Feature photo by: Benno Klinck
BY: Kim van Greunen, Bushwise Sales Manager
Before we go into the details it is important to ask yourself why you are doing a field guiding course in the first place.
- For the experience
- For a gap year
- For a future career
- For fun?
Depending on your answer, this will determine what course is best for you.
For career-driven motivations, the long term, comprehensive course will be your best option for the following reasons:
- More practical experience and training
- More inclusions like sleep outs and trips to other game reserves which is beneficial
- Additional skills like basic vehicle mechanics, camp management and bush walks
- Additional qualifications like birding specialist, tracking and hospitality training
- The inclusion of a work placement gives you an opportunity to gain working experience
These aspects will make you an overall better-qualified guide with more skills and qualifications. This, in turn, will make you more marketable and employable as an Apprentice Field Guide at entry-level.
Important tips for international students
The work placement is very important for international students as this gives them a foot in the door, a chance to gain working experience and an opportunity to impress potential employers. As a foreigner, this will help because job guarantees are very difficult.
On a shorter course, you would attend on a tourist visa. On the Bushwise professional field guide 23 or 50-week course you would attend on a study visa. With a study visa, it also allows international students to apply for a South African driver’s license and then later get their public drivers permit. Without this, you cannot do a guiding work placement, register as a field guide or try to look for work as a field guide who takes paying guests on safari.
Other factors to consider
It is important to know your budget, investigate what additions are included and what you hope to gain. There are indeed shorter field guide courses available and their prices reflect what is offered so they need to be compared.
Take the cost of a course and divide that by the number of days or the duration of the course to see the daily rate. This way you can compare the daily rate. A short course may ‘look’ cheaper’ but they offer less and are in fact more expensive when working out the daily rate.
- Check carefully to see what you gain after each course in order to get a good idea of how qualified and experienced you will be afterward how many certifications/qualifications you could gain.
- Find out who the trainers are and what qualifications and experience they bring to the table.
- Get direct feedback from students who have done the course
- Do a training course in the area you hope to work in
- Employers are looking into what certificates you have gained so that they do not need to do additional training with you on tracking or 4×4 driving skills etc.
- Employers want to see if you have any working experience. Doing a short course will not provide you with any work experience and graduates have struggled to find employment based on this
What sets Bushwise apart from others
- We are the most comprehensive course available with NO HIDDEN costs
- We have the best value for money based on what we offer.
- We guarantee six-month guiding placement too ALL students between 21 – 39 years old
- We offer a free recruitment service to our alumni after the course and throughout their guiding careers
- Students @ heart is our motto. Your success is our success
The time is now to start this gratifying and fulfilling career as a field guide and live a quality of life most can only dream about.