Why Adventure Studies?

Adventure Tourism may be defined as a leisure activity that takes place in an unusual, exotic, remote, or wilderness destination and tends to be associated with high levels of involvement and activity by the participants, most of it outdoors. Adventure travelers are explorers of both an outer world, especially the unspoiled, exotic parts of our planet and an inner world of personal challenge, self perception and self mastery.

Fast-growing segment of the tourism industry

Historically, individuals drawn to work in adventure sports and adventure tourism activities were motivated by their primary interest in an outdoor, travel-oriented lifestyle. To stay employed and competitive in today's adventure industry, however, these individuals are increasingly confronted with the need to offer good hospitality and conduct sound business practices.

As the size of the adventure industry has increased and high-risk sports have become socially acceptable activities, the industry has become more professional in its operations, it has developed new approaches to risk management and it requires higher levels of qualification and certification in its workforce.

Guides are the backbone of the adventure tourism industry. Employers need competent, qualified guides who can provide adequate care and safety for their clients. Many growing companies in the adventure tourism industry are looking for employees who are qualified in adventure sport activities and who possess effective interpersonal, hospitality, and organizational and business skills. The reality is that such guides are still hard to find!

Most of the past and present adventure tourism businesses have been started by these lifestyle operators, and we are just now seeing tourism development investors beginning to actively seek out viable operations within adventure travel tourism. This trend will in turn create new issues to address in the integration of operator and investor.

Technical training for full-time employment

Employers are primarily concerned for the care and safety of their clients and the legalities of operation. Legally qualified, competent guides will find themselves in demand. Our programs offer training that keeps pace with the rapid changes of the adventure industry by providing complete and formalized guide training. Guides are the backbone of the adventure industry, and it is our intent to train participants to become qualified and competent guides with a broad background in more than one technical skill. This is necessary to obtain full-time employment.

Hospitality and business management training

But technical expertise is not enough. One of the biggest obstacles to growth and long term planning for many adventure businesses today is the inability to consistently find employees qualified not only in adventure sport activities, but in hospitality and business management skills as well.

Consequently, our programs combine adventure activity skills with the interpersonal, hospitality, technical and organizational skills necessary to secure long-term employment and careers in the adventure industry. They offer offer training that specifically addresses guiding knowledge and leadership, adventure tourism industry issues, small business ownership, trip planning and certification through numerous provincial and national adventure associations.

Transfer into the Bachelor of Tourism Management degree

The 60-credit Adventure Guide Diploma is comprised of 38 required credits and 22 elective credits. The Diploma transfers into the Bachelor of Tourism Management degree (BTM) and Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree (BIS) for students who wish to complete a degree. The Diploma is also a credential recognizing two years of study if a student chooses not to continue studies in the degree program.

Involvement with the private sector

The private sector has contributed to the development and delivery of our programs, and continues to be involved through substantial use of industry association curriculum, advisory committee participation, and the program’s consistent practice of using association examiners as contract instructors on all activity courses.

The Adventure Studies Department is comprised of instructors who are highly respected and long-standing guides, as well as contract instructors who instruct and/or examine for their various national associations (see the faculty section for more information). The Adventure Guide Diploma is taught exclusively by guiding professionals in the adventure tourism industry who are at the pinnacle of their sport, and this forms a unique integration between members of the private sector and TRU. This link gives the program additional validity and purpose, gives students excellent networking opportunities, and has stimulated a good deal of interest within the international adventure tourism community as a desirable model for adventure education delivery.

Training where students will work

One of our goals is to have students training in the geographic areas where they may work. Activity courses in the program travel extensively throughout Alberta, British Columbia, and the western United States Students spend approximately 50 percent of the program course time on various trips throughout western North America.

The employment possibilities for graduates of this program are excellent provincially, nationally and internationally. The Adventure Studies Department office currently receives dozens of job offers each year, and many companies have realized the benefits of hiring exclusively from this resource of adventure students. Companies may post job openings with the program, as well as come to TRU to interview prospective candidates for employment.