Guide Training and Education (GTE) Program – 2016 updates!!!

ATTENTION:  ALL Instructors and Assessors

At the 2016 GTE Conference in Austria, various upgrades, corrections and additions to the GTE Program were discussed and so are starting to be implemented as they get finalised. These updates are listed below with links provided where needed or comments on the status of the updates.

PLEASE FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THESE UPDATES:

  • Certifications are now valid for 3 years.  New and renewed GTE certifications will now be valid for 3 years instead of 2 years.   IRF fees for the certification will remain the same,  however the cost will be higher to reflect the additional year. Guide and Trip Leader certification renewals will also be required every 3 years instead of every 2 years. (New fee structure can be seen here.)
  • Regional Assessors.  Regional Assessors have been appointed to oversee all Instructors who conduct workshops within a specific region: duties, revenues, disciplinary procedures and traveling instructors’ ethics.
  • Instructor Candidate Certification Process.  The requirements for obtaining a GTE Instructor certification will be more strictly observed, especially the requirement of previous guide training experience (as stated in the existing AS).  Assessors are required to be more rigorous and meticulous when assessing candidates to ensure that all Instructors are conforming with the established norms.  Except in cases where the Instructor candidate can prove extensive experience as a guide trainer/instructor, all candidates must first hold an IRF Trip Leader certification thus gaining a better understanding of the GTE assessment curriculum and skills requirements.
  • Provisional (New) Instructors.  Assessors shall award newly certified Instructor candidates with Provisional Instructor status.  Provisional Instructors must pass through a mentoring process under the supervision of their certifying Assessor or Regional Assessor before they obtain full Instructor status.  Provisional Instructors may only conduct workshops while being observed/assisted by an Assessor until which time the Assessor is satisfied that the Provisional Instructor understands and is compliant with all workshop protocols and procedures and is capable of conducting a proper workshop without additional guidance.
  • Instructor Certification Renewals.   To remain active, all Instructors must conduct a minimum of 2 GTE workshops every 2 years.  To remain current, they must also renew their certification every 3 years by either 1) conducting or attending a workshop that is overseen by an Assessor, or by 2) attending a GTE conference.  Instructors that do not follow the above protocols will be listed as inactive or expired respectively.  Inactive or expired Instructors will be required to complete the renewal process noted above to regain active status.  There will be a fee charged if an Instructor needs a new certification card to be issued.  Instructors who remain active and current will not be required to pay renewal fees.
  • Name Change for Certifications.  The nomenclature of awards had been changed.  ‘Class’ has been renamed to ‘Level’ to avoid confusion with the river classification system.  The awards available are now Level 2, 3, 4 and 5.  Practical assessments will still be conducted on a river section whose classification corresponds to the Level awarded (or higher).  For example a Level 3 certification may only be awarded after a candidate has been successfully assessed on a Class 3 rapid/river section.
  • Class 4/5 Certificates are discontinued and have been separated into Level 4 and Level 5.  Existing Class 4/5 certificates will be downgraded to Level 4 when they are renewed.   Assessors and current Class 4/5 Instructors are now only authorized to award certifications up to Level 4 (Class 4), and run practical assessments only on rapids/river sections up to class 4.   Level 5 certificates will not be awarded by Assessors or Instructors, but will only be awarded through an administration review process which includes a written recommendation by an IRF Instructor or Assessor, and documented proof of extensive experience on multiple class 5 rapids/river sections.
  • “Site Specific” Certificate. This certificate will be awarded in all cases where a candidate is experienced as a guide on a single river or section of river but has no documented guiding experience on other rivers of the same classification.  This new certificate will also replace the “Stadium Guide” certification for artificial courses.  For example, if a Zambezi river guide successfully completes an assessment conducted on the Zambezi river, but has no documented experience on other rivers of a similar classification, he/she will be awarded a Site Specific, Zambezi River certification.
  • Throwbag test.  The throwbag test as a minimum requirement for raft guide assessments has been updated.  Details of the new test procedure are found here.
  • To become an IRF GTE Assessor.  Assessment criteria.
  • Online GTE Database administration.  A modern online system for entering workshop data has been developed that will be ready for use soon (link will be placed here). All Assessors and Instructors will receive password access and be required to enter the details of their assessments and the candidates that they have certified directly into the online system.  All individuals that have been awarded an IRF certification of any type will have password protected access to keep their personal details up to date, and will receive automatic email renewal notifications.
  • Instructor Feedback Formsbeing drafted (link will be placed here soon)
  • National/Regional Managed Certifications. The IRF has granted some national organizations the right to manage the GTE program within their country or region.  These rights are based on contract obligations and adherence to specific protocols, which in some cases allows the IRF GTE certification to be issued alongside a regional or national certification.  (link to these organizations will be placed here soon)
  • Involvement at IRF Raft Race Events – IRF Race Rules require that GTE certified personnel are members of the safety team at all major IRF sanctioned races.
  • Event and River Rescue Certificates – To meet public demand, the IRF has created a certification program for Event Rescue and River Rescue. Protocols are being drawn up for obtaining an Instructor certification in this program.  (link will be placed here soon)
  • All GTE documents are being updated/changed (links will be placed here soon). Until the new documentation is posted, Instructors are advised to continue using the current documentation annotated with the above listed updates.  When the revised documents are uploaded, Assessors and Instructors are advised to get familiar with their changes BEFORE conducting your next assessment workshop.  It will be extremely important to check assessment guidelines and assessment sheets.

If you receive emails from any of the IRF GTE appointed persons handling these issues please take note and respond accordingly.

These changes are being implemented so as to improve the GTE program and ensure it stays as the leading certification system internationally for all river users.