The Jersey Tour Guides Association (JTGA) welcomed a host of new members recently as 11 student guides qualified for their Bronze Badge award.
The successful students first began training in early 2020, anticipating a ten-week course designed for those new to guiding or wanting to improve existing guiding skills. COVID-19 and its associated lockdown quickly intervened, however, leading to a considerably changed and much longer delivery programme.
Any earlier frustrations and uncertainties were forgotten as the students attended a graduation ceremony held at St Helier Yacht Club on 20 May 2021. The event, which included a congratulatory speech by Visit Jersey CEO Amanda Burns, saw the new guides receive certificates and their personalised Bronze Badges.
‘The Class of Bronze 2020 is such a special one,’ comments course coordinator Remi Couriard, ‘and in so many ways. Gaining a Bronze Badge award is challenging enough. But this class had to cope with the trials of COVID lockdown, a move to online learning for a time and lengthy delay in completing group activities due to ongoing restrictions.
‘Despite all this, I’m pleased to say this class was one of the best I’ve ever worked with. The passion, vigour, resilience and sense of purpose on display has been second to none.’
The Bronze Badge course, which received 47 applications on this occasion, is normally a mix of classroom-based learning and practical activities.
Participants study a range of subjects, including Jersey’s history, its constitution and politics, and its natural and built environments. There is also focus on guiding approach, technique and professionalism.
‘We selected 17 students for this course, of which 11 decided to complete the full Bronze Badge award,’ continues Mr Couriard, who is a qualified Blue Badge Guide. ‘With them now rests an opportunity, and responsibility, to show-off our beautiful island to both locals and visitors. Never more so than now, as the dreadful impact of Covid eases and we begin opening our borders again.
‘With this in mind, my utmost gratitude goes to Amanda Burns and the Visit Jersey team for the support they provided to the course. And to my fellow JTGA members who both helped organise and deliver the training. It was a real team effort.’
Several of the new Bronze Badge Guides have already begun offering walks and tours including guiding for some of the St Helier Parish walks season which starts on 21 July 2021, while others are planning to do so as this year’s season develops.