This is my first post I believe, although I've been lurking around these forums for some time.
My name is James and I'm currently studying at OPC on the @!#$. Lead certificate course and I'm considering studying at Tai Poutini and doing the Leadership and Guiding course down there next year to continue my education particularly, because I want to acquire rafting unit standards in a dedicated learning environment rather than "on the job" as a raft guide trainee. Hopefully someone around here has either studied there recently or knows someone who has, because I have a few questions I need answered.
First of all. Is it worth it? Are you more likely to get a job in a rafting operation with the Advanced Certificate and the Unit Standards under your belt? I know I'll still have to be assessed and get more hours on the water before getting the Awards, but surely I would have an advantage over Joe Blogs from off the street?
Do you know whether you have to be equipped with all your own gear? i.e paddling and boarding as these are the pursuits I'm hoping to specialise in. If so I'm from Rotorua so is it better to buy a kayak from here or somewhere else in the North Island and take it down with me (hoping to get a 4x4 van if I can get the funds) or buy it when I get down there? If its best to get it down there where is the best place to get one from? Preferably second-hand.
What are the instructors like? Will there be a steady progression of Grades that I'll be expected to paddle? Or will I be expected to go straigth to Grade 4+? I'm currently topping out at Grade 3 (Waihahonu).
If anyone is able to answer my queries it will be much appreciated.