Southampton White Badge

Southampton has a long tradition of qualified guiding, White, Green and Blue Badge and the Southampton Tourist Guides Association will in a couple of years reach its fiftieth birthday.

Southampton has a long tradition of qualified guiding, White, Green and Blue Badge and the Southampton Tourist Guides Association will shortly be celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The Southampton Tourist Guides Association have run a number of courses over the years, some independent and some in collaboration with venues who are looking for, primarily, volunteer guides qualified at White Badge level. For local Institute trainers this is also an opportunity to introduce the potential of professional guiding to those exploring this entry level qualification.

The most recent White Badge Courses were in response to the needs of the outreach and community engagement programme for the venue God’s House Tower who wished to engage with local communities to explore Southampton’s early black history. Aspace, the organisation which operates God’s House as an arts and heritage venue, knew that they would need specialist help to meet their objective of creating a circular tour on the subject and to train volunteers to be able to lead the tours in a professional way.

The benefits offered to the volunteers was that their course would be subsidised and that they would have a recognised national qualification in recognition of their work and commitment to the programme. The benefit to the site was that they could offer a new opportunity to visitors and to locals to find out an aspect of the history of Southampton that was virtually unknown and unrepresented in the long story of the port as well as the positive PR in regard to their commitment to volunteer training and development.

Course participants enthusiastically engaged with the in-depth learning and the structured course process. Course graduates have gone on to deliver a successful programme of walks during Black History Month and beyond and they have been extremely well received by the public.

The Institute provides a clear training profession path and the plan is to support these guides on the next step to a guiding career with a potential Green Badge course. Pre-pandemic a combined White/Green Badge syllabus provided White Badge guides with the opportunity to pause their studies or move smoothly onto the next phase; 15 chose to do so and are now able to undertake a range of city walks, meet and greets for both the general public, organised groups and tour operators.

We believe the Institute programme offers good outcomes for sites and for participants and can see the potential and value of the White Badge training for a range of sites - small and large as well - as an excellent method of enabling a broad range of participants to get a taste of the joy and pleasure of guiding as well as raising the potential of guiding as a full time career.

Dr Cheryl Butler MITG - Course Director, Southampton White Badge