A new outdoor education programme, starting at EIT next semester, will give environmentally inclined thrill seekers the opportunity to learn how to guide people safely in outdoor pursuits like kayaking, rafting, mountain biking and tramping.
The NZ Certificate in Outdoor and Adventure Education (Multi-skilled) [Level 4] is a full-time, free one-year programme that equips students with the knowledge and skills to enter the outdoor adventure, recreation and tourism industries.
Starting on 19 July 2021, it complements EIT’s existing 14-week Level 3 Outdoor Experiences programme that has run this semester and will begin again in Semester 2.
EIT’s Outdoor and Adventure Education Tutor Davey Forbes says the new Level 4 programme, which is worth 120 credits, will teach students rock climbing, abseiling, mountain biking, rafting, white water kayaking, sea kayaking, bush survival skills and navigating in a land environment.
The programme has three major parts to it. The first, Hautūtanga, is leadership in an outdoor context. The second component, Te Taio, looks at environmental science and sustainable practices.
“We’re trying to integrate it with existing community-based projects by liaising with local iwi, Department of Conservation and also EIT’s environmental science programmes. For example, each student may be given 60 metres of wetland and have to investigate how they can make that wetland healthier, before going out and actually doing it.”
The third strand is Kaitiakitanga, which incorporates Hauora (the student developing themself as a human being) in an outdoor context.
“It expands the programme beyond just learning how to become a rafting or kayaking guide or something in adventure tourism, as it can also lead into another pathway or strand of employment in the environmental sector.”
Davey says the aim of this programme is to enable students to gain knowledge, skills and experience in the outdoor and adventure industry, “but can also lead on to so much more, such as employment in the Department of Conservation, NZ Defence Force, Ministry Primary Industries, and NZ Customs.”
The programme was designed after a gap in the tourism industry market was identified.
COVID-19 and the closure of New Zealand’s borders means the industry does not have its normal quota of overseas guides. This creates opportunities for new entrants into the market.
“It is only a matter of time before Hawke’s Bay is fully recognised for its adventure tourism, which will be perfect for the students completing this programme,” says Davey.
He says that the Level 3 programme currently underway is designed as an entrée to outdoor education.
For 17-year-old Louis Grut and 41-year-old Janene Hole, the Level 3 Outdoor Experiences programme has left them wanting more, which is why they have both signed up for the Level 4 programme beginning next Semester.
Louis says the way the Level 3 course was set up, and how Davey taught it, has inspired him to continue with the Level 4 programme.
“It goes hand in hand with where I want to end up and it’s going to help me achieve my goals,” he said.
For Janene, the programme signalled a long-awaited and much-needed step in her life to create the future she wants to have.
The former early childhood educator quit her job of more than 11 years and hopes to pursue a career in environmental management or work with kids in education outside the classroom.
While she is a Master in Marine Search and Rescue through volunteering with the Coastguard, as well as having a certificate in childhood education, this is the first time she has been a fulltime student.
“To me, the environment and education are two things that I would really like to fit together, and I feel like this gives me that confidence to be getting out into the environment and knowing that I have got the skills to keep myself safe out there.”
She managed to entice her 19-year-old daughter Gabrielle Howe into enrolling in the Level 3 programme as well.