Andrew Peacock, you manage the Melbourne University Outdoors by JamiePeacock


									Andrew Peacock talks about how the Melbourne University Outdoors Program works.

Interview conducted by Claire O’Boyle

Andrew Peacock, you manage the Melbourne University Outdoors Program, can you tell
us a bit about it?

Ok Claire, it’s a series of field trips designed specifically for Study Abroad and Exchange.
That’s where it started. It’s open to the entire University now, it’s an extra curriculum program,
designed to help enhance peoples time here in Australia and get them out and really see and
immerse themselves in Australian flora and fauna and culture.

Its got a number of field trips, anything from afternoon trips on the Yarra river doing some
kayaking to day trips, Philip Island, the Dandenongs, a number of day trips, 2 day trips to
Wilson’s Prom. The Great Ocean Road, we do a number of bush walks, with introductory level,
intermediate and advanced, from 2 days, 3 days and up to 6 days, walks around Australia. And
then up to our 10 day field trips. So, we work on the East Coast, the West Coast, Central
Australia and then all the way up to Darwin.

Who is eligible to go on these field trips?

Anyone enrolled at Melbourne University, whether they be students or staff, postgrads,
undergrads - everybody.

I imagine that Duty of Care arrangements for these field trips must be complex, can you
describe the key duty of care procedures that students must undertake before taking on
these programs?

Ok, yes, it is complex, and, we like to look at these two parts to the process, one is, for the
students, and one is, from the management within our office.

So, from the management within our office, we’ve got to figure out where we’re going to go,
how we’re going to get there, and who’s going to go, so that really takes in the forms of the risk
assessment process which we have some stand alone processes, because we’re quite
complex in the range of activities that we do. And then we work in with the University
processes. So, the first thing is, that risk assessment process so we can figure out where we
can go, who can go, who’s going to run the activity, the requirements of staff, then, for us, a big
thing is , working with the students before, they go away on the field trip and it’s very important
to have the students in the right frame of mind. To know what they’re signing up for, and to
have them prepared for that. So, we have a series of pre-trip briefings, that students must
attend, depending on the type of activity, the more remote, type activities, for the longer
durations will have a more intensive pre-trip briefing which is a good opportunity for us to
educate the students as best we can in the requirements for them and also for those guys to
ask us any questions that they, questions and concerns that they may have before we actually
get them out on the field trip. All, all the real work is done a long time before you go away.

So, in the risk management side, obviously, there’s a series of forms there, there’s really a 3 rd
part to the process as well and that’s our field staff, and giving them the right information and
the right support whilst they’re in the field as well.

Do you have any tips for staff setting up off campus activities?

July 2008
Learn the process, I think. Yeah. The University is now on top of the process, the information is
there. But, they have to learn to pre-empt it, to not, just see it as ticking the boxes because
they’re, the forms, and the processes, really do help, and they help you. By the time we get in
the field that’s the easy part.

Thank you Andrew.

Melbourne University Outdoors Program

July 2008

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