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'Learning valuable outdoor adventure skills and having fun while they do it'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

EIT students Louis Grut and Henry Williams Peters are undergoing an intensive induction in outdoor adventure - skills that will prove valuable if they enter the adventure tourism and conservation workforce.

Louis and Henry are both enrolled in EIT’s brand-new, fees-free, NZ Certificate in Outdoor and Adventure Education (Multi-skilled) [Level 4] programme on the Hawke’s Bay Campus and are relishing every moment of being pioneers of a new career-path for future EIT students. The programme began earlier this year and continues until the middle of next year. Further offerings are planned for February and July in 2023

The broad appeal of the programme is put into perspective by these two students - Louis is 17-years-old and passionate about sustainability and biodiversity, while Henry, 34, is keen to pursue a career in adventure tourism. This programme is giving both of them the tools to potentially achieve their goals. They are also having a lot of fun as they learn vital skills.

Their Tutor in the Outdoor and Adventure Education programme is Davey Forbes, a veteran of the New Zealand Army, who is more comfortable outdoors than he is behind a desk.

He says this programme is about giving people the opportunity to learn how to guide tourists in a number of activities, as well as learning about nature and biodiversity. "If you are not sure what your next step is in life, this is a great programme to build your applied leadership skills, fitness, mental toughness, and get you work ready for a variety of vocations such as the Defence Force, Adventure Tourism and Department of Conservation (DOC)," says Davey.

"We have created a programme where at the end of the day, you've got someone that makes good decisions under pressure in the outdoor environment, is work-ready and also has other potential pathways as well."

"What we concentrate on is situational and human awareness, but we also teach them to understand and protect the environment. They learn all about Kaitiakitanga."

The students are also taught about Tikanga Māori which gives them a cultural perspective before they get into the practical pursuits.

"There are nine weeks each of mountain biking, kayaking, rafting and then rock-climbing and abseiling. Leadership is also an important part of the programme because when you're in the outdoors there are often things that happen that require people to lead."

For Louis, the programme is about giving him qualifications to pursue a career in his childhood passion and upbringing.

"I grew up on a 53-hectare farm near Dunedin where we were restoring native bush, so conservation and protecting our natives is very important to me. When we moved up here about five years ago, we lived in Napier, which is very different from the farm."

Louis, who was home schooled for the last two years of school, enrolled in EIT’s Level 3 Outdoor Experiences programme last year, while working part-time at a retail store in Napier.

He sees himself becoming a DOC Ranger but is not opposed to becoming a nature guide either.

At 34, Henry Williams Peters is double Louis’s age, but the two have bonded over the six months they have been on the Level 4 programme.

Henry, who is from Wellington and moved up to Napier for the programme, has had a varied career including being a chef, working with youth and in adventure education in Thailand.

On his return to New Zealand, he did some research to see where he could study Outdoor and Adventure Education.

"I chose this one because of what it offered and the fact that it was fees free. So, I packed up my whole life in Wellington and came here for this programme only."

For Henry, it was the correct decision.

"It's awesome. I like the fact that you will be in the bush doing something that's really testing and mentally and physically draining and when you look around, there’s this beautiful view."

"We laugh about it because we are not studying something boring. I guess it ticks all the boxes for what I enjoy in life, which is being outdoors."

After Henry finishes the programme, he plans to work in the tourism industry as a guide for a number of years before pursuing his dream of owning an outdoor company using the skills he is learning now and combining it with his passion for working with youth.

More details about the NZ Certificate in Outdoor and Adventure Education (Multi-skilled) [Level 4] programme can be found at eit.ac.nz. The year-long programme begins again in February next year.

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