Silversea Cruises announced it recently held its second Expedition Leadership Training Academy, both on land and aboard the Silver Discoverer.
A small group of trainees, each with specialist knowledge in an expedition-related field, met in Durban, South Africa, on December 7, 2018, to start their training.
On January 22, 2019, the group disembarked Silversea’s ship in Chennai, India, and Silversea welcomed eight new members to the cruise line’s expedition team, after almost seven weeks of intensive preparations, according to a statement.
The program started with an experience in a Zulu village where the eight team members developed a understanding for cultural sensitivity when visiting a remote community.
Subsequently, led by the Wilderness Leadership School, the group spent three nights remote camping in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and Game Reserve, a massive 96,000-hectare wildlife park in the heart of Zululand.
While based in this setting, the group worked on the development of skills such as situational awareness, on-foot risk assessments, incident prevention, group management, effective communication strategies, conflict resolution, management of emergency scenarios, and orienteering.
“The experience in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi served as a solid foundation in the theories and best practices of being a strong wilderness guide and natural history interpreter,” said Kit van Wagner, Silversea’s Director of Expedition Training and Staff Development. “Exposure to the Zulu culture and traditional knowledge of the landscape served to give our trainees an intimate understanding of these people and their place on the planet. Our Expedition Teams share similar experiences with our guests and these trainees now know how best to deliver an authentic interaction.”
Onboard the Silver Discoverer, the new team shadowed existing team members over a six-week program that focused on core competencies, such as boat handling skills in difficult conditions, seamanship, emergency drills and other scenarios. Attention was given to cross-training in various academic disciplines, environmental and ecological knowledge and cultural sensitivity and more.
“By recruiting ambitious, multilingual individuals with a graduate degree or equivalent life experience, the goal of the program is to bring new perspectives, enlightened minds, and solidly trained staff members to our expedition ships and thereby further enhance the expedition experiences offered aboard and ashore,” continued van Wagner. “The latest cohort has emerged from the Expedition Leadership Academy with guiding, customer service and group management skills honed; ideas for lectures and evening recaps solidified and developed; and, above-all, an enhanced comprehension of the complex operational protocols involved in safely and carefully hosting our guests on authentic experiences world-wide.”
The eight trainees who have now been recruited to Silversea’s industry-leading Expedition Team include a Physical Geographer, a Historian, a Wildlife Biologist and Naturalist, a specialist in International Studies and Anthropology, an Ecologist and Conservationist, a Marine Biologist, an expert in Tourism and Sustainability, and a General Naturalist and Master Mariner. Each has now returned home and is preparing for their first contract aboard a Silversea ship.