In recent times I keep getting asked what can each of the different levels do and I thought I would be bold and write a clarification.
What can a Guide, Leader or Instructor do?
The pivotal position is the Guide. The Guide can take novices on a program to the level of their qualification. So for a Sea Guide (level 2) they can take novices for a trip on coastal water (no open crossings, overfalls or tidal races). Being novices, the Guide can impart all of the necessary knowledge and skills for them to safely complete the task. This includes correct technique. Often a Guide will be supplying all of the equipment and will thus be involved in ensuring the novice knows enough to either wear or stow the equipment correctly.
This often leads to the question – what do we need instructors for?
An instructor has been taught to be an “educator”.
- Many of the level 2 skills such as rolling, high bracing etc. need a careful progression so that stabilising muscles are built, injury throughout the process is prevented and the skill is truly imparted so that it is “bombproof”. As an example, it is not envisaged that a novice is taught to roll on a “typical” trip and therefore the skills to safely teach rolling are not imparted or assessed in a Guide.
- Instructors have access to the full range of training materials.
- Instructors have a full quiver of presentation and training techniques (wet and dry) that they can use to ensure skills are imparted, where the Guide is given techniques.
So where does that leave the Leader?
The Leader has been trained to look after people (on the water) with the skills to do the trip as part of a group (typically sea skills). Their training and qualifications are in group management, incident response procedures and group coordination (trip concept to exit debriefs)
Can a Guide give training (instruction) on a trip?
Of course they can (and usually need to) – it is their role to impart the skills and knowledge for the person to safely complete the trip.
Can training from a Guide be used as part of the training of a person for an award?
- AC and the VET scheme acknowledge that a person can become competent from a number of different sources including life experience, personal research, etc.
- The onus from both AC and VET is on the quality of the assessment when someone is gaining a formal qualification.
- Safety and injury prevention information is made freely available to both Guides and Instructors so that the quality of impartation of knowledge and skills is always high.
- However, the Instructor is the VET qualified trainer and so has access to the complete training package and has been taught to teach. As a result the Instructor should be used as the trainer in formal or structured training regimes.
- So yes, Guides can definitely add to the training of persons.
- One note of caution here; Instructors are specifically taught how to teach skills requiring progressions such as rolling, high bracing, etc and their training coupled with the injury prevention components is beyond that which is taught and assessed in Guides.
Can a Leader assist people if they are concerned with their technique or stowage of equipment, etc.?
- In terms of the wearing or stowage of equipment, the Leader is fully qualified and should take as part of their role an inspection and assistance stance.
- In terms of technique, the Leader has not been taught or assessed in the impartation of skills, or the injury prevention background that goes with that training. Under the same laws that surround activities such as first aid, the person MAY (check this with your legal advisors) be covered by the Good Samaritan Act if they are acting to prevent injury or maintain the safety of another, however they are acting outside their qualifications.
How many people can a Guide, Leader or Instructor take on a trip?
- The numbers for all three are the same and contained in the AC Safety Guidelines.
- The numbers are given as a base with the ability for them to be increased or decreased as the conditions dictate.
- It is always recommended that the onwater manager (Instructor, Guide or Leader) never work alone. Preferably there should be two qualified persons on the water at all times.
What about wind strengths, etc.?
Guides, Instructors and Leaders are taught to and expected to conduct a hazard identification and risk assessment for every trip, and to conduct, modify or cancel the trip on the basis of a full analysis.
I hope this is of help.
If you need any clarification of Australian Canoeing Policies, Bylaws, Guidelines or Award Scheme Structure, please don’t hesitate in contacting me.