“Quark Expeditions only operates in the polar regions—the most unforgiving areas of the world, so safety is our top priority,” said Andrew White, President of Quark Expeditions. “That’s why we created Quark Academy to ensure the highest level of training in the industry.”
With the launch of Quark Academy in 2017, Quark Expeditions became the first polar expedition company to institute its own proprietary polar training program. The underlying goal was to establish standard levels of training and safety that surpassed anything else offered in the industry—for the ultimate benefit of our guests and for the protection of the polar regions we visit.
The Most Engaged, Most Experienced, and Best Trained Staff in the Industry
Under the auspices of Quark Expeditions’ specialized Team Engagement & Development unit, Quark Academy ensures all new team members meet Quark Academy’s rigorous guiding and safety standards before going out into the field. New team members are drilled in the basic procedures of operations, guiding, navigating, operating Zodiacs, how to observe wildlife in a non-disruptive manner, radio use and procedures and GPS use. Team members are instructed in everything from knot tying and man-overboard rescue to off-loading ship safety procedures and overseeing shore excursions.
The curriculum taught by our seasoned instructors at the Quark Academy Centre in Ushuaia, Argentina, includes a full range of hard skills such as emergency preparedness, appropriate gear, technical and practical competence and soft skills like the importance of being culturally aware, storytelling, interpretation, awareness of guests’ social, emotional and physical needs.
All participants at Quark Academy are fully immersed in the rules and regulations set out by the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) and the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). AECO is dedicated to managing responsible, environmentally friendly and safe tourism in the Arctic and strives to set the highest possible operating standards in the Arctic. IAATO advocates and promotes the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. Quark Academy ensures that all Expedition Staff know these two ‘polar bibles’ intimately—and pass requisite AECO and IAATO exams before heading into the field.
Current and seasoned expedition team members also benefit from Quark Academy. “Continued training and development is a crucial part of our ethos,” said Niki Trudeau, Director, Expedition Team Engagement & Development. “Guests traveling with Quark Expeditions can be assured that they’re exploring the polar regions with the best-trained guides working in the polar regions.”