This is the story of how one young person from Hackney, London, became an internationally qualified ski instructor and an inspiration to thousands of other young people on the Snow-Camp programmes. Find out more about Jonjoe in the video below and as well as reading about Jonjoe’s experiences from his perspective.
“Wow, I have passed not just my ISIA level 3 technical exam but also my ISIA level 3 teaching exam! I am absolutely amazed and so proud of myself! I’ve come such a long way in a very small amount of time and I cannot thank all people who have believed in me and given me just that one chance to succeed. Thank you Snow-Camp, everybody behind this charity works day in and day out to help young people have a better chance. Their passion and drive is why I am writing this today!
I remember the first time I ever put skis on in summer 2013. Lara Kinnear [Snow-Camp Operations Director] was so enthusiastic with me and my progression over the first two days that I was on a course! Her excitement is what truly made me what to come back a ski more! I ended up absolutely loving it and never wanted to stop. I joined the Snow-Camp Excel Programme, which provided me with the opportunity to spend one week in the Italian mountains as part of my training – I had never seen proper snow before so it was an eye opening experience! It was on this trip that I realised that I was where I was meant to be, this was what I was made for.
During that week, I won skier of the week and Lara she said “you never stopped smiling once!” I decided to then apply for Snow-Camp’s Apprenticeship Programme, which helped me so much not only with skiing but I gained so many life-skills I will never forget. I also met Gavin Hanmer [Snow-Camp London Programme Manager] who was new to Snow-Camp. He was and still is the most influential and supportive person I have ever met! He has helped me so much with not just skiing but being the best role model anyone could ask for!
I also had the chance to gain an NVQ level 2 in sports leadership and Snow-Camp encouraged me to re-sit my maths and English GCSE’s, which I did and passed! I was also provided with work placements at SkiPlex and the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead. On these work placements I shadowed other instructors, worked in ski rentals and helped to teach the new young people coming through the Snow-Camp programmes. I was also given a life changing opportunity from Snow-Camp Patron Warren Smith and Snow-Camp: they funded my BASI level 1 and 2 ski instructor qualifications, which I completed at the Warren Smith Ski Academy! When I was told I was speechless, this was a dream for me!
I remember when I first met Warren, he had come to speak to us young people on the Snow-Camp Graduate Programme [pictured above] about his entry into skiing and how it changed his life, it inspired me to want to do the same! Warren’s whole team took me under their wing and gave me the best ski coaching anyone could ask for, the Academy team is truly remarkable! Through Snow-Camp’s programmes and my additional training with the Academy, I went from never putting on skis to gaining a BASI level 2 in less than a year! Warren then said that he wanted me to come back to train for an ISIA level 3. I wasn’t in any sort of position to fund myself so I decided if I was going to make this happen I would have to work hard: I worked 5 days a week and still wasn’t close to hitting the target I needed. I applied for a second job at Skiplex, where I had completed a work placement when I was on the Snow-Camp Apprenticeship Programme. I was working 7 days a week to try and get enough money for my accommodation, lift pass, equipment, flights and exam costs – this was a big shock for me and I had to work my hardest to save enough money.
So the time had come and I had reached my goal! I was flying back to Verbier where I started my training for my ISIA Level 3 exams and I passed! I’ve had the most amazing experience and I’ve grown so much. I also can’t believe that I won an award at the National Apprenticeship Awards for my time at Snow-Camp [pictured above] and for my achievements after my apprenticeship! Amazing! I really hope I inspire other young people to join an apprenticeship programme because it was the best thing that I have ever done, it changed my life.
Now I’m saving again so that I can continue training to gain my full BASI ISIA level 3 license and apply for a job at the Warren Smith Ski Academy.
I just want to say thank you to the guys at HEAD Skis who donated an amazing set of skis to me so that I could train for my exams. I would also like to say a big thank you to Warren Smith, Lara Kinnear, Gavin Hanmer and everyone at Snow-Camp and my Mum and Nan! You guys have had such an impact on my life and I cannot ever stop thanking everyone. You have all helped to shape me into the man that I have grown and am growing in to. Without these guys I wouldn’t be here where I am today. Again thank you to everyone who has supported me!”
Snow-Camp and Jonjoe featured in local London newspaper Hackney Press.
Jonjoe and his Mum joined Phil and Holly on the sofa to talk about Jonjoe’s achievements. Watch the full video here.