Newly qualified tour guides strengthen Mid and East Antrim’s tourism offering

Friday 3 May 2024

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, recently hosted a celebratory event to recognise 21 newly qualified tour guides who trained in Ballymena and Carrickfergus.

Mayor of Mid & East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, presented certificates to newly qualified Tour Guides from both the Ballymena and Carrickfergus areas during a ceremony held at The Braid in Ballymena.  The Mayor was joined by representatives from

To help support and encourage local tourism product development - the tour guides took part in two accredited OCN Level 2 tour guiding courses which ran at night over the Autumn and Winter period, through Northern Regional College (NRC).

The OCN NI Level 2 Award in Tour Guiding qualification equips learners with skills in the travel and tourism industry to enable them to develop a tour commentary and lead groups on a guided tour.

The course assessment method involved the completion and submission of a learner portfolio, covering three key learning outcomes: understanding the role of the tour guide in the travel and tourism industry; producing a concise tour commentary; and comprehending the health and safety implications of tour guiding.

Expressing her pride in the achievements of the 21 newly qualified tour guides, the Mayor remarked: “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 both these courses and to work in partnership with Northern Regional College to ensure that local communities and the hospitality and tourism industry all 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 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, with intriguing towns and villages which can truly be brought to life by these welcoming tour guides.

"We are thrilled to celebrate the local participants successful completion of both OCN Level 2 training courses. This accomplishment not only reflects their commitment to personal development but also their dedication to enhancing Mid and East Antrim’s tourism sector and their local communities.

“In successfully completing this training, they are now armed with the confidence, knowledge and skills to create unique experiences for visitors which will help create long lasting memories of their visit to Mid and East Antrim.  I would like to congratulate each of the tour guides on their achievement and look forward to their valuable contributions in offering unforgettable experiences to visitors and new experiences within the Borough.”

Karen McLeod, Travel and Tourism Lecturer at Northern Regional College, added: "Guiding the next generation of tour guides for Mid and East Antrim through the OCN Level 2 training course has been a pleasure. Witnessing their growth and passion for showcasing the beauty and history of their local areas has been inspiring. I am confident that they possess the knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm to provide exceptional tours. I eagerly look forward to seeing the unique perspectives and experiences they will bring to their tours in the future."

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is committed to up-skilling local people with relevant tour guide qualifications to help the Borough’s tourism industry thrive. In recent years Council, in partnership with NRC, has run 3 other community focused tour guide courses at a number of locations including Carnlough, Whitehead and Ballymena.