The demands of the ever-popular activity holiday industry have led to a shortage of qualified watersports instructors, so UKSA has teamed up with the active-holiday specialist Neilson to deliver a part-funded Watersports Instructor Training Course. On graduation, Neilson will guarantee you a job on one of their beach resorts in Greece, Sardinia or Croatia.

Before coming to UKSA/Neilson Craig Walsh was a stock manager, working a 70-hour week setting up pop-up cocktail bars all over the UK. He had diverse experience and qualifications and was also studying part-time for a diploma in sports massage. Craig shares his story:

“I’d been on Neilson summer and winter holidays so I knew about the watersports programme but I wanted to wait for my son to finish school before I applied for anything. After he’d finished I kept seeing opportunities with Neilson come up on social media but thought my age would go against me (I’m 40). I was surprised to get an interview and was then offered a place at UKSA. I jumped at the chance to do something different and exciting.


The course was much more intense than I had expected but the instructors were brilliant at keeping me going and guiding me through. The group I trained with were fantastic and we stuck together and had a laugh which made the cold sea bearable! I met all sorts of great people – instructors, staff and those in my group and other groups – who I won’t lose touch with. I really feel that I’m finally doing something rather than just dreaming.


Now I’ve finished the course I’ll fly out to Lemnos at the beginning of May to start my new job. I’m excited and a bit nervous but taking the leap with UKSA has given me a purpose and renewed energy. I’ve always loved being on the water but I never thought I could use it to do coaching and get paid for it! After 2 years with Neilson, I hope I’ll be able to progress further with them and maybe train as a snowboard instructor for their winter season.


To find out more about our Watersports Instructor Training please visit