Module 3: Guide Training and Development

As we worked on defining how we approach adventures we realized that there is no standardized training program for adventure guides. Most training is either company-specific, focused on technical certifications or relies on training developed by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides or the Interpretive Guides Association for contexts adjacent to adventure tourism.

The approach used by the Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) resonates with us. It recognizes that experience can be gained in various ways and emphasizes the role of observed performance in guide development, rather than the acquisition of certifications.

The Adventure Travel Guide Standard, an international model established by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, provides five core competencies that align nicely with our adventure framework: sustainability, technical skills, safety and risk management, customer service and group management, and natural and cultural history interpretation.

We also find it beneficial to combine Travel Alberta’s approach to marketing and experience development. This allows us to cover the entire guest journey seamlessly and creates better alignment with industry partners.

This comes together here, not as a list of required courses but rather as a starting point as we work on continuously improving our guiding skills.

In this section we’ll cover:

  • the competencies of the adventure guide;
  • the skill development model we use;
  • the guide development pathway;
  • professional development opportunities; and
  • the Outdoor Council of Canada’s Field Leaders Program.