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Thread: Wilderness Guide Courses

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    Post Wilderness Guide Courses in Finland

    Did you know that there are official wilderness courses in Finland where you can get an official Diploma.

    Here is a description of a course held in Tampere College:

    The essential topics of the course are, among other things, wilderness skills, nature and tourism, entrepreneurship and marketing skills, customer service and knowledge of human nature, knowledge of culture, language studies, and a specialisation topic.

    The course includes a canoeing period of two weeks. Students can pass the canoe handling skills tests - 2 or 3 stars - of the British Canoe Union (BCU). The tests can be performed both in canoes and kayaks. The best part of this period is still to come: everybody does the safety test of BCU, which is very highly ranked by paddlers world-wide.

    And here is a links:

    Kuru Institute of Forestry - International Wilderness Guide
    Last edited by Snow; 7th-March-2010 at 10:49 AM.


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    Default Re: Wilderness Guide Courses

    Was wondering if this course is more for hobby use than for business..

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    Default Re: Wilderness Guide Courses

    This is not a hobby class in the least. I took part on this course in 2005 and have since worked as a wilderness guide in Saariselka, Enontekio, Kuusamo and Levi. The course is now 16 months compared to the nine months when I was present. Its also the only international wilderness guide course specifically taught in English here in Finland.

    I must add though that if you are looking at wanting to become a wilderness guide here in Finland...be prepared to be working extremely long hours for very little money . Wilderness guides in Canada earn between $25 to $32 per hour where as here in Finland you'll be lucky to earn 10 euros per hour. This to me is an unacceptable rate of pay as guides are left with a hell of a lot of responsibilities in taking good care of safari companies clients. Sure being a wilderness guide is a lifestyle and does come with its perks, but on a whole your generally treated badly by your employees,made to work in sub-zero conditions, Live in squalid accommodation most of the time, and then still have to make sometimes snap & decisive decisions so tourists stay safe from the elements. I wouldn't be saying this if I hadn't experienced these issues and heard some truly horrific stories from friends and other guides in the business over the last 5 yrs.

    On a whole though the course in Tampere (Kuru) is extremely well run and I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to become a wilderness guide. I teach Outdoor cooking courses there and was sent just under 2 yrs ago by the Kuru college out to the Serengeti national park in Tanzania for 6 months to teach & train wilderness skills to rangers posted there.

    Thanks
    Simon

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    Default Re: Wilderness Guide Courses

    Thank you Simon! I have contacted the course coordinator and asked him about the Salary issue. How is the demand for Guides in Finland throughout the year?
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    Default Re: Wilderness Guide Courses

    The Course co-ordinater is my best mate here in Finland....Timo Jarvenpaa,hell of a nice chap. Finland's winter tourism has been hit extremely hard these last 2 yrs due to the financial crisis that hit the world.Tourism is the 1st to suffer so companies are really struggling to stay afloat here. This means that these companies end up employing less staff which in turn has a knock on effect with regards to the amount of jobs available for the amount of qualified wilderness guides out there.

    Hence why these companies can get away with paying barely minimal wages. I blame this also on the British companies that set up shop over here looking to make a quick buck with regards to the Father xmas season. They offer cheap flights,fly in fly out deals and unfortunately safari companies are left with very little profit from this kinda venture and suffer in the long term. What happens is that many of these companies end up employing one or two qualified guides and the rest are a pool of cheap student labor (Doing practical training) with little or no experience of dealing with clients in arctic conditions. If only these tourists new the full extent of the dangers they were arriving to here they probably wouldn't come here.

    2 yrs ago I was up in Enontekio for the Father Xmas stint and had numerous heated arguments with the organizers over health and safety issues which were just brushed aside as well as the treatment of their own employees.......My wife was with me working in the same place and we nearly left after 2 weeks due to her being spoken like a peace of dirt by the exec director for one of these UK based ventures.

    Life isn't all bad as a wilderness guide but there needs to be a lot of improvements made. Millions Marks and now Euros gets promote the winter tourist trade here in Finland...its just a pity that nothing gets done with regards to improving the working conditions wilderness guides have to put up with here. I have numerous horror stories of guides even being threatened with their lives from unruly employers to not being payed for months on end for work done.

    I could go on & on but that is not what this thread is about.....is it.

    Si

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    Default Re: Wilderness Guide Courses

    From what I have heard, this is a very good course for people wanting to get in to the wilderness business.

    I run a kayaking company in Southern Finland and people always ask me aboout these courses. I think they are a great introduction to the wilderness business. However all guides who are working for me must have a lot more experience, if they want to run courses and trips for my company as responsible guides.

    So coming straight from the school you can't expect to get paid much more than 10 € / hour. The guides who are professional and have a lot of experience can get up to 20-30€ / hour. This means off course also a lot more responsibility.

    I know there are companies that exploit their guides, but we try not to do that. And we have never had any problems with our employees. And we try to keep it this way. Of course in our busy season there is a lot of work and long days. But you always need to decide if you want to do long hours outdoors or sit in an office.

    The problem in general in Finland is that the whole outdoor services are very undevoloped, so there is also not too much work available. But I think the best idea is to have some special skills, this way it is also easier to find a job that pays better.

    -Ilkka

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    Default Re: Wilderness Guide Courses

    If the outdoor services are underdeveloped in Finland then there should be plenty of opportunities to develope something.

    As I come originally from central Europe, we see Finland and the other Nordic countries mainly as places to enjoy wilderness and nature. So I don't understand why this is not promoted and developed more.

    As I originally lived close to the Alps, I would for example not come to Finland for Skiing, however for Trekking, Kayaking etc. this is another story. I just find it very hard to find information about this in the internet. Outdoors.fi is a website with plenty of information, however if I search there for a specific wilderness are all I get is some text and 1 picture e.g. here some stones and bush Outdoors.fi - Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area Trails

    There should be more visual elements on the site like Videos and Pictures to make it more appealing. How do they expect people to know what they can find there if there is no information available.

    Just my point of view.
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    Default Re: Wilderness Guide Courses

    @Snow, I thank you for starting this thread! I decided to do my best to get into the course the moment I read their website.

    I already contacted the program coordinator with some questions, but I thought I would also ask some things here so others can read it too.

    What are the possibilities of training the skills you learn on the course? I.e. We will be taught how to forge a knife (ski crosscountry, use a kayak ...). Will we be able to hone those skills further?

    Aleš

    P.s. I'm really looking forward to this (keeping my fingers crossed I get accepted)

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    Default Re: Wilderness Guide Courses

    Hi Ales, I have no experience with this course but I would be really interested to do it myself. If you ever get in could you make some pictures and tell a bit about it?
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    Default Re: Wilderness Guide Courses

    I was hoping PikeFFArticles will have some insight about it.

    When () I get in, I will definitely share my experience

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