Charity helps Scot become instructor

27th February 2014, by Abi Butcher

Snow-Camp has helped Michael Conner, 19, to qualify as a ski instructor

Snow-Camp has helped Michael Conner, 19, to qualify as a ski instructor

A 19-year-old from South Lanarkshire has become the first young Scottish person to qualify as a ski instructor through the charity Snow-Camp Glasgow.

Michael Conner from Blantyre says his life has “changed for the better” after qualifying as an instructor last week with Ski Academy Europe at CairnGorm Mountain. His achievement is made all the more remarkable by the fact that he only started skiing in November 2012, when he joined a Snow-Camp Glasgow Beginner session at Bearsden Ski & Board Club with the Rutherglen Prince’s Trust Team Programme.

After the two-day taster, Michael went forward to the Graduate Programme before heading to Glencoe Mountain Resort to experience real-life snow for the first time — all during the 2012/2013 season.

Snow-Camp uses a unique combination of skiing, snowboarding and life-skills programmes to support young people from deprived areas in Glasgow. Alongside skiing courses, Snow-Camp runs accredited life-skills sessions that help young people reflect on their achievements on the slopes and map out their aspirations for the future, whether or not they include snowsports.

After showing what Snow-Camp describes as “excellent” personal development and “real potential” on the slope, he returned this season as a Snow-Camp Glasgow Ambassador and qualified as an xx intstructor.

“My training has been an amazing experience from skiing in pouring rain and almost no visibility to skiing on a sunny blue sky day,” said Michael. “My instructor Kenny King was an excellent help and a great teacher. Snow-Camp has helped me achieve my goals, changed my life for the better and gave me this amazing experience.”

With his new qualification Michael worked over half-term last week at Aviemore’s School of Snowsports and plans return at Easter, as well as lending a hand at Snow-Camp to teach on the Graduate Programme in March.

Will Ferguson-Smith, project manager of Snow-Camp in Scotland said: “I have seen Michael go from strength to strength over the last year. He came to us as a polite but shy young person but throughout we have seen Michael build his confidence and self-esteem remarkably, which is all down to his fantastic work ethic and love for skiing.”

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