South Africa with its abundant and unsurpassed flora and fauna is driving the demand for local and international BSc. (Zoology) students wishing to complete their post-graduate studies in a real-world environment. Bushwise, South Africa’s leading FGSA training services provider is leading the herd with their admission of a number of these students having continuously demonstrated for the past seven years that their training programmes provide a deep understanding of the forces that shape the highly structured ecosystems and behaviour of which Zoology, a core biological discipline underpinning current interest and research in conservation, requires.
“Through our various FGASA training programmes we provide learners the opportunity to study animals and their habitats which are not only diverse but continually evolve and are at the core to the future of conservation not just within Southern Africa but the world” explains Sophie Niemann, director of Bushwise. “These real-world experiences reflect the evolutionary relationships of the animals, identifying and understanding the requirements of the studies in anatomy, physiology, reproduction, behaviour, community ecology and molecular genetics and how they contribute to ensuring a high-standard of knowledge learners take with them in the future after graduating.”
Not only a flash-point for post-graduate students who are wanting to further their field practical experience, Bushwise’s Professional Field Guide Course offers in-depth theoretical and practical training over 23 weeks and a 50-week programme which includes an internship at various top safari lodges and conservation organisations within South Africa. This intensive course underpins the belief of why so many South African trained field guides are in such high demand, not just within Africa but abroad as well. In addition to this Bushwise have recently launched the Introductory Field Guide and Wildlife career course, offering a 65 day theoretical course or an 83 day course, which includes an 18 day practical component. However, the industry is plagued by many service providers offering quick, superficial training that doesn’t equip students with the skills that they need to get a job, advance their career or, in some cases meet many of the key experience required by post-graduate students.
Over the past six years an average of 94% of students have passed the FGASA examinations at first attempt with its most recent group of 29 graduates in 2015 achieving an average mark of 90.76% which is testament to Bushwise’s focuses on experiences of collaboration in a problem-based learning (PBL). Lead by Ben Coley, Head Trainer and supported by a team of three trainers who work directly with learners to negotiate and construct new understandings of their environment and develop life-long learning skills grounded in genuine situations of practice in which a high degree of collaboration is essential for a successful outcome.
“The BSc. (Zoology) major requirements of integrating theory with real-world practical [both field and laboratory] studies are best explored at the Bushwise campus purposefully designed to showcase interaction and exploration of animals and fragile ecosystems found in within Southern Africa” concludes Niemann.