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Students graduate from unique snowsports programme

Media Release from Otago Polytechnic
23 October 2008

Central Otago students graduate from unique snowsports programme

Forty six Central Otago Polytechnic students have just graduated from a unique hands-on snow course that offers on-the-job training at Cardrona Alpine Resort near Wanaka.

The ceremony, held at the start of October, awarded 25 students their Certificate in Snowsport Instructing (Ski) or (Snowboard) and 21 students their Certificate in Avalanche Safety Management and Snowsport Instructing (Ski or Snowboard).

Otago Polytech Adventure Programme Manager Peter Bilous said Central Otago is a hub for snowsports, with a great choice of ski fields within an hour’s drive.

“The Polytech’s philosophy is for students to gain real life knowledge from industry professionals and hands-on experience. As part of their course, the students went to Cardrona Alpine Resort and shadowed highly skilled and experienced instructors before taking sole charge of lessons.

“This ‘learn by doing’ approach is a unique and cost-effective way to gain a certificate in snowsports instruction. As far as I’m aware there are no other courses in New Zealand, or anywhere else in the world, that offer this type of programme for would-be snowsport instructors.”

Mr Bilous added that there is a real demand from the snow sport industry for more Kiwi instructors and that the Central Otago Polytechnic programme provides the perfect platform for people to launch their careers

“Most of our ski areas have to recruit staff from overseas so they’re keen to see more New Zealanders take up snowsport instruction.

“We have a great relationship with Cardrona and together we’re producing highly skilled instructors who often go on to work there or continue training at a higher level. I love visiting Cardrona as I’m constantly bumping into staff who have been through our courses.”

Central Otago Polytechnic’s snowsports courses have been on offer for almost 10 years. They have grown in popularity with both courses generally starting out each year near full capacity.

“We attract most of our students from word of mouth – usually past and current students recommending us to their mates.”

The snowsport programmes allow students to earn snowsport instruction qualifications from the New Zealand Snowsports Instructors Alliance (NZSIA) and avalanche qualifications from the New Zealand Mountain Safety Authority (NZMSA). Both programmes permit entry level (Stage 1) qualifications to be earned while establishing a career pathway towards higher level qualifications.

ENDS

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