By: Kathy Drummond
Last week SAAMBR welcomed their first group of outside students to the Marine Site Guide Skills Program. Previously, this training was only available to SAAMBR staff and volunteers.
SAAMBR is accredited with CATHSSETA (Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports SETA) to train site guides and is well positioned to teach marine based tourism. Not only do we have experienced facilitators on our staff but our aquarium provides an ideal platform for students to learn valuable lessons in marine conservation.
The program, aimed at providing students with the necessary skills required to become successful and enthusiastic marine tour guides, is divided into two components. The theoretical training is completed at uShaka Sea World and the practical training is completed at the students’ workplace.
Training takes place over six months. Subjects include different coastal ecosystems such as estuaries, mangroves and rocky shores, the identification of common coastal indigenous plants, marine reef fish, coastal birds and mammals; as well as the history of Durban and the harbour.
While completing the workplace experience, the students are supported by workplace mentors as well as SAAMBR facilitators. Once they have completed this Skills Programme they will be well positioned to study further as tour guides.