Maritime Heritage Guide Training
The SLLP accredited Maritime Heritage Guide course was a huge success and over thirty local people received World Host City and Guilds' Certificates and an Open College Network (OCN) Certificate on completion.
Some of those pople are now regularly employed to give guided tours in the area and some went on to get Blue Badge Guide qualifications.
The courses let people share their interest in our maritime history, wildlife, buildings and special sites and perhaps set up a part-time business.
Many people just wanted to give tours and presentations for their community, school or other groups, and the course helped build up knowledge and stories and also gave people the techniques, confidence and practical skills to lead a group as well as entertain them.
The Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership commissioned specialist guiding trainers, to deliver the courses in Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel. No previous qualifications or experience was required.
The Draft Tourism Strategy for Northern Ireland to 2020 sets out growth targets to increase our visitor numbers to 4.5 million, the employment supported by tourism to 50,000 jobs, and the revenue generated by tourism to £1 billion for the Northern Ireland economy. This is a growth industry and there are many opportunities for guiding visitors, especially for anyone with a second language skill.
Knowing more about our heritage and passing on that knowledge is also of vital importance to communities and our sense of place.
This Heritage Guide Training is part of a wider initiative led by the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership (SLLP) to develop Maritime Heritage Tourism in and around the fishing communities at Portavogie, Ardglass and Kilkeel. It was funded by the European Union and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development through Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund administered by the South East Area European Fisheries Fund