Work with kids in world renowned Whistler
If you are a confident skier and love kids, this is the place for you. If you dream of becoming a confident skier but aren't there yet we also have jobs available for you. See below for details.
Whistler is the world famous resort situated in the Coast Mountain Range two hours north of Vancouver. With over 8,000 skiable acres and an average snow fall of over 10 meters, Whistler is the dream location to spend a season. Become a qualified Ski Instructor with our new Whistler University program which guarantees you a job working for Whistler Kids on completion of your Ski Instructor Level 1 course. Alternatively secure a job working in one of the many mountain restaurants or high end hotels in Whistler village.
On arrival in Whistler you start training for your Level 1 Ski Instructor Exam with some of the best instructors Canada has to offer. The Whistler University program provides 4 weeks intensive training (two weeks on snow training) to improve your technique and confidence to prepare you for your Level 1 CSIA. The program runs Monday-Thursday and includes the exam fees for your Level 1 CSIA. This is an internationally recognized qualification, which allows you to instruct in other countries and looks great on your CV. You will be trained by Level 4 instructors who will pass on their expertise and allow you to gain a real knowledge of both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, setting you up perfectly for your season instructing children.
Whistler Blackcomb normally require Instructors to have at least a Level 2 qualification so this is a great way to step straight into an Instructor role in your first season!
On successful completion of the course, you will start work with Whistler Kids. The pay averages around C$10 (approx £5.50) per hour, before tips, for 30-40 hours a week. Hours vary with season, snow conditions and guest numbers; normally you get two days off to ski. You are paid enough to cover your accommodation, food and fun - a great place to socialise, ski, and some Oysters have managed to save enough to go travelling after the season.
IEC Working Holiday Programme
Each year the Canadian High Commission releases a limited number of Work Permits so book early to secure yours. You need to be aged between 18 and 30 on the day the High Commission receives your application. Therefore Oyster can only take bookings from people that will be aged at least 18 in the January of the departure year to stand the best chance of being able to get a Work Permit before they run out.
For departures in 2014, applications to the IEC for UK Passport holders has closed (as of 24th January 2014). If you do not already have a World Tracking Number, you will not be able to get paid work in Canada this year or for winter 2014/15.
The International Experience Canada program is also available to citizens of Australia, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Norway. If you have a passport for one of these countries we suggest you contact the Canadian High Commission in your home country. You also need to be able to demonstrate that you can cover your expenses in Canada and must arrive in Canada with the equivalent of $2500 in your bank account. These are the requirements of the Canadian Immigration Department.
What will I do in Whistler?
By mid December you will have completed the Whistler University program and will be a qualified, and employed, ski instructor. Expect to be indoors and out working for Whistler Kids, which welcomes children from 3 to 11. You will spend some time on the nursery slopes and beginner slopes of the mountains depending on the ski experience within your group. In order to be eligible for a place on our program, you will need childcare experience and a good rapport with children. Unfortunately, we do look for more experience than just babysitting. Read our blog for accounts written by oyster participants. Check out our 'more information page' for further details.
What experience do I need?
As mentioned above, you need to be someone that has a good rapport with children and, ideally, experience with children in a variety of situations. We are looking for people that have experience with children aged 3-11. Having babysat for siblings/cousins/friends is not enough.
Some examples of the childcare experience that our participants come to us with include:
- Volunteering at your local Beavers or Brownies group
- Coaching sport to younger years at school
- Volunteering in a nursery or primary school as part of work experience
In addition to having good childcare experience, you also need to be a confident intermediate skier who is able to ski parallel, pole plant and be confident on all intermediate slopes.
If you have experience working with children and like the idea of working in Whistler Kids but are not a skier then we have a limited number of support roles available.
You could work in the Whistler Kids Kitchens, helping to prepare food for the kids and instructors.
Alternatively, for those with exceptional childcare experience, you can work as a Den Master and look after the non-skiing children. This is a tough role and you will be dealing with jet lagged or upset children, motivating them and getting them back out on the mountain with their instructor.
If working with kids is not for you, we also have a limited number of hotel jobs available for this winter season. You will work full time in this busy resort. Depending on your previous work experience will depend on the exact role you will have. You could be working as a Housekeeper, restaurant Busser, dishwasher or even front desk! Read our blog for accounts written by oyster participants. Check out our 'more information page' for further details.
