From education to employment

Working Together to Grow the Economy and Develop Tourism

As part of its ongoing commitment to grow the economy and develop tourism potential in the Mid and East Antrim Council area, the Council teamed up with Northern Regional College to deliver free tour guiding training.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, recently hosted a celebratory event to congratulate the ten local people who are now qualified tour guides, having completed the OCN Level 2 Tour Guiding course.

“Growing the economy and developing our tourism potential are two strategic priorities for Council. For that reason, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council were pleased to fund this course and to work in partnership with Northern Regional College, to ensure that local communities and the hospitality and tourism industry have the skills and support needed to grow and make the most of future opportunities. 

“Mid and East Antrim has some of the most beautiful and scenic land and seascapes in Northern Ireland, from the River Bann in the west, to the stunning Causeway Coastal Route in the east and the beautiful Glens of Antrim. It’s an area rich in culture and heritage, which can truly be brought to life by tour guides,” said the Mayor.

She added that the newly qualified tour guides are now armed with the confidence, knowledge and skills to create unique experiences for visitors to help create lasting memories of their visit to Mid and East Antrim.

“Visitors will benefit from their local knowledge of culture and heritage, which enriches their awareness and understanding, and gives them the opportunity to learn things they could never find in a guidebook.  Encouraging visitors to take time to explore our “hidden gems” not only adds value to our local tourism industry but makes their stay much more interesting and worthwhile.”

The OCN NI Level 2 Tour Guiding course was delivered by Northern Regional College Travel and Tourism lecturer, Karen McLeod who explained that the qualification equips people with the necessary skills, knowledge and confidence to develop an interesting tour commentary for visitors to the area.

The OCN Level 2 course, which ran from January to March this year, is one of a wide range of short courses available at Northern Regional College. While there are no exams, participants are assessed on their portfolio of submitted work to show that they had covered the three key learning outcomes, including understanding the role of the tour guide in the travel and tourism industry; producing a concise tour commentary; and understanding the health and safety implications of tour guiding. They were also assessed on their delivery of a tour commentary on their selected topic.

Karen McLeod continued:

“The OCN NI Tour Guiding qualification is an important element of the College’s travel and tourism curriculum.

“It was an absolute pleasure to guide this group of aspiring tour guides through their training. Witnessing their growth and passion for showcasing the beauty and history of Mid and East Antrim has been truly inspiring. I have no doubt that these newly qualified guides possess the knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm to provide exceptional tours that will captivate visitors from near and far.”

A further free OCN Level 2 Tour Guiding course for residents within Mid and East Antrim area is being organised by Council for September 2023 and will run for 8 weeks. Places are limited and set criteria will apply. 

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