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Where can field guides find work experience placements and employment guarantees?

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

BY: Tasneem Johnson-Dollie

Part of Bushwise Field Guides’ promise is their work experience placement and employment guarantees. But why does it matter, and what does a work experience placement actually mean for field guides?

Let’s take a look at Field Guide Jobs and the types of placement guarantees offered by Bushiwise,, and how they improve employability.

What is a placement guarantee?

So your field guiding adventure is coming to an end. It’s your last few days of soaking up the sun in a safari vehicle. You don’t know when you’ll get another chance to scan the wild terrain, trying to spot some camouflaged creature you never knew about before your Field Guides Association of South Africa (FGASA) course. 

Two Bushwise staff members sitting at a picnic table outside.

But what happens once you’re done? What’s the next step in your career in conservation?

Well, if you’re finishing up on a Bushwise course, the future may not seem quite so scary.

There are courses you could do that promise either a work experience placement, or an employment guarantee.

These excellent add-ons can improve your employability – and maybe even secure it.

Take a look at the types of placement guarantees that Bushwise has to offer.

The different types of placement guarantees

There are different types of placements available to Bushwise graduates.

Bushwise offers top-quality field guiding courses that are open to anyone over the age of 18. Bushwise graduates between the ages of 21 and 39 years old are promised either an employment guarantee, or six-month work experience placement. But there are also opportunities for those who fall outside of this age range.

Employment guarantees are official job offers that are guaranteed for South African graduates who’ve completed the comprehensive FGASA Professional Field Guide course. 

Work experience placements are opportunities to gain real-world experience in the field. These are an option for anyone who has completed a FGASA Professional Field Guide course or a FGASA Field Guiding and Conservation Careers internship. 

1) Employment guarantees for South African field guides

For South African graduates of the comprehensive FGASA Professional Field Guide course, job offers are guaranteed.

This means that you’re guaranteed a job offer within six months of completing your Bushwise course. Field guides are placed at a lodge or game reserve which partners with Bushwise. 

But there are other placement opportunities available too.

2) Work experience placements for Bushwise graduates

A field guide looking over the terrain in the wild with binoculars.

All Bushwise graduates who’ve completed either the FGASA Professional Field Guide course have access to work experience placements. 

For those moving on into a work experience placement, Bushwise head trainers will do an assessment of each graduate, and provide advice on the type of work experience placement that would suit them best. 

These graduates are placed with the Bushwise partner that best suits that graduate’s skills and aspirations. Graduates are placed with a lodge or game reserve that partners with Bushwise. But these placements are not a job offer, and only provide the opportunity to gain experience in the field. However, they often lead to permanent positions.

And for those Bushwise students who are under 21 – and so are not old enough to get their professional driving permit (PdP) and drive guests around just yet – there are non-guiding placements on offer for you too.

3) Non-guiding placements

Field guide students in a vehicle with a Bushwise instructor.

For graduates under the age of 21, non-guiding work experience placements can give you the opportunity to gain experience in the field, work towards becoming a field guide, and improve your employability in the future. 

Non-guiding work experience placements may mean setting a reptile-lover up with a placement at Kinyonga Reptile Centre, or putting someone with a passion for wildlife tracking with the Colin Patrick Training organisation.

We can’t guarantee placements for candidates 39 years and older. This is simply because some lodges and game reserves feel that younger guides are better suited to the physical activity and long days that field guiding requires. But placements are still possible. 

At Bushwise, we train all age groups in the same way – ensuring that everyone leaves with the same knowledge and capabilities. So, for candidates 39 years and older, working hard, and going the extra mile during your field guiding course, will go a long way in helping you to secure a placement offer. 

Work experience placements improve employability in a way that no other teaching experience can. And guaranteed job offers take the edge off, and offer you a spring-board into your conservation career.

A Bushwise instructor teaching students how to identify grasses.

But where exactly would you be placed?

Where are field guides placed?

Bushwise works with a number of reputable partner organisations that are often on the look-out for FGASA-qualified field guides. 

There’s an array of prestigious lodges and wildlife reserves where field guides could be placed. These include MalaMala Game Reserve, Sabi Sabi Luxury Safari Lodges, and Singita game reserves. 

With high-quality and comprehensive courses, followed by exciting placement opportunities, succeeding in a wildlife conservation career is so much easier for Bushwise graduates.

Do all field guiding courses offer opportunities to improve employability?

A guarantee of any kind can’t be given lightly. And this may be the reason why an offer like a Bushwise placement guarantee isn’t something you see very often. 

If you’re looking for a course that includes a work experience placement, or you’re eager for an education linked to a guaranteed job offer, Bushwise can get you to where you want to be.

So check out our field guiding courses that offer work experience placements and employment guarantees, and see how they can improve employability for the field guides of the future.


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