WHAT DO I NEED TO BEGIN MY TRAILS GUIDE JOURNEY
You need to have achieved the Apprentice Field Guide NQF2 qualification as a self study guide or be on course with a FGASA endorsed training program with a Training Provider. Comply to all legal requirements (CATHSSETA) as well as all FGASA membership requirements.
You also need to have the done following:
- First Aid Level 1 Certificate, currently valid
- The FGASA Trails Guide theory exam
- The FGASA Advanced Rifle Handling
- Tracker qualification (this can be achieved during the apprentice program)
WHAT IS THE APPRENTICE TRAILS GUIDE PROGRAM ?
The Apprentice Trails Guide program is the FGASA program for walking guides that takes you through a mentored walking training program to assessment stage.
WHAT IS AN APPRENTICE TRAILS GUIDE ?
The FGASA Apprentice Trails Guide is an individual who is in training (in an apprentice program) to become a Trails Guide and will learn how to function as 2nd Rifle and later as 1st Rifle during the training phase. The apprentice program is a steppingstone in the process for a guide to attain a FGASA Trails Guide Qualification. The Apprentice Trails Guide is not qualified to conduct trails or walks in areas where dangerous game occurs without a FGASA Professional Trails Guide, or SKS (DG) Guide present until such time as the Apprentice Trails Guide has completed the program and has been awarded the NQF2 VPDA skills program and registration with NDT.
WHO DO I WALK WITH AS AN APPRENTICE TRAILS GUIDE ?
You walk with a FGASA endorsed Mentor (see the list of endorsed FGASA Trail Guide Mentors under Resources on the FGASA website).
WHAT IS A FGASA TRAILS GUIDE MENTOR
A FGASA Trails Guide Mentor is appointed by FGASA to mentor walking guides. Mentors are up to date with all FGASA requirements and have successfully attended and undergone mentorship training. Mentors have the following qualifications : SKS DG or Professional Trails Guide (with 3 years workplace experience), current ARH, Tracker 2
HOW MANY HOURS DO I NEED TO LOG IN THE APPRENTICE TRAILS GUIDE PROGRAM?
You need to log a total of 200 hours.
WHAT HOURS DO I LOG FIRST ?
Phase 1 : 50 hours as an observer
- 50 hours as an observer participating in walking trails, logged in your logbook
WHAT DO I DO AFTER MY 50 OBSERVER HOURS ?
- To continue into the Apprentice Trails guide Program, you need to undergo 10 mentored hours with a Mentor
- Set up and arrange a mentor feedback and coaching session with a recognised FGASA mentor (see FGASA website list of Mentors under the Resources tab)
- Attend this session with your mentor
- Ensure that your mentor has submitted your 10-hour assessment to FGASA and that this is signed in your logbook
WHEN DO I START THE TRAILS GUIDE APPRENTICE PROGRAM ?
Your journey into the program as an Apprentice starts after the first Mentor sign off. You start logging additional walking hours ! You must walk with a FGASA endorsed Mentor. Our Mentors are highly experienced and qualified to coach and mentor all apprentice trails guides through this process.
Phase 2 : 100 hours
- 50 hours on trail as 2nd Rifle led by the Mentor
- 50 hours as 1st Rifle with the Mentor as 2nd Rifle
- Log a minimum of 40 encounters with at least one encounter from each of the animal categories during the minimum of 100 hours as 2nd Rifle or 1st Rifle on trails. Log 20 as 2nd Rifle and 20 as 1st Rifle
Must I do 50 hours as a 2nd Rifle first and then 50 as 1st Rifle ?
No, these are fluid hours interchangeable between walking as 2nd Rifle or walking as 1st Rifle. The mentor will also advise and play a role in the sequencing.
Phase 2 : 50 hours
- 50 hours in the workplace . These hours must be during guiding based activities with regular walking guests at the lodge/reserve on the walk/trail. These walks may not be in a training context
- A minimum of 10 encounters from at least three of the animal categories as 1st Rifle on trails with an approved FGASA Mentor
WHO CAN SIGN OFF MY HOURS
- A Professional Trails Guide
- A FGASA Trails Guide Mentor
HOW DO I KNOW THAT MY MENTOR IS APPROVED BY FGASA ?
