A day in the life: Watersports

21 January 2019

Chloe Faulkner, Waterfront Supervisor

We continue our series of insights into careers at Willen Lake with a catch up with Chloe - one of our Waterfront Supervisors - who gives us an insight into our busy watersports centre and what it takes to work here! 

What is your job role, and what does this involve?

I’m a Waterfront Supervisor at Willen Lake. My job involves a mix of leading watersports sessions as an instructor, managing the other instructors and the hire team, and administrative tasks such as preparing sessions and organising bookings. There’s even some general maintenance too – there’s always jobs to be done around the lake!

How long have you worked at Willen Lake?

I’ve worked here full time for just over a year. Prior to that I did a summer season as a Watersports Instructor.

What brought you to Willen Lake?

I completed an Outdoor Adventure course at Shuttleworth College and was qualified in paddlesports, so joined Willen Lake as an instructor for summer 2017. My initial plan was to just work here for one season but then the Waterfront Supervisor position became available and I got it! It worked out really well.

While you were at college, did you know that you wanted to work somewhere like Willen Lake?

No – I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at all. I’ve always been interested in outdoor activities; camping, hiking, watersports etc. so decided to do the course at Shuttleworth College because it looked like a lot of fun. Fortunately, when I joined Willen Lake for the summer season I really enjoyed it so it’s been great to have the opportunity to progress to a full time position with more responsibility.

Have you been able to develop your skills further while here?

Yes, I’ve completed my Powerboat Instructor course so am a qualified instructor now. Next, I’m looking at a Dinghy Instructor course, so I can teach sailing. I’m already qualified in paddlesports but I’m now working on my ‘Core Coach’ qualification, which is the next level up. It’s been brilliant to do this alongside my job and I’ve had a lot of support from the team.

What is a typical day at Willen Lake during the season?

So if we have a school trip booked, then there could be up to 250 children in the one day – very busy! I’ll start the day by leading a staff briefing; telling all the other team members what they will be teaching and what to expect from the day ahead. One great part of the job is that you don’t teach the same activity every time; one day you might be canoeing, the next doing raft building. The variety certainly keeps it interesting! We then set up for the day and organise all the equipment, before meeting the schoolchildren when they arrive.

In a typical school day we’ll have a number of groups moving between three different activities and each pair of instructors will be assigned one activity for the day – so each instructor will teach the one session, three times. We’ll finish off the day by packing away all the equipment.

If we don’t have a school group in then I will brief staff using our jobs board, which details all the tasks to be completed on site. I’ll spend the day supervising and assisting with the completion of these tasks, alongside the running of our hire centre.

Every day is different so you can’t get bored!

What do you enjoy about your role?

I really enjoy managing teams of people and coordinating the school sessions. With the school bookings there’s a lot of work behind the scenes and I love organising this from initial contact, through to planning the content for the day, and then leading activities on the day. It’s very rewarding to be involved from start to finish.

On a Saturday morning in the summer we run Willen Crusaders, a club for children and I love leading that. Everyone who takes part really enjoys it and it’s a lot of fun to see how they develop.

Would you recommend Willen Lake as a place to work?

Absolutely! I’ve worked my way up from a seasonal member of staff and it is just the best job to have in the summer – you really can’t beat it. Every day is different, you get to spend time outdoors in the sun, doing a job you enjoy. It’s a perfect place to work for students in particular; it’s very relaxed and flexible and you can work the hours around you.

What type of person should work at Willen Lake?

Someone who is confident and happy to speak to lots of different people. It can get very busy in the summer so you need to make yourself heard! You also need to be interested in being outdoors and doing the activities; it is quite a physical job at times.

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