Outdoor instructor life: Working Winters in the UAE (Winter Sun)
Working in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) is a great option for any instructor looking to find that year-long sun.
With the best part of the UK summer ending in September, it’s a good idea to plan your winter work early; a ski season or winter sun?
Working in the UAE is an awesome opportunity to keep progressing your instructing skills through the winter but still be in the sun.
To find out more about winter seasons in the UAE I spoke to Joe, Kerryn, Katie and Tom who've all worked multiple summer seasons at Land & Wave.
Having all enjoyed seasons in the UAE, they gave me the low down and the photos, of their experience out there.
Here are six things to think about before you head out to the UAE for a winter season.
1. Why choose a Winter Season in the UAE?
On average the UAE receives 5 days of rainfall during the winter and the temperature sits around 25C.
Most people choose a season in the UAE due to the lack of options for outdoor winter work in the UK and the UAE offers very appealing weather and beautiful landscape.
The UAE is a very easy part of the world to access with a flight time of only 6hrs and 45 minutes.
Filled with amazing experiences and endless adventures, the UAE's diverse culture is bound to give you lots of incredible experiences.
The UAE offers very similar activities to the UK, including; rock climbing, paddle boarding, kayaking, DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) and windsurfing. The only difference? It's always warm.
"Working in the UAE allowed me to continue to develop as an instructor and learn new skills. I was also really keen to go travelling somewhere new and exciting, where the weather is always warm" - Katie Tillman
2. When to apply and where to look
The best time to apply for winter jobs in the UAE is July and August. Their winter season starts a bit earlier, around October, so you may need to give your summer job notice.
Most centres in the UAE are looking for UK qualifications in one of the following:
- RCI (Rock Climbing Instructor) / Climbing wall instructor or equivalent
- British Canoeing Paddle sport Instructor or equivalent
- Summer Mountain Leader or equivalent
- RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Start Windsurf Instructor or Equivalent
- Archery GB Instructor Award
The more of these qualifications you hold, the more money you’ll usually earn.
There are also lots of opportunities for field study roles in the outdoor centres too.
“I applied around August time and then worked for the same company the following two years.” - Kerryn Wyatt
3. Interview process
Typically UAE adventure companies do not have UK headquarters, so, your interview will most probably be held over the phone or via Zoom.
Demonstrating your skill as an instructor over Zoom can be pretty difficult but showing off your communication skills will be easy.
If you’re able to show them your love for the outdoors and excitement for a new adventure, then you are off to a good start.
Remember, just be you, if someone's working in the outdoor industry it’s because they love adventure. Showing that you love adventure too and are always ready for new experiences, will put you in good stead for any outdoor job interview.
“My interviews were phone calls, others had zoom calls, it felt weird not seeing the person face to face, crazy how that has now become the norm!” - Joe Braidley
4. Job Roles
The majority of instructing jobs in the UAE are very similar to instructing roles in the UK. Multi-activity instructors are expected to work 5 days a week with 2 days off.
Most companies also offer you the use of their vehicles on your days off so you can head out exploring.
Field Instructor roles are a little different. With the correct degrees (Biology, Geography, Ecology, Marine Biology etc) you have the possibility to deliver Outdoor Environmental Tours and teach your groups about the local area.
The best thing about these jobs are the days off, you’ll be able to head off and explore the incredible landscape and see something new every time.
“The outdoor industry took me to a country where I wouldn't normally think to go, it lead me to some amazing people and experiences” - Tom Buck
5. How much does it cost? How much will you make?
A winter season in the UAE should cost you very little.
“It didn't cost me a penny, my company completely paid for my first season and that was transport, accommodation and food!” - Joe Braidley
Pay varies on experience and qualifications but you'll generally earn between 4000-9000DHS which is around £1000-£2000 per month.
The important thing to remember is that everything is super cheap in the UAE and tax free, so saving is very easy.
The only thing you’ll probably need to invest in before you head out is some sun cream!
6. Is a Winter season in the UAE for you?
Joe, who’s currently on his 2nd season in the UAE, sums it up perfectly;
“I do love it out here and if you like the outdoors and the heat, then it's perfect. Lots to do, so many amazing experiences and such diverse cultures from all over the world”
If spending 6-7 months in 25C sounds too hot for you, then check out our blog - Outdoor instructor life: Working Ski Seasons for an alternative winter season.
However, if working in a different country, exploring hidden cities, earning tax-free and getting a year-round tan sounds like your cup of tea, then a season in the UAE is 100% for you.
If you're looking for a way to gain the outdoor qualifications to work a winter season in the UAE, you should check out our 15 week instructor training course, based here in Dorset from November 2021 - February 2022.
It gives you the opportunity to gain up to 16 outdoor qualifications that will open up your career into the outdoor industry and provide you with all the experience you’ll need to get your first job in the outdoors.
And then, there is always next winter to head out to the UAE.
Find out more about our Outdoor Instructor Training course here.
Thank you Tom, Katie Kerryn and Joe for your photos. Check out their Instagram handles below:
Tom - @mk4_buck
Katie - @tillmankatie
Kerryn - @kerrynwyatt
Joe - @jkb_adventures