Tourvest Accommodation and Activities has officially launched the Tourvest Field Guide Academy in the Makalali Private Game Reserve in Hoedspruit, Limpopo.

CEO of Tourvest Accommodation and Activities, Gary Elmes, recognised a shortage of trained and properly accredited guides and career development opportunities in the industry. “The tourism industry is always in need of great new talent and we can now address the need for employment while providing a springboard for these communities to flourish in the long-term,” he said.

After a selection process, 16 candidates were selected from the communities surrounding various Tourvest lodges throughout southern Africa. The year-long programme allows for candidates to obtain a National Qualification Framework Level 2 Accreditation and guarantees them employment for a minimum of two years.

The candidates are provided with board, lodging, uniforms and fully sponsored tuition, all covered by the Tourvest Group, and EcoTraining, in partnership with the Study Trust, has provided qualified instructors.

Two of the female recruits, Desiree Mashiane and Gomolemo Ratlhaa, told Tourism Update that they had completed tertiary education but unfortunately could not find employment in the fields they studied. “I have internships but unfortunately no permanent job. I was unemployed for two years before I came across the Tourvest Field Guide Academy and I know this will change my life,” said Mashiane.

One of the male recruits, Sihle Mathabela, comes from Hoedspruit and told Tourism Update he was grateful for this opportunity. “I’ve had a number of temporary jobs and after the programme is done, this will be the first permanent job I’ve had and a step towards a real career in something”

The Academy sets itself apart from other such institutions, with the programme including a six-month foreign languages course. This first group are currently learning German. Mandarin and Italian have been identified as additional languages following recent growth in tourism numbers from those markets.