Trails Guide Mentors have a certificate to prove that they are an approved FGASA mentor, so insist on this. They are also listed on the FGASA website or you can call the office to check.
WHAT DO I DO WHEN I DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO A MENTOR?
Please contact the FGASA office so that we can assist you in this regard. We understand there may be challenges in certain areas and FGASA has a solution to assist in these instances.
WHEN CAN I BE ASSESSED ?
Phase 3: Assessment
You can be assessed after completing the 200 hours (50 observer, 100 as first and second Rifles, 50 hours with guests in the workplace. Get your logbook checked and signed off.
HOW LONG IS MY ASSESSMENT AND WHO CAN ASSESS ME ?
An endorsed FGASA Trails Guide Assessor can do your assessment over a 2 -3 day period.
There is only ONE assessment in this program. This happens at the end when you have completed the required 200 hours.
MUST I LOG MY HOURS IN MY LOGBOOK BEFORE MY ASSESSMENT?
Yes, this is a requirement. Only the FGASA logbook is accepted and it must be completed correctly and signed off prior to your final practical assessment.
WHAT IS MY STATUS AFTER I HAVE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED MY ASSESSMENT ?
You are an Apprentice Trails Guide, legal to walk. You retain apprentice status because you have NQF2 Apprentice Guide qualification. If you are already an NQF4 Field Guide , then your status is Trails Guide.
WHEN AM I LEGAL TO WALK AS 1st RIFLE ?
You are legal to walk when you have successfully completed the FGASA VDPA assessment and have been declared as competent.
WHEN DO I OBTAIN MY TRAILS GUIDE STATUS ?
You obtain Trails Guide status if you are already qualified as a Field Guide NQF4 or Professional Field Guide. If you only have Apprentice Field Guide NQF2, you must work towards Field Guide NQF4 which you can do whilst logging hours as an Apprentice Trails Guide.
“BACK UPS” AND TRAILS GUIDES PRE-2019
There are several guides who were working towards their Trails Guide qualifications pre 2019. If you are ones of these guides, please contact us if you are unsure of what needs to be done. Here are some answers to questions relating to the walking protocols prior to the current implementation phase.
Is my Trails Guide qualification still valid if I only have Apprentice Field Guide NQF2?
Yes, all Trails Guides who qualified prior to 2019, are valid and retain their status. Please make sure you check your profile and certificate.
In the new Trails Guide program, the guide must hold the Field Guide NQF4 qualification by the end of the Apprentice Trails program to achieve the Trails Guide status. We encourage you all to improve your qualification from NQF2 to NQF4, but this will not affect your current FGASA Trails Guide status.
I have the old “back up” status. Do my hours count ?
Your hours done as a “back up” do count and we will assist you with the way forward so that you can complete your qualification. If your Dangerous Game Logbook was already signed off by FGASA offices for back-up, prior to 2019, then the 50 hours back-up signed off then, will count towards the 2nd Rifle hours.
Does the old “back up” still exist ?
No, a back-up trails guide does not exist nor does FGASA issue a certificate. As an Apprentice, you walk and log hours towards becoming the 1st Rifle.
Who can sign me off during this transition period of implementation 2019-2021 ?
If you are unsure, double check your logbook sign off first, by contacting the FGASA office to make sure the signatory can sign off your logbook.
- A FGASA Trails Guide who has NQF4 and is working towards Professional Trails Guide
- A FGASA Trails Guide with Professional Field Guide working towards Professional Trails Guide
- A FGASA Trails Guide Mentor
What happens after December 2021 ?
After 2021, the transition implementation phase comes to an end. From 2022, all walking guides need to walk with a Trails Guide Mentor.
All FGASA Trails Guides, Mentors and Trails Assessors have put in a lot of hard work, time and effort to obtain the FGASA qualifications and accredited status’ and we expect all Apprentice Trails Guides to respect our colleagues and the FGASA process. Enjoy this journey with us and we wish you all the best of luck !
Please contact the FGASA office should you have any more questions about the Trails Guide qualification process and thank you for the support in this regard.