Guiding offers a rewarding and varied career for anyone who has a passion for Wales and a desire to communicate and interpret their knowledge with people from all over the world.
The Wales Official Tourist Guides Association will be running courses for people interested in gaining an official qualification as a Tourist Guide at Wales Area Guide (Green Badge) level, with opportunities at a later date to take additional modules aimed at achieving Wales National Guide (Blue Badge) level, the highest standard in the UK.
Wales Green and Blue Badges are awarded by the Welsh Government; furthermore, since 2019, WOTGA has been working with the Federation of European Guide Associations to ensure that the courses are internationally recognized and meet in full the requirements of European Standard EN15565-2008.
The initial courses will lead to a Green Badge qualification which will be valid for one of the following areas:
North Wales – Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Anglesey and Wrexham
South West Wales – Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Neath- Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea
South-East Wales – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan
If you are successful, you will then have the option of continuing on to a course to qualify as a Blue Badge. The Blue Badge will be valid for the whole of Wales.
You’ll cover a wide range of material; the programme is aimed at helping you to:
• Present an effective tour commentary
• Select the most appropriate routes, sites and stopping places for that tour
• Demonstrate an understanding of the area in order to satisfy the interests of visitors
• Work out and maintain an appropriate time schedule
• Have a regard for the health and safety of both the visitors and staff.
• Demonstrate an ability to work both as an individual and as a member or leader of a team
• Demonstrate relevant management skills – dealing with for e.g. late arrivals, bad weather, road closures
• Demonstrate a range of effective and appropriate communication skills
There will be 8 modules:
- Introduction to Professional Tourist Guiding
- The Art of Guiding
- Guiding Skills and Knowledge 1 :Single Site
- Guiding Skills and Knowledge 2: Flexible Walking Route
- Setting up a tourist guiding business
- Background knowledge; Wales, UK and Wales’ principal overseas markets
- Area Specific Guiding Knowledge
- Guiding Knowledge and Skills 3: Flexible route on a Moving Vehicle
As a student you will be expected to acquire a knowledge of a wide range of subjects, including: Physical Geography & Geology – History – Architecture & Landscape Design – Language & Literature – Visual Arts – Performing Arts – Constitution & Government – Monarchy – Multi-culturalism & Religion – The Economy, Agricultural and Industrial, Finance and Taxation – Law – Education – Health and Social Services – Sport – Tourism, Cuisine & Hospitality – Countryside – Housing & Environment – Transport – Science and inventions.
Structure of the course
The face-to-face element of the courses will be organized on a one-day-a-week basis (the day to be decided to suit the candidates selected) from November 2019 to April 2020. There will be holiday breaks, which will be regarded as study leave.
The course will include lectures, tutorials, practice and mentor sessions, web-based learning and assessments. The modules will cover a range of skills and knowledge appropriate to the overall qualification. You will learn to guide groups of people on all types of tours throughout your selected region, including medieval Castles, country estates, local towns, museums, galleries and, of course, full day coach tours in the Welsh countryside. Although you will look at some aspects of British and Welsh history, we will also examine contemporary Welsh life, and how to establish a small business in Wales so that you can achieve your potential as a Professional Tourist Guide.
Training days will be held throughout the regions. The locations selected will give you the opportunity to enhance your understanding of your region.
Sixty per-cent of the course will be made up of private study. In addition to covering the reading material, you will be expected to familiarize yourself with the region where you are guiding.
What you will need:
You will be expected to have access to a computer. As it will be impossible to reach many of the sites via public transport, you should also have the use of a vehicle.
You should have a passionate interest in Wales and all things Welsh as well as IT Skills.
Priority will be given to those candidates who are fluent in a foreign language. Relevant work experience – particularly if you are already working as a guide – and an outdoor activity qualification will also be an asset
You will need to be at least 18 and demonstrate an outgoing personality, smart appearance, physical stamina, good general knowledge, organisational ability, flexibility, a genuine interest in people and the motivation to develop your own business.
Working as a guide
Once awarded your Green Badge, you will have the opportunity to put your newly-acquired skills and knowledge into practice during the 2020 high season.
As a Wales Tourist Guide you will be self-employed and freelance and as such will be responsible for generating your own work and income. WOTGA members work for a variety of clients such as tour operators, cruise ship ground-handlers, conference organizers, corporate clients, public bodies and individual visitors. The amount and type of work undertaken by individual members varies considerably; some members travel with visitors on extended tours of a general or specialist nature, while others do only part-time or local guiding from choice. You may need to be flexible and combine guiding with other work, as demand for guides fluctuates with the seasons and global economic changes.
Joining WOTGA will allow you be on the National Guide List, accessible on the WOTGA website. Whilst we offer a centralized point of contact, we estimate guides receive most of their work from other sources. The majority of members develop good working relationships with various agents and in consequence obtain direct repeat bookings. WOTGA also markets all members through industry contacts and government organizations as well as attending appropriate international trade fairs and promotional activities.
You will need to exhibit enthusiasm, motivation, warmth, confidence, innovation, flexibility, humour, clarity of speech and excellent communication skills. Guiding often involves walking relatively long distances, sometimes over difficult terrain. Candidates should satisfy themselves that they are capable of meeting these requirements.
Some additional words of advice:
The work of a tourist guide is very demanding. Hours can be long, e.g. starting with the arrival of the first aircraft at the airport and ending with a Welsh evening at night, with guiding commentary and courteous customer service throughout the day. Your next assignment may involve getting up early in the morning, travelling for hours to get to the Port where you are scheduled to meet cruise ship guests for a full day excursion.
It is absolutely essential that you enjoy working with people. Understanding the stresses and strains of the traveller – jet lag, lack of sleep, sickness, unfamiliar environment and language, hotel and transport problems, loss of valuables/luggage – is all part of the job of a tourist guide. The guide may be the visitor’s only direct human contact.
The course will last from late November 2019 to May 2020. Final assessments – practical and written – will be carried out at the end of each unit.
The individual course fee will be £1,900 – £600 being payable on registration. We will be happy to accept monthly instalments if this route is requested. The cost will cover admission, tuition, mentoring, assessment and other direct costs incurred in delivering the course. This, of course does not cover your travel to and from the course venue, any overnight accommodation costs, nor the costs of any books or other learning materials you may purchase.
Potential candidates may wish to look into the possibility of funding and support from public bodies. This will obviously depend on their personal circumstances.
A short-list of applicants will be asked to attend a knowledge test and interview. This will include making a brief presentation, without notes, on a pre-assigned tourism topic. Selected candidates will be informed in writing following the interview.
* Interview by representatives of the Interviewing Panel
* Oral Presentation at interview
* Commitment to the programme
This will take account of BS EN15565 Tourism Services – Requirements for the provision of professional tourist guide training and accreditation programmes.
* Core Knowledge of Wales
* Good background knowledge of the UK/Europe/and World history
* Heritage Interpretation and communication skills
* Practical Guiding Skills
* Business skills
* Additional Self-Directed Study
* A continuous programme of directed private study and E-learning
* Practical assessments on coach, on foot and on site
* Written work, oral presentations and tour design projects