Tourism training for First Nations guides in the red centre
New First Nations tourism training is helping to build the professional credentials, business acumen and interpersonal skills of Aboriginal people, and in turn, secure new jobs and career options for Aboriginal communities in Central Australia.
The training is also building capacity in the Red Centre tourism industry, where there is significant international and domestic demand for First Nations tour guides, who can provide authentic cultural perspective and knowledge of the country’s desert heart.
Charles Darwin University (CDU) has introduced new industry-based training at Ntaria (Hermannsburg), as part of Certificate I in Tourism (Australian Indigenous Culture), in partnership with the aboriginal owned 100% Finke River Culture and Adventures, and Standley Chasm Angkerle Atwatye.
Course participants gain first-hand experience in delivering a tour of the Hermannsburg Historic Precinct, with step-by-step commentary gradually added to the tour-guiding script.
To date, all the Aboriginal graduates from the course this year have secured jobs in the tourism industry in Central Australia.
CDU Tourism Lecturer Martin Bollmeyer said Certificate I in Tourism (Australian Indigenous Culture) provides an important pathway to Indigenous employment in a wide range of jobs in the Northern Territory tourism industry.
“Possible job titles range from Indigenous tour operator to First Nations storyteller and Aboriginal cultural centre assistant,” Mr Bollmeyer said.
“The tourism course develops key professional and interpersonal skills to assist Aboriginal people working with domestic and international tourists.”
Also providing crucial support for the CDU training is Hermannsburg Traditional Owner and co-owner of 100% Finke River Culture and Adventures, Benjamin Kenny, who helps recruit and coordinate the attendance of Aboriginal participants.
“At this stage, most of the Aboriginal trainees who have graduated from the course have gained employment as Indigenous tour guides at 100% Finke River Culture and Adventures,” Mr Kenny said.
“Our Indigenous people have a lot of trust and faith in Martin and Megan (Aston) as CDU Lecturers who put 110 per cent into the job of helping to support us, and the trainees know they will have a job at the end of the course.
“More and more Indigenous people are contacting me to enquire about the training and jobs, and we want to get more women involved.”
Ms Aston said the course provides a pathway to employment in the tourism industry and, for those already working in the industry, the opportunity to advance their education and career credentials.
“Some of the graduates have since expressed interest in furthering their studies by undertaking Certificate III in Guiding at Charles Darwin University,” Ms Aston said.