IRF Guide Training & Education (GTE) system updates 2016/17

IRF GTE system updates were made in 2016 at the 2016 GTE Conference in Austria. Various updates to the GTE Program were introduced, discussed and agreed upon. These changes were reconfirmed and discussed further at the 2017 GTE Conference in Greece. The updates are listed below with links provided where needed or comments on the status of the updates. Award related changes are included in IRF GTE Award System v5.3.4 and the Spanish version IRF GTE SP Award System v5.3.4 

The following information is relevant to all Instructors & Assessors

  • 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 are being appointed to oversee all Instructors who conduct workshops within a specific region. Read more about the 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 Award System). 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 Status
    This status is given to a candidate who has successfully completed most of the requirements needed to obtain an Award, but has not yet completed all requirements. A person who has been awarded Provisional status is restricted to operate only when under the direct supervision of an individual who holds a full IRF GTE certification of an equal or higher Level. Candidates with Provisional status may obtain full certification once all necessary requirements have been fulfilled or demonstrated to the appropriately qualified Instructor or Assessor. It is generally not required that a person with Provisional status participate in a full Workshop in order to demonstrate the remaining requirements. This status will also replace the former “Trainee Certification”.
  • New Instructors
    Assessors shall award newly certified Instructor candidates with Provisional Instructor status (as described above). 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 such 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 has been changed. ‘Class’ has been renamed ‘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 authorised 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, they will be awarded a Site Specific, Zambezi River certification.
  • “Provisional” Certificate
    Replacing trainee guide certificates and more, see definition in IRF Award System v5.3.1.
  • 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
    IRF GTE – Assessor Assessment criteria v1
  • Online GTE Database administration
    A modern online system for entering workshop data is being developed. When this is ready we will let you know.
  • Instructor Feedback Forms
    Can be found here in Instructors Resources (password protected)
  • National/Regional Managed Certifications
    The IRF has granted some national organisations the right to manage the GTE program within their country or region. These rights are based on contractual obligations and adherence to specific protocols, which in some cases allows the IRF GTE certification to be issued alongside a regional or national certification.
  • 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 Safety Certificates
    To meet the above requirement, the IRF has created an Event Safety Technician certification. Protocols are being drawn up for obtaining an Instructor certification in this program
  • All GTE documents have been updated/changed
    Instructors and Assessors are advised to make themselves familiar with the document changes BEFORE conducting your next assessment workshop.

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.