Our very own Paul Chapman, Electrical Tutor and volunteer ski guide, tells us why he chose to get involved with the Southern Ski Club for the Disabled (SSCD).
SSCD is a non-profit organisation entirely run by volunteers to help people with any disability enjoy a sense of freedom and exhilaration and to help develop their self-confidence by participating in the fantastic sport of skiing.
Based on 40 years of experience helping those with disabilities, SSCD was set-up by people who believe that the joy of skiing should be achievable for everyone.
SSCD work with people who have many forms of disability from paraplegics, the blind, those with special learning needs or MS. It is only due to the generous donations they receive that SSCD are able to provide and develop specialist skiing aids/equipment, offer ski guiding and practice sessions on artificial slopes and also organise snow holidays for groups. The organisation also runs training courses for guides to assist skiers with disabilities to learn and enjoy to ski.
We asked Paul why he decided to become a guide
I have skied for some years prior to getting involved with the SSCD. It was at a point in my life when you find yourself at a loose end due to a relationship breakup. I can’t remember where I saw the advert but I thought it was a good idea. I had no pre-conceptions of what would be involved, and I was quite prepared to just assist. But after 3 or 4 months I found myself doing more responsible jobs.
It was in 2007 that I attended a two day weekend training course at Knockhatch dry ski slope near Hailsham. We covered the basics of becoming a ski guide for the disabled, which included a surprising amount of learning regarding different disability’s and illnesses. During the training we had to experience what a disabled skier would feel when skiing for the first time.
We took turns at being a blind skier by being blind folded and then assisted by a fellow trainee to help us put on our ski boots and guide us out to the slope, which was very disorientating. Once on the slope we had to use the button lift, assisted by our fellow trainee. Once on the button lift you have no way of knowing what direction you are going in, so we had to rely on instructions shouted up from the bottom of the slope. Yes, I fell over a few times, but the trouble was you have then lost the button and have no idea of where you are.
At the top another helper was waiting to tell us when to push the button out from between our legs, we were then guided to point towards the slope, as I could have been facing backwards for all I knew! So, eventually I gathered the nerve to go over the edge. The problem was I had no sensation of motion, there was no visual reference point to gage my speed. I was in a very wide snow plough and the trainee guide said “come on let’s get moving” I really thought I was.
Eventually we got to the bottom of the slope and stopped, well that’s what I thought but skied straight into the back of another blindfolded guide and fell over with our skis all locked together and had to be untangled by others. I had no idea of what was up, down, north, south, east or west apart from knowing what time of the day it was and which side of my face the sun was shining on.
What are the best bits about guiding?
The best bits are seeing any disabled person having fun experiencing the exhilaration of skiing especially referring to sit skis where the disabled person is literally strapped into the ski and communicates by blinking or a half smile. Please see the Tessier sit ski links here.
One funny story was when a Down Syndrome lad was worried about going up on the button lift, I was with another very experienced guide who asked this lad if he liked music and told him to sing if he got worried. I went up in front to make sure the lad got off OK at the top. Well, as he got close to the top he started singing Muma Mia at the top of his voice. I very nearly couldn’t control my laughter but knew I had to make sure he got of the button lift safely. One of the most difficult bits has to be losing one of the disabled people, Finding out that one of the disabled children have passed away can be quite hard especially if you have skied with them and managed to build rapport.
One other incredible story is some years ago one our groups took a guy on a ski holiday in a lay down sledge and raced him around the mountains on it. The incredible part is that the only moving part of this particular guy was his head. He spent his life laying on his back looking at his world through a mirror above his head.
Do you have any advice for others wanting to train as a guide?
At first you may feel as though you are just in the way at times, but as you get used to the different disabilities and what we do you will soon be in the right place at the right time to assist.
If you would like to find out more, why not pop along to one of their sessions to see for yourself what it’s all about. Alternatively if you would like to become a member or make a donation please visit SSCD.
We are excited to announce we are hosting a range of free electric vehicle installer seminars. Throughout 2019 these seminars will be aimed at both existing installers and new entrants to the industry.
The seminars will be run in conjunction with Rolec EV, a division of Rolec Services that specialises in the design and manufacture of a range of electric vehicle charging solutions. The seminars, entitled Electric Vehicle Installers Seminar: What’s the big deal? have been designed to explain the opportunities available for becoming an Electric Vehicle Charging Point Installer and will cover relevant and helpful topics such as:
How funding for EV charging point installation works
How to get registered in order to draw down funding
How to maximise the EV funding opportunity for you and your customers
How to train to be an EV Charging Point Installer
Free tea, coffee and biscuits will be available on the night and a Rolec and Trade Skills 4U welcome pack will be handed out to all attendees.
When and where?
These 1 hour seminars are being planned to run throughout the year from our 4 main training centres in Gatwick, Warrington, Leeds and our new Coventry centre. The first is being held at our Gatwick centre on the 17th April 2019. More dates and venues are planned to follow shortly, so watch this space!
Carl Bennett Executive Chairman of Trade Skills 4U said: “Following a rise in demand for electric vehicle points across the country, the collaboration between both companies seemed like the perfect match to ensure that skilled electricians are ready to work in this growing sector.”
“By combining experience in training and manufacturing we have created seminars specifically designed to deliver an opportunity to our students. We believe the government’s initiative to eliminate all petrol and diesel cars by 2040 will mean the need for installing electrical vehicle points will rise significantly in the coming years.”
Kieron Alsop, Rolec EV’s Managing Director commented: “The installation of EV Charging points represents a significant business opportunity for the electrical contracting industry.”
“A recent survey undertaken by Emu Analytics confirmed that the UK is in need of a six fold increase in EV charging point deployment over the next 2 or 3 years to cope with the charging demands from the dramatically increasing numbers of Electric Vehicles being registered.”
“As a result of this new business opportunity Rolec EV is delighted to be working closely with, and supporting Trade Skills 4U in developing a range of electrical contractor charge point installation training courses at a number of their sites throughout the UK.”
“The recently opened Rolec EV Training Suite at their flag ship training centre in Leeds highlights the scale of investment and confidence both Rolec and Trade Skills 4U have in this new EV Charging industry.”
Approved Rolec Installer’s Scheme
As part of our partnership with Rolec, students who successfully pass an EV courses with us will be automatically registered on the Approved Rolec Installer’s Scheme where their name will appear on a national database enabling them to work on jobs in the local area.
If you would like to attend one of our free seminars please click here to register today!
If you are interested in finding out about the other courses we offer please visit our course finder page, alternatively please speak to a Course Adviser on 0800 856 4448, who will be happy to help.