How to Train a Tour Guide
Education Officer, Elliot, provides an insight into how we train our Cave Tour Guides.
As a small team, every member of staff at Kents Cavern is valued and brings something unique to the site - from the cooks at Firestone Kitchen, the Front of House team members and the cave Tour Guides.
When you visit Kents Cavern, the person you’ll spend the most time with will be a Tour Guide who will show you around the prehistoric caves. They have a very important job, entertaining and educating visitors whilst also ensuring that everyone is safe.
Our Tour Guides are often the subject of excellent visitor reviews. So how do they do it? What does it take to become a Tour Guide in an award-winning attraction?
Today, our Education Officer, Elliot, gives us an insight into the process of taking a new member of staff and training them up to be an exceptional guide.
HIRING THE RIGHT PEOPLE
We are always lucky enough to receive a very high calibre of applicants for advertised jobs at Kents Cavern. So much so that in our last recruitment drive for Tour Guides, we ended up with three successful candidates instead of the two we had planned.
We are at the stage now where all three are now fully trained staff members and are well integrated into the caves team.
WHAT DOES A CAVE TOUR GUIDE NEED TO KNOW?
Becoming a tour guide at Kents Cavern is no easy task! There is lots to learn, including the names of each chamber in the cave, the route through the cave, how the lighting system operates, what to do if someone needs to leave the cave and how to carry out the morning safety checks.
On top of this, the guides must learn the information that we deliver to public, like how caves are formed, which people and animals lived in the cave in the Stone Age, what Britain was like during the Ice Ages and all about the archaeological excavations at Kents Cavern. They might even pick up a few cheesy jokes along the way!
All of this information is nicely wrapped up in our guide training schedule which takes 4 days to complete.
CAVE TOUR GUIDE TRAINING SCHEDULE
Day 1 is an induction to the Kents Cavern site, followed by health and safety procedures and a brief trip around the cave to talk about the lighting system, which is not only crucial to be able to see in the cave, but also allows our tour guides to signal each other throughout the day. We also cover how to open and close the cave and Woodland Trail as well the emergency procedures in the cave.
After this, each prospective tour guide is assigned to one of our trained guides for days 2, 3 and 4. Over these days, the training staff members operate the lights for each cave tour and take in the information the guide is relaying to the public. Once they feel confident, they can start to deliver parts of the cave tour themselves. Once they have delivered a chamber, they must keep delivering it on tours for the duration of their training, adding a new chamber with each tour until they have delivered a complete cave tour without another guide having to fill in.
When their assigned tour guide is happy with the complete delivery, the new guide will carry out guided tours on their own.
Finally the new Tour Guide is given their very own cave key which is a special moment for all new tour guides, and they have become a member of the Kents Cavern tribe!