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    You have just left your family and friends behind, even potentially relocated to South Africa, to live and breathe the intensive six month training that Bushwise has to offer. Then you make it, you are now a fully qualified FGASA Level 1 Field Guide. It feels amazing the hard work paid off and then you realise you are about to start a six month placement…

    The trainers have spent all that time instilling in you valuable knowledge, the essence of what it is to be a guide and the ethics that will drive you to be the best guide that you can be. During this time they have told you time and time again how they are trying to set you up for the real world and you have nodded and agreed that you understand exactly what they are talking about…but let’s face it you don’t, not really. You have an idea of where you may like to go, some idea of what you want your career and future to look like but have faith in the placement that has been chosen for you. It has been carefully selected for your skill set, your needs and your hopes. But the rest is up to you…

    Experience is something that cannot be bought!

    First and foremost the most important and fundamental point to remember is that your placement gives you the necessary experience to compliment that qualification you earned. Take the time to figure out your strengths and weaknesses, learn from the people who are there to train you, chances are they have been doing this a while, they are there to help you and will have a wealth of knowledge and experience that you can learn from. It is not about the accommodation you have been given or the food that is provided, it is your attitude towards everything in its entirety that counts. If you are looking for an easy nine to five you are in the wrong industry (get out now).  As an entry level newly qualified guide you will be expected to go the extra mile, work those extra hours, offer to do those extra jobs even if you don’t believe that they fall under a “guide’s purview”. Don’t think of it this way, think of it as an opportunity to gain experience in every aspect of the industry from housekeeping, mechanics, lodge management etc. You spend months worrying about exams and exam results, but in the real world these scores become inconsequential because what truly matters is how your guests feel by the end of their stay. This should be the measure and standard that you should be working towards.

    Although not the be all and end all of a placement, there is never any guarantee that at the end of six months that there is a full time position available. You may have given everything that you have, shone more brightly than others yet there is still not a full time job available. However don’t dismay, do not to your own detriment give up, because remember your employer is still going to be giving you a reference as you apply for new endeavors. Your placement will give you the exposure that you need, it is your chance to network, this industry may seem big but its community is small and connected, what you do (or don’t do) in those six months can inform the rest of your career.

    More than meets the eye to placements

    Your placement is instrumental for your future, not just for references and experiences…ultimately it shows you what your own ethics are, helps you figure out the kind of guide you want to be and more importantly above all what kind of guide you are.

    Never stop learning,

    Trevor Myburgh