STEPS TOWARDS QUALIFYING
Frequently Asked Questions
The Generic Adventure Suite Guide skills programme (GASG) is a professional qualification that sets you up for a career in outdoor leadership. Below is an outline of the qualification process. Do not be put off by the detail: we lead you through the process, taking it step by step.
What does AsAfrica do for you?
In the process of completing your GASG, your Assessor is a friend and advisor. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, best by contacting the Director, Prof Graeme Addison, at +27 84 245 2490 on WhatsApp. We provide you with templates that make completing the documentation much easier. We also arrange the field assessments at mutually convenient times and places. We keep you informed of events, job opportunities and special training trips. After you’ve qualified stay in touch to help you further your goals.
How do I make a career of adventure?
There are other pages on this site that explain your career options. But as far as qualifications go, once you have your first GASG certificate it is much easier – and much less work – to add other specialities. Say you get hiking as your first. You could then go ahead to add anything from abseiling to ziplining. This is explained below.
Read our ADVENTURE CAREER prospectus here.
What is the legal status of this programme?
It is recognised by the tourism & hospitality sector education and training authority (CATHSSETA), so once you are qualified you have the status of a legal adventure tour guide. The educational level is NQF 4 (basically matric level).
Inform yourself by reading the ADVENTURE CAREER prospectus here. There is no way to avoid GASG if you intend to be a legal adventure guide: it’s the law! If you work illegally as a guide both you and your employer can be fined or imprisoned. Note that our prices may change without notice.
How does the GASG process work?
First you need to be enrolled. We send the digital form to complete. A down payment is needed to start the programme. Not all fees need to be paid (it depends on what you choose to do, and you don’t need to pay everything upfront).
Must I submit anything?
Yes. When you enrol we need copies of your
- ID and
- highest educational level,
- both verified and signed by a Commissioner of Oaths (normally the police). The signature must be within the past two weeks.
- If you have a currently valid First Aid Certificate we need to see it.
- And we need your head & shoulders passport photo (in colour, no hat or glasses).
- All of these items can be emailed to us but we will also need the ID and Education posted by mail.
Once enrolled, what happens then?
We contact Cathsseta, the tourism authority, to get a student number for you. You are then in the system. We at Adventure Standards Africa maintain a database of your progress. At any time, you can ask for an update of where you stand. We are affiliated to the accredited training provider the programme (the Adventure Qualifications Network, AQN) they register you their campus website.
Must I do a course?
No. You could choose to join a course if you need the basic training. and we do run courses. But we qualify candidates according to Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) so if you have sufficient experience and don’t need training you can submit for assessment.
To get started, or help you along the way, we run regular workshops. These coach you in how to prepare for assessment and how to get all your documentation together. Many candidates are confused but we explain the process to you and take you through it over it in class. Go here for details.
How long will it take to qualify?
It all depends on you. Usually, for individual candidates, the GASG programme is self-paced, which means you set your own targets and schedule. It will normally take a person with background knowledge of adventure tour guiding from 6 to 9 months to complete the process.
Can we work with others?
Yes. We conduct Facilitated Assessment Workshops (FAWs) for groups. These events involve classes and field activities in which your team members work together under our supervision to complete all the necessary tasks.
How hard is it to qualify?
If you apply yourself and go step by step, completing all the tasks as set out, it is not difficult. Most of all, you must pay attention to detail and be patient as the process unfolds. The process is quite exacting because the SA Qualifications Authority has devolved responsibility onto independent service providers. This means there is a lot of dotting of i’s and crossing of T’s to make sure everything is done correctly.
What are the main elements of the GASG programme?
When you enrol, you will do so for
- a speciality such as hiking, rafting, abseiling or ziplining. (There are dozens of specialities).
- For each speciality you need to obtain a technical certificate of competence.
- And you compile a logbook of the activity where you have assisted as a guide.
- You must obtain a wilderness first aid certificate to pass our assessment
- Once you are confident of your skills, you submit for assessment in the field. That will certify you as personally competent in the speciality.
Each speciality requires a field assessment and a logbook (first aid is generic to all). This is to ensure that you are personally competent in the skills of whatever specalities you choose to master. The assessment usually takes the form of a day or two in the outdoors during which you are assessed for your abilities, knowledge and especially safety awareness and emergency handling. If you pass you get the technical certificate which must be submitted when you go forward to complete the GASG programme.
The full programme equips you professionally to be a top-class, legal guide. The technical certificate is not yet a ticket to guide. For that you must complete the second part of the qualification which focuses on tourism skills. Your skills of leadership, communication, organisationation and management are assessed in the context of your speciality. This is mainly paperwork but it also involves a field assessment of your ability to plan, run, manage safety & emergencies and (optional) camp out with clients.
Finally there are online quizzes testing your knowledge about South Africa and adventure guiding. Once you’ve passed those and hold your technical certificate and current first aid, your Assessor (one of us at AsAfrica) can recommend that you be qualified as an adventure tour guide. The Moderator at AQN will decide, on the basis of documentation submitted, whether to accredit you.
What happens then?
You get an interim certificate from AQN. Meantime AQN submits your records to Cathsseta where a Verifier checks that everything is in order. Cathsseta will then issue your guiding certificate.
Badge and card
You apply to the Registrar of Tourist Guides in your province to receive a Badge and Card proving your legal status. The Registrar will get you to sign a Code of Conduct for tour guides and charge you R240 (at 2020 rates). Your registration must be renewed every two years by reapplying with your original certificate.
Guides may be stopped for an inspection at any time and those without the badge and card can be fined and/or the operation suspended.
It isn’t complicated, it’s a stepby step process from start to finish. We at AsAfrica keep you on track. We are accessible at all times via WhatsApp and email, to answer questions and help you through the steps.
Can I add specialities after the first one?
Most certainly. The system is designed to help you towards an Adventure Career with several specialities which may be seasonal (like rafting) or year-round like horseriding. To add a speciality you don’t need to repeat a lot of the initial documentation. You only need to have a new logbook for each speciality, and to write up an Adventure Trip Plan for that speciality. First Aid must be renewed every two years.
Is there anything else I should know?
Only that the system operates by checklists. Every box must be ticked. There are no short cuts. So long as you understand that you should sail through. With this certificate, you are recognised as a true guiding professional.