I am working in Food and Beverage, we all have steady shifts, plenty to go around and have no problems whatsoever, personally its the best job I've ever had in every way! Richard Baker, Whistler 2010/11
We will see your group off at Heathrow Airport. On arrival, Tory will pick you up at Vancouver Airport. We put you up in a hostel in Vancouver for your first night so that you can get over your flight. The next day, Tory shows you where you can register for your Social Insurance Number before you take the bus up the Sea to Skyway (Highway 99) to Whistler and settle into your accommodation.
Dual-national Tory (she is British and Canadian) took her gap year in Tremblant, went back to the UK to complete her degree and returned to Whistler to become a ski instructor. She is married to Mike, one of Whistler’s most respected ski instructors, and she now works as the Senior Manager at Whistler.com. She has been our representative since 2004 and knows what she’s talking about, having done it herself!
Your accommodation comes with your job and is located on Blackcomb Mountain very close to the lifts. The accommodation is made up of self contained flats, each having 2 bedrooms, a lounge, bathroom and small kitchen. Each caters for 4 people so you should expect to share a room. The Oyster group is usually put in the same building. You will usually get a meal on the days that you are working and there is a meal deal for staff close the accommodation (currently $6 for a 3 course meal!), however for the rest of the time you will be self catering and you should ensure you can cook a few easy dishes before you depart!
You will live in staff accommodation from day one in Whistler. During the Level 1 course the fee for the accommodation is included. Once you finish the course and start work, the money for the accommodation will be deducted from your pay cheque at the rate of approx $11 (1 hours pay) per night.
For those in hospitality jobs, your accommodation will be located in the village close to the lifts and the hotel you will be working in. Again, you should expect to be self catering, share a room and have the rent deducted from your pay cheque.
Cost and what is provided
A five month programme in Whistler costs £4050 including the Whistler University Instructor Qualification but excluding flights. Support roles within Whistler Kids cost £2225, excluding flights.
The Hospitality program costs £2025, excluding flights. The winter season generally lasts around 5 months
(no guarantee on when the snow goes!).
What is Provided?
- One-to-one interview and informal briefing
- UK briefing day covering childcare issues and work advice
- Meeting a senior manager from Whistler Kids at our UK briefing course
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst in Canada
- Work Permit application advice
- A suitable job, liaising with employers and obtaining job offer letters etc. Please be aware some employers like to conduct their own interview on the phone
- For Instructors only - Whistler University fees including tuition from Level 4 instructors, exam fees for the CSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor exam and accommodation fees during those 4 weeks. (in the unlikely event you fail you will need to pay for a re-test
- Optional flight with fixed return date. Total cost including flight £4950 for Whistler Kids Instructor, £3125 for support roles and £2925 for hospitality (if you want a more flexible ticket this can be organised).
- ATOL Protection (as long as we book your flights)
- Arrangement of transportation to your accommodation from the airport and local information
- One night in a central Vancouver hostel when the group arrives in Canada.
- Assistance organising your Social Insurance Number and bank account (with TD Bank in Whistler)
- Assistance and support from our representative whilst on your placement including regular social 'meet ups'
- Wages (approx. £120 per week, before tips)
- Season Ski Pass is included with the job (not for hospitality roles)
- In-resort discount on buying skis and boots when you first arrive in Whistler
- Organisation of staff accommodation before arrival (participants then pay approx $11 per night, which is roughly £50 per week)
- Unique Hoody (on our Whistler Kids programmes)
- Free access to InterHealth's Travel Advice Service
- Free myTsafe secure document storage account - worth £39!
What do I need?
- Be eligible for the Canadian Working Holiday Program
- Insurance (covering winter sports and any planned independent travel)
- Independent travel costs or cost of journey to airport at the end of your placement
- All UK travel costs (to the interview, briefing day and airport)
- Accommodation and food costs, approximately C$18 (£11) per day. Accommodation cost is taken directly from your pay cheque
- Police Check for Immigration purposes (approx. £45)
- Flexible Work Permit - C$150
And one more thing...
Added bonus? The highway gets you down to Vancouver in two hours, and there's a gorgeous train ride on the Whistler Mountaineer (three hours).