The Wildlife College plays a pivotal role in equipping a new generation of conservation managers with the necessary skills to deal with key challenges facing conservation today. Closely linked to this is the role that nature-based tourism is set to play in the socio-economic development of southern Africa and which in turn allows the College to expand its relevance and reach across borders, greatly impacting on the training of conservationists in Africa.
The training offered by the Southern African Wildlife College covers a wide spectrum of skills needed by protected and area natural resource managers from southern Africa who are either already in the service of conservation and environmental agencies as well as individuals starting their careers in the conservation field. The training is aimed at opening career opportunities for existing personnel who do not have formal qualifications; as well as courses that will allow participants to seek and find gainful employment within the conservation and tourism industry.
The potential of the wildlife economy to play a crucial role in the development of alternative livelihoods' for rural people as well as reduce poverty should also not be underestimated. The SAWC recognises this and seeks to actively play its role by helping to secure employment and training opportunities for people living within and around our protected areas, which will in turn reduce the pressure on the protected areas. What sets the College apart from other training institutions is its best practice “learning by doing approach” to training. This ensures that when learners go back to their workplaces or are gainfully employed in the conservation sector, they are well-equipped to tackle the task at hand. In addition, their time at the College would also have exposed them to the latest practices and techniques being employed.
Given the current rhino poaching crisis, and the growth in wildlife crime since 2010, the College’s field ranger training facility is indicative of this having grown exponentially over the past few years. With the acquisition of African Field Ranger Training Services, and having established its own field ranger training facility on campus, this has in turn led to two projects, which support anti poaching training namely the Bathawk aerial surveillance and aerial patrol project as well as the K-9 anti poaching training unit.
All programmes are aligned to qualifications that are registered on the National Qualifications Framework and cover the full spectrum of skills needed by field staff and managers of protected areas.
The College offers a diverse range of training, which includes Certificate Courses and Prorammes at a Higher Education and Training and Further Education and Training level as well as Skills Development Programmes, Learnerships and Short Courses. These now fall under four different training pillars: