EcoTraining, the leader in Africa’s safari and wildlife training, has made history by becoming the continent’s first guide training school to receive formal accreditation from the Council for Higher Education (CHE) in South Africa.
2023 is a significant year in EcoTraining’s history. We are celebrating 30 years of existence and received our accreditation from the Council on Higher Education (CHE), marking Africa’s first-ever CHE accreditation for nature guide training.
What does this CHE accreditation mean for the guiding industry?
This development is a significant step towards improving education and training for nature guides on the African continent. It will ensure that nature guides receive formal recognition for their skills and knowledge and will enhance the industry’s credibility.
The CHE accreditation means that the South African government recognises EcoTraining’s courses, and our programme meets the highest quality and relevance standards. It also means that the courses are equivalent to those offered by other higher education institutions in South Africa.
How does the CHE accreditation impact our students?
According to our Director, Alex van den Heever, “The accreditation is a culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and collaboration with industry stakeholders. It will give EcoTraining graduates a competitive edge in the job market and ensure that nature guides receive formal recognition for their skills and knowledge“.
EcoTraining also strongly emphasises sustainability and conservation, reflected in its curriculum. Our courses aim to instil a sense of responsibility and respect for the environment in its students.
The benefits of the CHE accreditation to our students:
- Quality assurance: Department of Higher Education accreditation assures students that their education meets specific quality standards. EcoTraining and its Higher Certificate in Guiding NQF5 programme have undergone a rigorous evaluation process that assesses factors such as faculty qualifications, curriculum design, and student outcomes.
- Quality education: EcoTraining offers a high education standard and a curriculum specifically designed for the ecotourism industry. Our unfenced wilderness training camps provide students with a personalised and immersive learning experience. Our experienced instructors are regarded as some of the best in the industry.
- Transferability of credits: Accredited programmes generally have greater acceptance of credits by other accredited institutions. This means that students who transfer between certified institutions are more likely to have their credits recognised and applied towards their diploma or degree.
- Employer recognition: Higher Education accreditation is increasingly becoming a requirement for employers when evaluating guide candidates. Graduating with EcoTraining’s NQF5 certificate demonstrates that a student has completed a rigorous and reputable education programme, which can enhance your employability.
- Eligibility for financial aid: Higher Education accreditation requires students to be eligible for financial assistance, funding schemes and student loans from commercial banks.
- International study visas: International students can apply for a study visa to attend EcoTraining, an accredited private higher education institution. The process for obtaining a study visa is similar for public and private higher education institutions.
- Networking opportunities: EcoTraining has strong ties with the ecotourism industry, including the top lodges such as Londolozi, Singita, Wilderness Safaris, and Sabi Sabi, and may provide students with opportunities to network with professionals in the guiding industry.
- Higher earning potential: Graduates from private higher education institutions in South Africa usually enjoy a higher earning potential.
Overall, EcoTraining’s accreditation provides students with confidence in the quality of their education and more significant opportunities for career advancement and financial support. For individuals who have a passion for nature and want to pursue a career as a nature guide, EcoTraining’s accredited courses provide an excellent opportunity to receive top-notch training and certification.
The CHE accreditation is a significant achievement for our company and a positive step for the nature guide industry in Africa.