Sea Kayakers make the Grade. BCU Coach Training and Assessment in Jersey

Clare. On of our newly trained BCU Level 2 Coaches

Clare. On of our newly trained BCU Level 2 Coaches

Paddling the ocean waves as a sea kayak coach and guide is not exactly most people’s idea of a day at work and it is easy to forget that like any other profession there is a lot of training and assessments involved.

For local residents Clare Robinson and Nic Hairon their office has just become a large and very wet world following completion of the British Canoe Union/United Kingdom Coaching Council Level 2 certificate in paddle sport.

Working at Jersey Kayak Adventures Clare and Nic have undertaken a range of on the job and training courses over the last 10 months to develop both their personal paddle sport and leadership skills to reach the Level 2 standard.

To reach the Level 2 demanded considerable on the job experience while working for Jersey Kayak Adventures. Both had to reach high personal skill levels and study additional training modules. There was also the need to complete a weighty portfolio documenting their kayaking and coaching progression rounded off by an examination by a UK assessor who observed their ability to put theory into practice around the coastline of Jersey with a group of clients.

kayak coaching courses in Jersey

Nic our newly trained BCU level 2 coach

For Clare the decision to become a kayak coach developed out of her love of the outdoors while working in New Zealand. However, it soon became apparent that without an internationally recognised training her chances of getting work was slim. Luckily for Clare one of the best places to obtain her coaching awards turned out to be back home in Jersey.

“I get lots of enquiries from people wanting to become kayak coaches but many fall by the wayside once they realise the training requires lots of commitment. It’s more than just jumping in a kayak and drifting about on the ocean. If there is one thing the Level 2 Certificate demonstrates, it’s that people like Nic and Clare are motivated to step up to the national standards.” commented Jersey Kayak Adventures director Derek Hairon.

kayak instruction along the Jersey coastline

Sea kayak training in Jersey

For Nic even though he comes from a family, where sea water is probably in his genetic make up, passing the Level 2 still required a lot of work after completing his university degree. This included trips to paddle big Alpine rivers and the slightly less exotic but technical rivers of North Wales. There were also sea kayak leadership and navigation courses to be taken and logged hours both coaching and kayaking to be completed “Unless you can get plenty of experience running courses, coaching and just getting out paddling you’re going to struggle to pass.” said Nic.

Armed with this internationally recognised award both Clare and Nic can now lead kayak tours and run paddle sport courses at Jersey Kayak Adventures.

“Over the last 5 years we’ve tried to train local people because both visitors and local clients like the fact that they are able to get afloat with local coaches who know their island. Plus, as a business, we need to invest in our future.” said Derek.

For Clare and Nic this certificate also opens up worldwide employment opportunities, because BCU national standards are considered an international benchmark for kayak coaching in the adventure industry.

Their horizons are now a lot bigger as a result of their training.

Derek Hairon