AN OVERVIEW OF THE TRAINING WE OFFER
The Wildlife College plays a pivotal role in equipping a new generation of conservation managers with the necessary skills to deal with key challenges facing conservation today. Closely linked to this is the role that nature-based tourism is set to play in the socio-economic development of southern Africa and which in turn allows the College to expand its relevance and reach across borders, greatly impacting on the training of conservationists in Africa.
The training offered by the Southern African Wildlife College focuses on protected and area natural resource managers from Southern Africa who are either already in the service of conservation and environmental agencies as well as individuals starting their careers in the conservation field.
The College also aims to provide courses that will open career opportunities for existing personnel who do not have formal qualifications to become protected area natural resource managers. The necessary bridging skills will thus be provided so that these managers may return to their places of work equipped with the means to manage their areas efficiently and effectively.
The SAWC is a dynamic institution which strives to have a positive impact on conservation. As such, it aims ensure that its courses remain relevant to the needs of the conservation industry. It is geared to assist not only with the training of conservation managers and field staff in national, regional and private reserves but also in the training of managers required for broader Trans-Frontier Conservation Areas, which will further open and link Africa’s existing protected area network. It is imperative that managers of these areas are adequately trained for the task of custodianship of Africa’s dwindling, yet ever-important wildlife populations and other natural resources, and that a high priority is placed on doing so in co-operation with local communities. In recognition of the important role that local communities will play in the sustainable management of natural resources, the College is actively involved in capacity building at the community level.
In line with the College’s business plan, the SAWC is set to play a pivotal role in further helping to develop the widlife econom and improving the skills and knowledge needed for stainable development. The importance of training community members living in the buffer zones surrounding Parks on eco-tourism initiatives which will benefit them and better their standard of living cannot be underestimated. Dedicated to the empowerment, upliftment and capacity building of communities associated with the TFCAs, the SAWC aims to strengthen existing and emerging enterprises within the TFCAs in the SADC sub-region. In doing so, it will have a substantial impact on economic and unemployment issues through its involvement with learnerships and other training projects.
OUR APPROACH TO TRAINING
Without sustaining educational initiatives in conservation, there will be no way for Africa to sustain the natural heritage that makes it globally competitive.
At the Southern African Wildlife College we know that the most effective training combines action with reflection. The courses we offer are characterized by a hands-on, practical and highly participatory approach, which is complemented by group discussions and lecture sessions. This training perspective encourages mentors and students alike to embrace different ways of learning.
Unlike other training institutions, the College does not employ a large permanent staff, but contracts in relevant training expertise for short periods of time to present specific modules. The trainers are selected from a large pool of natural resource management expertise within southern African environmental and conservation agencies as well as from the private sector.
In contracting in practicing professionals with the relevant experience, we ensure that the training is as practical, relevant and as current as possible. The course methodology focuses on outcomes-based instruction, which ensures improved performance when learners implement these skills in the workplace.
Training interventions generally evolve around the diverse practical field experiences of both trainers and students. This allows students to apply knowledge to their workplace, thereby not only benefiting themselves but also their individual organisations and their local communities.
In recognition of the important role that local communities will play in the sustainable management of natural resources, the College is also actively involved in capacity building and enterprise development at community level.
(See the link to our Prospectus under the Training Programmes Tab where further details are provided on all the training programmes the College offers)
The College is accredited with the sector education and training authority, CATHSSETA (formerly known as THETA) and is a provisionally registered as a Private Provider of Higher Education AND Training (HET) with the Council for Higher Education (CHE) and with the Department of Education in South Africa as a provider of Further Education Training (FET).
The training programmes offered by the College cover the full spectrum of skills needed by field staff and managers of protected areas. The College presents two full qualifications accredited with the Department of Higher Education and registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). These include the Higher Certificate in Nature Conservation Implementation and Leadership (NQF 5) and the Advanced Certificate in Trans-frontier Conservation Management (NQF 6). Both these courses include a number of new modules that have been incorporated into the new qualifications as a direct result of the training needs analysis conducted across SADC.
National Certificates in Conservation at NQF Level 2 and 5 are also available as Learnerships through the College. These programmes are registered with the CATHSSETA, the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality & Sport Education and Training Authority and allow learners to achieve a qualification through a combination of training sessions and experiential learning in the workplace.
Short term training programmes include Skills Development Programmes for General Field Assistants and Field Rangers as well as short courses on a range of conservation and environmentally related topics.
In addition the Wildlife College has developed its scope of training to include tailor-made educational programmes for primary, secondary and tertiary education students (both locally and abroad) who wish to expand their knowledge and experience in the field of conservation. Linked to this is an international volunteer programme.
FURTHER TRAINING INITIATIVES
Whilst the core business of the SAWC has not changed, the College has - in line with its new business plan - been working with like-minded organisations and interested parties to raise awareness of the importance of training community members on eco-tourism initiatives which will benefit them and better their standard of living. Without community benefits in the form of development and capacity building, Parks will always remain primarily for the privileged few. The aim of this programme is to support SMME’s to improve quality and productivity by building their capacity for good workplace practices.
Currently the tourism value chain enterprises in the TFCAs, range from established enterprises providing services within the tourism industry to emerging enterprises that are still struggling to access markets; as well as dealing with a lack of capacity and skills from vocational/occupational to management level. The intended outcome of this training intervention is that these enterprises are given the support and capacity required to move from marginal to sustainable businesses.
Sustainable tourism businesses in the TFCAs and the development of the wildlife economy, results in the creation of jobs for people who had little prospect of employment before and thus, over time, will reduce the levels of poverty in these areas.
INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT
More recently the College has added to its portfolio of services, an Innovation and Development Unit aimed at developing best practice. Heading up this unit is Dr Alan Gardiner:
Innovation and Development Office
Tel: (015) 793 7300 / Fax: (015) 793 7314