What is Industry Placement?
This is one of the most frequent questions we get from guides when deciding to participate in a longer course, or on arrival for their course. And the answer is a tricky one!
Traditionally industry placement is a term used to describe a period of experiential learning such as shadowing a working guide or helping with menial tasks around a lodge or reserve for the purpose of observing the living workplace and gaining some valuable insight and experience. It can in many cases be regarded as form of internship, where if the correct attitude and ethics is shown, a permanent offer of employment may follow at the end of the placement period. Students on placement usually do not earn a salary, but the organization will typically provide meals and accommodation free of charge for the period.
All of this seems quite straight forward not true? Where the concept of placement becomes tricky is when we are dealing with qualified students getting placed in the industry and being used to perform the tasks of an otherwise paid employee. Here all sorts of opportunities for use and abuse, and damage to both the career of the guide as well as the organization can occur if not managed responsibly. A student placed at an organization, with the intent to shadow/observe and learn – should be doing exactly that. He or she should not be expected to operate independently, take out paying guests and be accountable for providing a professional service, without any remuneration simply as a means of getting cheap labour.
So when students ask if Bhejane does placement for their students, the answer is yes, but preferably not. Walking away from a Bhejane 1 year or 3 year course means that the student will developed a good basic skill set and have achieved a substantial amount of qualifications, and will most likely be a legally registered professional guide.
Take into account also that many students will be starting the repayment period for student loans, and the continued demand for qualified guides and it seems a no-brainer that entry-level employment rather than a placement contract is the much preferred option for student, lodge and us as the training provider.
The traditional placement model we would suggest works well for a student on a self-study or longer term study programme, that is not yet qualified, in order to gain some practical skills and experience. This is typically not the best model for a full time course student. So why do we offer it? Simply because there is a demand for it! However once here, we assist our students to get prepared for employment rather than placement.
We encourage students to first apply for employment and assist with CV’s references and advice on how to proceed, who to contact and how to prepare for your interview. Should a student after qualifying not find employment after a number of attempts, we will proceed with traditional placement. However with the above stated demand for qualified guides in the industry, we have found in the last 10 years that properly qualified students have a near 100% success rate in finding employment after leaving the course. As a consequence we almost never do any placements.
It is useful for all current and prospective students to remember that finding employment AND qualifying for placement does come with having done the hard yards first and being prepared. You will need to have the following in place:
- Passed all fundamental qualifications to register as a legal guide
- Have obtained a driver’s licence and if old enough, applied for PDP licence.
- Have a clean disciplinary record – references and recommendations cannot be done if we have no confidence in the students behaviour or work ethic.