In June we piloted a REC level two first aid course with a focus on altitude with the local partner we use for our Kilimanjaro tours.
We sourced a doctor who has specialised high altitude knowledge and flew him, together with Jonathan May – one of our Operations Managers - out to Moshi, Tanzania. The training consisted of two days of general first aid with practical scenarios and then a third day entirely focused on altitude education.
To ensure there was a real focus on first aid and altitude, we not only trained the Explore Tour Leaders, we also trained the most promising guides and the operations director. As far as I am aware, we are the first overseas company to invest in Kilimanjaro leaders in this way. This did not mean the candidates were overawed or intimidated by the training; in fact, it meant the complete opposite. They were very grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills and instantly recognised how it will help them become better Tour Leaders.
This recognition creates confidence, which is one of the most important characteristics of a Tour Leader. We invest in training that will ensure our customers are in safe hands on Kilimanjaro; but we are also investing in the local community. In all countries - particularly in Africa - the only way a community will prosper is through education. Hopefully this training will reinforce this idea and also encourage other members of the community to seek out educational opportunities.
Dr Matt Ladbrook, the course trainer, fondly referred to the candidates as the “Kilimanjaro Mountain Rescue Team”. The more he used the phrase the more the guys aspired to that label. Not only do we now have the best trained leaders on the mountain, they are also some of the happiest and loyal.
By Jonathan May, Operations Manager