HOW TO QUALIFY
Read carefully! Do not be put off. It is not hard to qualify if you have the abilities but it is a step by step process. GASG is a professional qualification and not just a piece of paper; take it seriously. It is a big job to complete it but not a difficult one.
Read Legal Guide first
- Wilderness First Aid Level 3 . This involves a 4-5 day comprehensive course covering all body system, this must be updated every two years. We require a Casualty Evacuation (Casevac) certificate together with the first aid. AsAfrica runs Casevac as an add-on to our first aid courses.
- Logbookfor each type of specialty, say rafting or hiking of no less than 21 days of experience assisting as a guide on commercial adventure trips. That’s entry level. To get a wider scope you need 40 occasions or more.
- Technical skill certificate for each specialty. You are assessed for this in the field. This proves your personal competence in that specialty.
- Portfolio of Evidence ( POE) comprising about 29 documents proving your understanding of adventure tourism, from planning a trip and conducting it to dealing with emergencies and camping.
- Online quizzes to be completed about general SA knowledge and tourism. Study materials are provided.
- Tourism field assessment. Your abilities in communication, leadership, problem solving, planning, transport & logistics, dealing with incidents and emergencies, and general turnout and competence are assessed. (This assessment is sometimes done together with Step 3 above).
Certificates: Once you have been found competent, the Assessor issues your Interim Certificate. The documentation is submitted to Cathsseta (the official tourism education and training authority in SA) for their ratification. When you first enrol, Cathsseta logs your details and provides a learner number. At the end of the process your qualifications are entered in the national Cathsseta database.
AsAfrica is happy to advise you and provide background information about adventure tourism and job prospects. To get going with GASG you must enrol, and once you do so, set aside time to get the job done. The full enrolment fee must be paid (R2500 in 2022) to start with. Later fees such as those for assessments can be settled at the time (and will vary according to type).
HELP AND INSIGHT
An Assessor will be appointed for you who will write the Assessment Plan to be followed. Keep all emails. AsAfrica creates an online DropBox for all your documents and in due course these are forwarded to our school’s main assessment site. Apart from the Assessor we may also put you in touch with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for training, advice and evaluations (your main Assessor must be present for assessments).
It is a strict requirement for anyone entering adventure tour guiding to have plenty of field experience with guiding operations. AsAfrica puts you in touch with potential employers who are always happy to have assistants along on trails. Build up a logbook for each type of specialty, although camping may be regarded as generic for all.
AsAfrica runs courses in rafting, canoe touring, hiking and cycling/mountain biking. We can arrange other types of courses with Subject Matter Experts. Details are publicised on our Facebook site and sent out to those who inquire. Most courses are done our base near Parys in the Vredefort Dome Bergland and Vaal River. You will need to be assessed in the field for your personal competence. You do not have to attend a course if you already have the necessary skills. We do run short refresher courses to prepare candidates for assessment.
RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING (RPL)
AsAfrica qualifies candidates on the basis of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). This is necessary in the adventure field because you cannot be regarded as competent unless you have a track record and can prove your abilities.
AsAfrica provides both a log book for each specialty and a summary spreadsheet to list your experience going back three years. (Prior experience is relevant and can be listed separately). The logs must be signed by a supervisor or senior guide. Each specialty (such as abseiling or ziplining) requires its own logs.
PORTFOLIO OF EVIDENCE (POE)
The Portfolio of Evidence (POE) that you prepare is needed to prove your experience, by providing various testimonials and other documents. This is self-paced work in which you are responsible assemble all your evidence together. The POE has 29 points of evidence including references & testimonials. It falls into four sections: planning, conducting, emergencies and camping (optional for some disciplines). However, we have templates for every document to help you along.
ADVENTURE TRIP PLAN (ATP)
The biggest job in the POE is the preparation of the Adventure Trip Plan. This is a detailed outline of a particular adventure trip, trail or activity. It includes all aspects of planning and running the event, from route planning and maps, marketing and customer information to risk assessments, environmental care, emergency procedures, costing, and all necessary forms.
