What is a ‘Green Badge Guide’?
Throughout my website you will find mentions of ‘Green / Blue Badge Guide’ but what exactly does that mean?
In theory, anyone can become a guide in Oxford as here in the UK, unlike other countries, Tourist Guides are not regulated.
This means that you could be taking pot luck when you book a tour, with out a regulating body or any official qualifications required.
The governing body for Tour Guides here in the UK is The Institute of Tourist Guiding (https://www.itg.org.uk).
To become a member of The Institute of Tourist Guiding (or ITG for short), there is an admission process to register for one of the courses that they offer. All candidates are interviewed and then selected for various capabilities displayed at that interview. They would be looking for clarity of speech, presentation skills, calm and customer focussed skilled … to name a few.
Each course is usually run by The Tourist information centre and accredited by the ITG.
There are three levels awarded which are:-
White Badge –
For those thinking of taking up paid or voluntary employment guiding visitors around an attraction such as a stately home, cathedral, museum or theme park, or even a business or industrial estate.
Green Badge –
For those interested in working full or part-time guiding visitors at sites of interest and on walking tours in an area such as a town or city centre or specified countryside area.
Blue Badge –
For those who would like full or part-time work guiding visitors around a region or metropolitan area on walking tours, at sites of interest, and using various methods of transport.
I opted for the Green Badge and this involved an 8 month training programme. I attended lectures, talk and walks conducted by professional such as academics at The University or other Green / Blue Badge guides. Each week we would have a practice walk where we could demonstrate our knowledge and be marked accordingly.
At the end of the training period, we undertook 4 exams (two walking and three written) and it was only on achieving a high grade at all these examinations that we passed. Then we were awarded our ‘Green Badge’ in our presentation held at The Town Hall in Oxford by the patron of The Oxford Guild of Tour Guides, The Lord Major.
Guiding is not just about knowledge. It is also about being able to project your voice, knowing when to lower the volume (when inside a college for example and the students are studying). It is also about group management and ensuring the safety of the entire group.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to be accepted on to the training course and, although there were many times of stress, I look back on it now as a rewarding time.
Training does not simply stop with the presentation of our badges. It goes on. Each year, The Oxford Guild of Tour Guides, runs a Winter training programme to broaden and enhance our knowledge.
Over the 6 years that I have been guiding, I have met many wonderful people from all over the world. I love my job and and I wear my badge with pride. #choosequalified
Dictionary result for qualified
1.officially recognised as being trained to perform a particular job; certified.