25 November 2016 Introducing our Snow-Camp Apprentice: Hamza
We're lucky to be working with Snow-Camp for a third season, supporting their apprentice programme by taking on Hamza, a 17-year old snowboarder from central London. Here's his story and a bit more about this incredible charity.
The Ski Club have been working for three seasons with Snow-Camp, an innovative youth charity that uses a unique combination of skiing, snowboarding and life-skills programmes to support inner-city young people. Through the combination of snowsports and life-skills, their programmes enable young people to grow in confidence, skills and self-esteem.
Since kicking off in 2003, Snow-Camp has grown steadily and now works with at least 450 young people each year across 15 London Boroughs. A huge expansion of the programme is underway and it has recently expanded into Scotland, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds/Bradford and the Midlands, working with more young people than ever before.
We have been supporting this incredible charity by taking on Snow-Camp apprentices for the past three season. Apprentices take on a huge range of roles across the snowsports industry, such as by working at high street shops such as Snow+Rock or at The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead. However there is another route which Snow-Camp offers – working in an office such as the Ski Club’s.
Our current apprentice, Hamza, has done exactly that and has been with us for almost two months now. Keen to learn as much as possible he has worked in every department at the club, but instead of us describing what he’s like and what he does, we thought we would leave it to Hamza (fourth from the right)…
Just to give you a little background about myself, I am 17 years old from Pimlico in south west London. Normally you would think this area is quite nice, however there are parts of my area which aren’t. As you can imagine there are a lot of drugs, gangs and violence that occur on a day to day basis. However I try my best to keep clear of all of that trouble.
A few hobbies that I have are football, basketball, go-karting, and of course snowboarding (however I can ski!). I have just finished secondary school and done my GCSE’s, which luckily I passed. Now I’m on the Snow-Camp apprenticeship to hopefully gain my BASI 1 and 2, and an NVQ in activity leadership. When I’m not working for Snow-Camp, I have a part time job at my youth club – I started volunteering there to give something back to them and then I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work for them.
I first got involved with Snow-Camp at a young age, thanks to this youth club (St Andrews) which offered me the chance to try snowboarding. This was something that I really wanted to try as all the older kids in my youth club at the time had done it and said it was the best time they’d had in their lives. However due to my age at the time (13) I couldn’t continue to the instructor program, but that didn’t stop me.
I have now been snowboarding for four years – all thanks to Snow-Camp. On a personal level I can say that I have had some great times on a board, especially when doing my first 180 or 360. I still remember my first time landing these two tricks off a kicker, what a feeling. However as most of you reading this know, freestyle, or just snowboarding in general doesn’t come without pain and falling over! I have taken a battering on a snowboard… One of the worst drops I have had was trying to do a 50/50 on a freestyle box. I caught an edge and slammed my knee on the corner of the hard, solid, metal box. Afterwards I was on crutches for three weeks to get my knee better. But all is good now!
So now as part of the apprentice scheme I am working here at the Ski Club of Great Britain and I must say I’m loving it. I’ve spent time in all of the departments and helped work on the Ski Club’s stand at the Ski Show too. Alongside this I also help teach and instruct people how to ski and snowboard as a fully qualified Snowsports England instructor. Additionally all the apprentices, including myself, are doing an NVQ in activity leadership.
Thanks to Snow-Camp for opening up the world of snowsports to me! I now aim in the future to be a seasonnaire, and become a snowboard instructor in a few different countries like Canada, Japan and France. And hopefully if all goes to plan, I will manage to get a job through Snow-Camps partnerships, for example at Chel-ski, which is going to be my next work placement.
You can read more about Hamza’s time at the Ski Club on our blog and find out more about helping out with, or fundraising for, Snow-Camp by heading to their website.