Are you interested in becoming a tour guide? The National Tour Guiding Programme is a QQI Level 6 qualification for those who wish to train as a Tour Guide. This course combines practical tour guiding skills with the theoretical knowledge to enable learners to provide guiding and tour management services for tourists. You will explore the historic, cultural and social aspects of the city and the region. You will learn how to provide a commentary and organise and manage a tour. Practical experience will be gained through a series of simulated guided tours. This course meets the criteria for the Failte Ireland Industry Qualified Tour Guide Directory. The National Tour Guide Badge is issued to successful students upon graduation.
The delivery of this programme is by interactive webinar sessions and online learning allowing you the flexibility to study from a location convenient to you. Webinars are recorded allowing you the opportunity to catch up should you miss a session. As well as webinars you will gain practical experience by attending a number of guided tours with your classmates. There is an easy payment plan designed to make this course affordable for you. These factors, together with the one to one tutorial support, offer you a course that is accessible, affordable and achievable.
Why should I study this course?
The tourism industry is one of the largest and ever-changing sectors in the world. It accounts for a third of global services trade and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. The industry and employment opportunities available are wide and varied if you like travelling, meeting new people every day or working outdoors.
This programme is ideally suited to a person seeking flexibility with a career where they can choose the times of the year they wish to work. The main tourist season is from March to October however with rising tourist numbers, tour guides can now avail of employment opportunities all year round.
Portobello Institute has been training professionals for the Travel & Tourism sector for over 25 years. Our QQI level 6 National Tour Guiding award gives you the opportunity to learn from a range of experts. The tutor team are all experienced industry professionals who can offer superior insight into what it takes to gain employment in this exciting industry. Portobello Institute supports students with their efforts to gain employment as tour guides by introducing them to the major tour operators. Many past graduates have been recruited directly from this programme by the main tour operators in Ireland.
Upon completion of this programme you will hold QQI Level 6 Special Purpose Award in National Tour Guiding 6S20232 with 45 credits.
The primary focus of this programme is to prepare you for employment in the travel and tourism sector. This course is broad based with opportunity to gain an insight into the many facets of the sector from tourism to the operation of an airline, working in a travel agency to being a tour operator are all covered during this programme.
The purpose of this programme is to provide you with the knowledge, skill and competence to work effectively as a tour guide. You will gain a strong understanding of the role and responsibilities of the tourist guide in the context of the Irish tourism industry and develop key skills in customer care and interaction. You will also develop an understanding and appreciation of Irish cultural, built and natural heritage, which is key to your future role as a tour guide.
You will gain the knowledge, skill and competence to manage tours including all travel and transfers within different tour contexts. You will study the principles of tour management and devise commentaries and itineraries for coach and walking tours including a range of different contexts throughout Ireland. You will gain the practical skills needed to manage tours to a professional standard, implementing appropriate administration procedures and demonstrating appropriate safety procedures.
During the course you will complete the following modules;
Module 6N20229 – Irish Tour Guiding
- Introduction to tourism and tour guiding.
- Structure of the Irish Tourism Industry.
- Attributes of a tour guide.
- Main tourist markets and types of tourists.
- Irish Architecture and Buildings.
- Irish Vernacular Architecture.
- Tour Planning
- Customer Handling Skills.
- Communication Skills.
Module 6N20230 – National Tour Management
- Tour Management – logistics, administration, scheduling, itineraries, team working
- Group Management to include diverse populations
- Health and Safety
- The ‘Jogger Note’
- Communication Skills
- First Aid
Module 6N20231 Irish Natural Heritage and Culture
- Essential local information (banking hours, post offices, food and drink, shopping, leisure pursuits, entertainment etc)
- Historic sites and buildings
- Architectural heritage
- Geography and key physical features
- Agriculture and forestry
- Fishing and maritime heritage
- Flora and fauna
- The local economy/socio-demographics of the region
- Leisure pursuits and amenities
- Folklore / myth / storytelling
- Famous people associated with the area
- Performing arts
- Literature (songs/poets/writers/language)
- Derivation of Irish place name
- Other (to allow the tutor to include other topics specific to their area of interest and which is not included on this indicative list)
This course has been specifically re-designed for delivery by online learning with live interactive webinar sessions and practical on-site familiarisation trips. It is very suited to you if you have a busy work and home life and want to fit study around this. During the induction, you will be given your log-in details to the online portal, “ePortobello”. Here you will find course notes, reading lists, articles of interest and assessment guidelines. The content is structured in an easy to “find and follow” format. You will need basic computer skills such as searching the internet and typing a word document. The webinars are scheduled two evenings a week on the same evening to give structure to your learning journey and encourage you to continue to progress through the programme.
Alongside webinars there are also 5 weekend dates (either Saturday or Sunday) where students participate in practical tour guiding sessions to gain experience delivering and managing a tour.
Webinars take place two evenings a week for the duration of the course. Webinars are recorded and should you miss a session, you can catch up with the recorded session at a later date. You will only be able to access webinars of the group you are assigned to. There are also six sessions that take place on a Saturday. These sessions are for field trips.
What is a Webinar?
A webinar, in the context of online learning, is a lecturer delivering a presentation or class online to a group of students. We use specifically designed e-learning software so you can participate in the class just as if you were present in the same room. You can ask a question of the lecturer at any stage during the class. The software is designed with “break-out rooms” where you can discuss a topic or complete a group exercise with a smaller group from your class. You will need a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone that has internet connection, an audio facility so you can hear and speak during the class and a camera so your lecturer and fellow class participants can see you. The webinar is a secure online environment and only those permitted entry by the lecturer can gain access to the “classroom”. Webinars are recorded during each session and should you miss a session, you can catch up with the recorded session at a later date. You will only be able to access webinars of the group you are assigned to.
You can email your tutor at any stage during the module to ask a simple query or submit a draft of your assessment. Our programme management team are always available to offer you telephone and email support and if you need to, you can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance.
Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion. This level of one to one support is a particular benefit to choosing this mode of study. Portobello Institute has invested in a team of programme managers and tutors who are experienced sports therapy practitioners as well as qualified and knowledgeable educators. They are available to assist you at every stage of this programme.
There are five tour guiding sessions in all.
The first is often a common tour delivered in a common area such as a walking tour of your closest major city. It will go through the main sites along a planned route and will give you the how and why a route such as that was selected.
The second might be a lesser known tour in the event that your regular route is cut off by unforeseen circumstances (city roadwork) or a foreseen but unavoidable situation (a parade).
The third may go through guiding a tour indoors and the differences required in how you port yourself in a museum-like setting.
The fourth and the fifth will bring you on a coach tour outside of your regular area and go through not only delivering a tour on a coach, but also keeping groups together, giving strict deadlines for return, meeting points, etc. The fifth tour will repeat much of the fourth, by design, since the role itself will require repeating the same information many times over. It is also important to reinforce this type of tour since it is by far the most common.
How will I be assessed?
A variety of assessment methods are used to support students with different learning styles. These vary from written reports to practical case studies to examinations. We encourage you to reflect on your knowledge gain with a number of assignments designed to explore your learning journey. All of these assessment methods are seeking to support you to combine theory with scenario-based learning and how to practically implement these methods into your everyday practice.
The role of a Tour Guide
- Manage the experience in a positive and safe manner with control over important aspects of the tour and put redundancy plans in place.
- Inform through storytelling and tactile involvement in what should be an honest but favourable picture of the country/area.
- Entertain your guests and leave them with a memorable and enjoyable experience they will share with others.
- Safety is paramount so keep it in mind throughout your planning and the execution of your tour.