It should take between 3 and 6 months to qualify the first time under GASG. The record with us is three weeks. You are allowed two years but should not let the time pass. Self-discipline is vital, while we assist you with advice and support. You do not have to wait to first obtain your technical skill certificate before starting the POE: you may proceed.
Many candidates struggle to complete the POE including the ATP on their own. We run a 3-day workshop, optional to attend, often including field assessment, to complete the steps quickly. There will still be loose ends to tie up but at least you will know what you are doing.
Based on your experience, abilities, and knowledge of particular trails or activities, you are awarded a “scope” that says where and at what level you may work. This can be raised later in line with your experience.
RIGHT OF APPEAL
During assessment you are given several chances if your first attempt is not successful. The method is transparent: you will know what is to be done on the basis of a checklist. You are judged either Competent C or Not Yet Competent NYC (which means you can return later to be re-assessed). If you are not happy with the outcome or any part of the process you may appeal through the Assessor to our school.
When you add further GASG certificates with other skills (eg starting with rafting, you go on to hiking) it is called Extension of Scope. Once you have qualified with your first GASG, other specialties can be added and the process will go much quicker. You need not repeat the POE or online quizzes. All that is needed is current Wilderness First Aid, an Adventure Trip Plan, Logbook for the new skill, and field assessment.
TOUR GUIDE REGISTRATION
On receipt of your Cathsseta certificate you must register with one of the provincial tourism authorities like Gatour or KZN or WCape to get your badge and card. These must be carried with you when conducting a tour. You are only a legal guide when you have the badge and card. Until then you should not lead activities.
Be patient with yourself and the process. Because the SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA) has devolved training and certification to service providers like us, everything must be done by the book, exactly as spelt out in procedures. This makes the process bureaucratic. AsAfrica ensures that every box is ticked, and helps you to achieve this.
WHAT YOU NEED
You cannot manage GASG on a smartphone, you must have access to a computer where files are stored. You must have your own personal email address. To communicate with AsAfrica we require you to have a smartphone and use WhatsApp. You need a private place to work and store you materials. You will need transport to attend field assessments and the optional workshops.
FEES AND COSTS
A schedule of fees is provided on request. These may change without notice but we try to stick to them. You do not need to pay for everything all at once. To start with there is the enrolment which also covers our templates and administration of the process. Field assessments and workshops are separate fees items. Accommodation and travel are to your own account.
Every specialty requires personal kit of some kind. For final assessment you are required to have your own kit. (This would not, say, include operator-supplied climbing ropes or river rafts). You will be issued with a list. Included will be a personal medical kit; smartphone and charger/battery pack; appropriate clothing and kitbag; and ID or passport.
- Read the documents we send you and ask any questions. Pricing and details of enrolment are there.
- Enrol and receive the primary learning materials and DropBox link.
- Set yourself up with access to a computer and personal working space where you are not disturbed. You will need email, a smartphone and WhatsApp.
- Go through your DropBox land read the folders to familiarise yourself with what is to be done.
- Obtain verified copies of your ID or passport (foreign nationals), as well as your highest educational certificate. Place in DropBox Personal docs, along with your CV and a colour head and shoulders photo (no hat).
- Compile your Logsheet and get it signed. The Logbook should be used from now on to keep records of further experience.
- Obtain Wilderness First Aid and Casevac (we advertise courses)
- Decide if you need to attend any course/s and the fast-track workshop
- Set target dates for the technical skills assessment, completion of POE, and final assessment outcome.
GO FOR IT!
All of this training and paperwork, along with the logged experience, is actually very worthwhile and you will learn a lot – even if you thought you knew it all. Adventure is Learning! Is our slogan. GASG will take you to a new understanding of yourself and your world. There is no other route to legal status.
PROF GRAEME ADDISON
Director: Adventure Standards Africa
CATHSSETA REGISTERED ADVENTURE FACILITATOR AND ASSESSOR.
Assessor registration number: 613/A/002876/2013.
SUBJECT MATTER EXPERT – RAFTING, HIKING, MOUNTAIN BIKING
PO Box 289 PARYS 9585 South Africa
Mobile: +27 84 245 2490