Builder on the slippery slope


WHAT’S A builder to do in the recession? Become a ski instructor of course.

Laois man Henry Fingleton (pictured, no relation to Michael), who spent over 15 years in the building trade, turned a hobby into a part-time career last year while completing his last big building job.

He set up Pro Ski Training in Soldeu, Andorra which runs an 11-week gap programme taking passable Irish skiers – one of his recent recruits was a building services manager of 20 years – to ski instructor level.

Candidates can sit the Canadian CSIA (Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance) or British BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) exams.

If they pass, they are qualified to work in a range of alpine nations where the pay for those starting out is usually about €15-€20 an hour. Fingleton says it’s not just young bucks who are interested in working as instructors in ski resorts. He’s seen “a lot of 40 to 50-year-olds” and quite a few couples.

Those who can’t commit to 11 weeks can do the programme in one- or two-week blocks before eventually sitting the exams.

Fingleton and his family have spent every winter for the last 10 years in Andorra where he notched up his ski instructor qualifications and is now is a candidate for CSIA level 4 trainer status qualification.

The gap programme costs about €3,650, excluding accommodation.

Not that he can rest on his laurels. Skiing only keeps him busy for half of the year. “I’ve had bits of building work but I’m racking my brain over what I’m going to do for the other half of the year,” he says.

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