Charles Darwin University (CDU) is partnering with the Northern Territory Government to deliver a new course to attract and retain tour guides to the Northern Territory.
The new Tour Guide Ready Course, a $60,000 investment from the government, will assist the Central Australian tourism industry to train and develop job-ready tour guides.
The course fees are heavily subsidised for eligible students and relocation assistance is available at the end of the course.
Ten participants will join the July intake for the five-week vocational training program, with a second intake of 10 places available in August 2021.
CDU Dean of Asia Pacific College of Business and Law, Professor David Low, said it’s important to attract and retain tour guides to Central Australia to support tourism operators.
“Becoming a tour guide is an incredibly rewarding career. This is about creating more jobs and attracting more visitors to Central Australia to experience our incredible natural wonders,” Professor Low said.
CDU Lecturers Tim Francis and Martin Bollmeyer devised the course after talking to tourism industry and finding that most of the experienced guides in Central Australia had left the industry because of COVID, and are unlikely to return.
Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Natasha Fyles said Tourism NT is working with CDU, a key vocational training partner in the NT, to stimulate a larger pool of workers for essential tourism jobs.
“We have a high shortage of tour guides in the Territory, so it’s fantastic to see a pilot training course available in Alice Springs.
“Along with the incentives for students completing the tour guide training, we hope to see a boost in available workers for the NT touring sector quickly.”
The program will involve face-to-face learning in the classroom, with practical assessments as well as field excursions to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, West McDonnell Ranges and Alice Springs tourism venues.
Parks Australia has made training mandatory for commercial guides that covers visitor safety, understanding the park's natural and cultural values, history, minimising environmental impacts, and legal compliance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the tourism industry. Tour operators are under immense financial pressure and unable to fund previous in-house training models and are seeking solutions to employ trained staff.
The first intake is expected to attract Alice Springs residents, with the second intake targeting guides from interstate.