Training Notes [49]

By Andrew Eddy, ACI Advanced Sea Instructor

Start of a New Era

The NSWSKC currently has a Memorandum of Understanding with Australian Canoeing, in order to allow us to offer Sea Proficiency Examination to members. This MOU comes to an end on 30 June.

In the calendar you will see that the last two Sea Proficiency Examination days will be held during June.

ACI’s new award system, a nationally recognised tertiary education system, comes into full effect for all clubs on 01 July. The actual skills and knowledge for Sea Skills and Sea Rescue are not substantially different from Sea Proficiency, but the assessment methods and instructor training are very different.

Under the new system, Sea Proficiency will be replaced by Sea Skills 2 and Sea Rescue 2. This will become the new standard for the NSWSKC paddler grading system’s ‘Grade 3’. Members who already hold a Sea Proficiency Award will not need to upgrade, as the old and new awards are deemed equivalent.

The complete competency standards for all of the new ACI system are available from the Australian National Training Authority’s web site, under the Outdoor Recreation Industry’s Training Packages. Ask your Assessor for details after 01 July.

The Club has yet to form an alliance with a Registered Training Organisation, for the purpose of documenting assessments. We aim to formalise such a relationship with the state body, NSW Canoeing, when they have achieved RTO status. In the mean time, we are investigating other possibilities, so that we can continue to offer assessments immediately the new system starts.

Costs of The New System

Since the new ACI Awards are part of the Australia-wide Vocational Education and Training system, there are substantial changes to costs.

At the Club Executive meeting at Callala Beach in March, the Committee voted that the Club would cease to pay for members’ Sea Proficiency certificates, from 01 July. The costs of certification under the new scheme are, as yet, unknown, but because of the extra layers of responsibility in documentation, costs will probably be higher than in the past. Members will have to cover these costs for themselves.

Under the new system, Instructor and Assessor training and certification will cost a lot more. So far, simple upgrades to the new system for several of the Club’s Assessors have cost several hundreds of dollars each. This has only included Recognition of Prior Learning for existing competencies and a few additional bits and pieces. At this rate, training a new instructor from scratch looks like costing up into the thousands.

Existing Instructors’ qualifications will remain valid until the expiry date on the certificate.

At the Callala Beach meeting, the Committee voted to use Club funds to cover the costs of upgrading existing Instructors and Assessors into the new system on the expiry of their qualifications and for training and assessing new Instructors and Assessors as the need arises.

This will apply, at the Committee’s discretion, to Club instructors who contribute their skills at several Club training sessions each year (regardless of any non-Club use of these skills). The Committee will need to watch the funds, here, and get good value for the training dollar! Additionally, Club funds will be supplemented by a special Instructor Training Levy of $20.00 per person per day on training events, except the Rock ‘n’ Roll weekend. This should make it possible for the Club to continue to offer quality training to members.

The March TLTC

The NSWSKC Trip Leader’s Training Course, held in March at Currarong was better planned and executed than ever before — we’re getting good at this, even if I do say so myself! The March course was the first one at which we used a written exam as well as practical assessment. All examinees passed with flying colours.

Congratulations to Lawrence Geoghegan, Richard Birdsey, Alan Whiteman, Adrian Clayton and John Lipscombe. All five have been ratified by the Committee as Club Trip Leaders. Many thanks to all the attendees and contributors for much valuable discussion.

Before the next TLTC is held, the Club will carefully assess whether all or part of the new Australian Canoeing ‘Guide’ qualifications should replace or be adapted into our own TLTC, with the potential of having our trip leading qualifications become a nationally recognised qualification. A guiding qualification is probably still overkill, considering that Club Trip Leaders lead a group of peers, not clients and therefore take on a very different level of responsibility.

The Club’s TLTC is open to any Club member who wishes to lead Club trips, has Sea Proficiency or Sea Skills 2/Sea Rescue 2, has a current First Aid Certificate and demonstrates a willingness to meet Club methods and policies on the conduct of trips.

Club Trip Sizes

Australian Canoeing is set to revise its policies on maximum numbers of participants on ocean trips. If and when it does, the Club will follow suit. At the moment, Club maximum trip numbers are six participants with one Trip Leader or twelve participants with two Leaders. This has proven to be too many on several recent trips for grade two paddlers, so the Committee is not too unhappy about the possible changes.

The changes mooted are to reduce trip numbers to six participants with one leader and eight participants with two leaders. We will keep you up to date with these changes as they are brought in.

Training Calendar

This issue of the NSW Sea Kayaker calendar includes a program of training and assessment events covering the rest of the Club year. There are three training weekends aimed at improving the skills and knowledge of members towards meeting the requirements of the new Sea Skills 2/Sea Rescue 2 Awards. These qualifications (or the equivalent Sea Proficiency) will be mandatory for members to be considered grade 3 paddlers and participate in ocean paddling trips.

The Sea Rescue 2 skills are also highly recommended for paddlers who wish to verify that they are solid grade 2 paddlers.

All members are welcome to book in for any of the courses. Please contact the course coordinator for any course that you’re interested in. All of the Club’s training courses are run by ACI certified Instructors, with the assistance of a number of trainee Instructors.

Make good use of the opportunities that the Club provides. It’s still almost free!

See you on the water.