19 Jun Changing The Face Of Surf Qualifications With Remote Learning
Make no mistake about it, we are in socially unchartered territory. The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced the whole world to reassess its systems and to adapt to the new challenges we are now facing. New global rules around social distancing have suddenly interrupted the working pattern of many businesses and the lifestyle of the world’s population.
This is a completely new situation for us all. As the world’s leaders figure out how best to deal with such a complex problem, there are a clever few who have been thinking outside the box. Not ones to be halted, Newquay Activity Centre have ripped up the old rule book and written an entirely new one.
In a world-first, Newquay Activity Centre have moved all of their classroom based qualifications online. Using virtual communication platforms such as Zoom, they have bypassed the need to be in one specific location when gaining your beach lifeguard or surf coach qualification. Instead allowing you to undertake all of your theory lessons from the comfort of your own home.
The world is in a constant state of flux and evolution, sometimes out of entrepreneurship and sometimes out of necessity. Newquay Activity Centre are always looking for new ways in which they can improve their services, and they feel that this is a major turning point for providing qualifications in the surfing industry. They are evolving as the world turns and they seem to be adapting their teaching methods at the same pace.
Changing The Future Of Learning
Since Newquay Activity Centre started their online teaching, they have had nothing but great feedback from students, course directors and also the governing bodies of water safety. They have managed to negate lots of the costs usually associated with gaining a qualification, and this has further bolstered the reasons behind maintaining remote learning as an option in the future.
International students at the training centre are a regular occurrence, but ordinarily they would have to factor in the cost of travel and accommodation. Recent online courses have seen students join from France, Malta, Kenya and Brazil. By learning from home, students have been able to save money on their course and remain in comfortable and familiar surroundings. Studies show that the more relaxed you feel, the easier it is to learn new information, this is great news for the continuity of remote learning.
Course director Mark Kelly from 4elementsadventure is internationally well-versed in delivering ocean based qualifications. What Mark doesn’t know about ocean safety can be written on the back of a Newquay postcard. But even with the huge amounts of experience Mark has in providing lessons, he believes this to be a major new opportunity:
“The restrictions for COVID-19 came in and we already had bookings in place, we put our heads together and tried to come up with ways around it. We know there’s a lot of theory to take in through classroom learning and that maybe online teaching would give us a chance to break it up a bit – whilst also keeping to the Government guidelines.”
“Remote learning has given students the tools to revise and practice at their own pace. After a few sessions everyone has been super impressed by the delivery and we’ve had great feedback. We are pleased that our innovation may become the new normal and we are leading the way in remote learning”
A New Approach Brings New Benefits
Putting yourself through a lifeguard or surf coach qualification can be tough going. Hours of theory work coupled with physically demanding practice sessions can be a lot to cope with over the course of one week. At the end of each day all you want to do is eat and sleep. Online learning has given Newquay Activity Centre the chance to split the courses up into smaller bitesize lessons. This way students have had the ability to digest new information at their own pace and have been able to practice what they need around each session.
On top of shorter lessons and a more relaxed learning environment, students are now being given unlimited time to complete the practical side of the course. Traditionally, time constraints and practicality would force you to take your ocean exams in whatever conditions mother nature threw at you. There would be some leeway across the length of the day, but this new approach gives students weeks or even months to wait for the most appropriate conditions. This also gifts students plenty of practice time before exams. Allowing more experience in the ocean and, in turn, creating a more solid foundation for our future lifeguards and surf coaches.
These huge new benefits of virtual learning have even impressed RLSS UK. The governing body in water safety has fully backed their approach to these alternative teaching methods and are even considering this for all future qualifications. This is huge news for the surfing world, switching to online teaching could make these courses a viable option for people who otherwise may not have had the opportunity.
Altering the view of a national governing body is an incredible achievement and one that Newquay Activity Centre’s founder Rob Barber hopes will shape the future of learning. “There are many benefits in this new style of learning and we are pleased to be rolling it out from our centre in Newquay.”
Unique Training Opportunities
Not only is Newquay Activity Centre fast becoming a world-leader in alternative learning, they also continue to offer the most bang for your buck when gaining your ocean qualifications. Beautiful Towan beach is the base for their operations and you couldn’t ask for a better office. Surrounded by the picturesque Atlantic coast and soaked in a rich history of surf culture, Newquay is truly the perfect home for any lifeguard or surf coach.
If you book your ISA Level 1 Surf Coaching Award through Newquay Activity Centre, you don’t just shake hands and say goodbye to them on the final day. (In fact, you don’t shake hands with anybody at the minute, but that’s by the by.) On completion of the course, it is mandatory that newly qualified coaches complete 20 hours of instruction signed off by a guided supervisor. Newquay Activity Centre gives course graduates the chance to be welcomed on board and complete the 20 hours of instruction shadowing their incredible team.
Not only will you get the chance to learn from their experienced surf coaches, you will also be offered an interview for the opportunity to become a paid member of their team. Giving you a great chance to fulfil that dream job as a newly qualified surf instructor. As an all round package – you would be hard pressed to find any other providers that match the same level of commitment to your future.
Courses On Offer
Newquay Activity Centre have three different ocean qualifications that they are now delivering safely and remotely. Their staff are super friendly and will give you heaps of advice if you’re not sure which course to enrol on. These guys have been in Newquay for over 20 years and are a staple part of the ocean adventure scene. Check out their courses below:
- Become an internationally recognised beach lifeguard
- Comprehensive lifeguard theory and practice training
- Cover rescue techniques, first aid, life support, ocean skills and pool skills
- Fully endorsed by the International Life Saving Federation (ILSS) and Surf Lifesaving Great Britain (SLSGB)
- Learn to use Peterson rescue tubes, surf rescue boards and first aid kits
- Duration of 40 hours
- Become a fully qualified surfing instructor
- Must have a recognised surf life saving qualification as a prerequisite
- Must have an intermediate level of personal surfing experience
- Global industry standard for surf coaching
- Cover instructing methods and communication for effective teaching
- Learn what the role of being a coach includes
- Duration of 2 days
- Specifically designed for outdoor water sport instructors looking to gain the required level of life saving expertise
- Learn all essential surf coach safety
- Applicable to surfing, coasteering, bodyboarding and SUPing instructors or for anyone responsible for taking activity groups into the sea
- Cover the core beach and sea safety techniques including surf rescues, first aid and life support.
- Duration of 3 days
It’s great to see businesses thinking outside the box and rising to the new challenges posed by social distancing. Innovative and progressive in equal measure, Newquay Activity Centre has laid the foundation for the delivery of ocean qualifications in the future. The cogs of the world will keep turning and pandemics like this unfortunately can’t be predicted or avoided. Just as a phoenix arises from the ashes, a new dawn of remote learning can be the silver lining around this proverbial cloud.