SA College for Tourism

Moving Toward Accreditation Of The Lead Tracker Course

The 2014 Lead Tracker participants and their evaluators

An initiative, started in 2013, to identify experienced trackers who have advanced their tracking skills to a level beyond the norm, was continued with success this year at the SA College for Tourism Tracker Academy.

With the support of the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa, the Tracker Academy established a Lead Tracker training programme. The academy enjoys accreditation of its skills development tracker training programme by the Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA), which oversees skills development in the tourism industry in South Africa.

CATHSSETA is required to conduct a rigorous annual audit of training providers like the Tracker Academy. The audit includes a close inspection of the provider’s training programme and assessment methods, and makes provision for anonymous interviews with its students. The academy’s relationship with CATHSSETA has taught it a great deal about training and facilitation techniques. The good news is that CATHSSETA has approved of the Lead Tracker name and training programme concept.

The Lead Tracker training programme is aimed at trackers who have worked for many years in the ecotourism, anti-poaching and animal monitoring sectors of the conservation industry. Once accredited, it will open the way to confer, for the first time, a nationally recognised tracker certificate for these talented experts. As such, the programme represents formal recognition for people who may not have had the opportunity to be educated at school, but who contribute as much value to conservation as those with university degrees.

As a pilot project, in preparation for the accredited form of Lead Tracker, the Tracker Academy conducted a six-day practical tracking assessment of eight experienced trackers living in villages adjacent to Kruger National Park, in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. The participating trackers were assessed on track and sign identification, on the following of animal trails, approaching dangerous game on foot and on bird alarm calls.

Robert Hlatshwayo passed all the components with a score of 98%. Lead Tracker assessment is the most rigorous and detailed tracking assessment administered by the Tracker Academy and to be awarded the certificate requires that the candidate pass all components.

Alex van den Heever and Robert Hlatshwayo with his Lead Tracker certificate

Story by Alex van den Heever
SA College for Tourism Tracker Academy Manager
Visit the Tracker Academy website for more


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