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Volunteer Guide Training Program Update

The Bibbulmun Track Foundation (BTF) maintains a pool of 20+ volunteer guides who lead bushwalks on the Bibbulmun Track as part of our events program. The program aims to promote the Track as accessible to the broadest range of the population as well as educate and encourage community participation.

In 2009 the BTF overhauled its in-house Guide Training Program. The scope of the project was to design a training program which adhered to the then Adventure Activity Standards (AAS) and aligned itself to the Industry Training Package (SRO03 – Outdoor Recreation Industry Training Package). The scope also recognised that the program would be tailored to the BTF for its volunteers and implemented as an in-house only program.

The program includes the use of several training and assessment tools including a comprehensive manual, checklists, online assessments, videos, scenarios in-the-field mentoring walks, and training and assessment exercises.

The current training program has served the BTF, its volunteer guides and thousands of participants well since 2009 and has been incrementally updated as required.

Recently there have been:

  • updates to the AAS (now the Australian Adventure Activity Standards – AAAS),
  • the introduction of the Good Practice Guides (GPGs) and
  • considerable changes to the industry training package (SIS – Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package) released in 2019.

Outdoors WA identified that many non-profit bushwalking organisations are each running their own version of guide training and with limited resources. Consequently, training may not be fully compliant with the AAAS and the industry training package.

In 2021, the BTF successfully applied for a Hiking Participation Grant from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC).

As part of the project, the BTF

  • updated its current Guide Training Program to incorporate the recent changes to industry standards,
  • develop new and/or improve training and assessment tools where required,
  • develop a template of the program so that it is easily transferable to other bushwalking organisations,
  • develop and deliver a comprehensive workshop to ‘train the trainer’, sharing the BTF’s Guide Training Program enabling organisations to familiarise themselves with the program and proceed to train their own guides.

One of the project aims was to reduce the workload and cost for organisations that is required to develop such a program under the AAAS. The project was made available to WA based organisations that lead bushwalks in WA. While the BTFs Guide Training program is primarily set up for volunteer guides, the project was made available to the sector including WA commercial operators.

The intensive two-day workshop was held in January 2022 to train organisational representatives on how to develop a training program based on the Cert III in Outdoor Leadership and the AAAS. The workshop instructed participants on how to:

  • use and adapt templates of the mapping matrices (the basis of the BTF’s Guide Training Program) to their organisational needs
  • develop relevant training and assessment tools
  • be compliant the the AAAS, the Core GPG, the Bushwalking GPG and the Camping GPG.

Participants in the workshop were from a range of areas within the industry including bushwalking clubs, community based non-profit organisations, outdoor youth groups and commercial tour operators.

The workshop, and the included resources, provided organisations with a template program to train their volunteer guides to the standard set by the Industry Training Package and the AAAS, ie the to the same level as a professional bushwalking guide.

Feedback from participants in the workshop was overwhelmingly positive and acknowledged the tremendous effort by the Bibbulmun Track Foundation in developing the project.

For more information on the AAAS and the GPGs, visit https://australianaas.org.au/

For more information on the SIS – Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package and the Cert III in Outdoor Leadership, visit https://training.gov.au/training/details/sis

We wish to acknowledge the support of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in making this project possible.