Working Towards That Dream Job: Whistler Adventure School

Anyone under the impression that living and working in a dream job at a resort community is something unachievable, far-fetched or unrealistic may want to think again. With the right skills and training, that dream could very well become reality. Opened in April 2014, the new Whistler Adventure School aims to provide the sort of education and relevant work experience best suited to pursuing a career in one of BC’s ski/snowboard and summer resorts.

Catering to both Canadian and international students, Whistler Adventure School offers specialized training programs in four main areas: Adventure Guide, Speciality Guide, Marketing/Media and Retail/Manufacturing. Each program and course also includes valuable co-op work placements, so students can gain the training and experience they need to begin or advance their careers in outdoor recreation.

“Each course has been specifically designed to meet the unique needs of our community,” said Eric Hughes, Operations & Marketing Manager at Whistler Adventure School. “These programs and courses make sense for Whistler, and offer students the needed skills and training in areas that support the industry – and then directly apply that knowledge and training through work placements and career opportunities through the program.”

The school offers six full programs focused around outdoor recreation: Adventure Guide Program, Media Manager Program, Retail & Manufacturing Program, Ski Guide Training, Rock Guide Training and Alpine Guide Training. After completing a full program, students receive an official Certificate of Completion.

What is the advantage of enrolling at Whistler Adventure School compared with getting an entry-level job in the industry?  The short answer is experience, knowledge, time and accreditation.

“The courses speed up the learning and career advancement processes as students are properly trained with the necessary skills, which is especially important for careers in guiding where good decision making is so critical,” Hughes said. “They also benefit from practical experience and mentoring programs, which could otherwise take years.”

Within each of these full programs, the school offers courses that range from various types of guiding to event planning, social media and photography to more technical courses in retail and manufacturing, such as boot fitting, bike mechanics, ski/board tuning and other industry-relevant trades.

“What the school aims to do is help match the skills of students to the needs of employers, while also helping to place our students’ resumes on top of the pile when they’re applying for jobs,” Hughes added. “For example, if someone’s resume states ‘Qualified for boot-fitting,’ it’s more likely to bring that resume to the next level and reassure the employer that the student has been trained and is qualified for the job, which helps lessen the risk for the employer and hopefully make it that much easier for our students to get hired.”

Since opening its doors a little more than a year ago, the school has graduated nearly 100 students through its courses. While some of these students have enrolled out of personal interest, many others have acquired jobs directly in their field of study as a result of the school’s training and/or co-op work experience with local employers.

Whistler Adventure School is located in Whistler’s Function Junction at Unit 5 on 1345 Alpha Lake Road.  For more information, visit Whistler Adventure School.

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