bates, General Manager of International Academy (IA), "We have many students who train with us for a gap-break or as a result of not being successful in the clearing process. In an ever-competitive employment market, their remit is to ensure they get added-value from their gap year experience. Students are looking for a measurable, pay-back from the investment of their time, something "to show for it" in addition to some fun from their gap year. With applications to university up by nearly 10% this year, we are seeing a rise in interest for training - not only from students fresh from school but also a number of older people applying to train with us as a result of redundancy, a career break or early retirement in the recession."

Bates adds, "Our courses enable people to gain a Level 1 & 2 qualification in the Canadian or New Zealand systems. We have also introduced two new resorts (Sun Peaks Resort & Castle Mountain Resort) to our existing range of instructor training courses at Lake Louise & Whistler Blackcomb in Canada and Cardrona in New Zealand. IA is also launching new, exciting and intensive summer ski instructor courses at Timberline Lodge (Mount Hood, USA) next summer which will also give people the opportunity to take the CSIA or CASI Level 3 (Canadian system) course. Timberline Lodge in Oregon, USA provides some of the best summer skiing in the world and is where the US National Ski Teams train over the summer."

Rob Ashpole completed a training course with International Academy last year. He explains, "I had always wanted to take a year out between school and university, one of my main ambitions has always been to become a ski instructor. I started looking at different companies to do the training with when I was in my first year of Sixth Form, to make a target for the end of the two years. I finished school in July 2008 and went skiing with my family to Canada. The International Academy (IA) accommodation in The Best Western Siding 29 Lodge in Banff/Lake Louise stood out as the best of the accommodation provided."

"To help fund my trip I worked in accountancy in my home town during October and the first weeks of November. This work provided me with a greater experience of the world of accountancy, and helping me to learn valuable skills."

"I am so glad that I took the opportunity to take a gap year, I had always wanted to be a ski instructor and I achieved what I wanted. I will hopefully be able to return to Lake Louise sometime next season so I will be able to take the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation (CSCF) Level 1 qualification, as well as see some of the friends that I made there this season."

If your A-level results weren't quite what you were expecting or you want to take some time out from work and do something different, visit http://www.international-academy.com or call 029 2066 0200 for more information.

*(Source: The Guardian)

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Sarah Raine

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