Aimed at existing and developing trainers, the course was designed to improve trainers’ skills and provide a space to share their experiences. We were led by Valya Stergioti, IE’s Training Coordinator, and Thorsten Ludwig, IE Managing Director, and hosted by Markus Blank, IE Managing Director who works at the National Park. The participants were trainers for the Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) and Certified Interpretive Host (CIH) courses and for the developing Certified Interpretive Planner (CIP) course.

In the beautiful setting of the park’s campground, surrounded by limestone and dolomite mountains and the burbling river Enns, we reviewed the meaning and purposes of heritage interpretation and sharpened our skills in training others to deliver engaging and exciting interpretation programmes.

We began by reviewing the many ‘triangle’ models where people, place and the interpreter can engage to make their own connections with places and develop greater meaning about its stories and features. We discussed how meaning can be developed by using frames and values, where frames can help provide contexts and values help to develop perceptions. We checked out how we can provide better quality for IE training, thought about different paradigms for education and discussed how the brain works (or doesn’t work!) in different situations.

We then spent valuable time analysing how we can make IE courses more effective in delivering IE’s core values and goals, and understanding the many steps that can be taken to deliver a great course. We also considered the many challenges that can be encountered during courses and how we can deal with them.

Altogether, a great time was had by all and by the end, we were more confident with our trainer roles and felt we could deliver better courses.

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, we then had two more days of thought-provoking activity – a day upgrading the CIG course and reviewing the CIH course, and a more informal day of sharing trainers’ thoughts and experiences. The CIG trainer upgrade is the last stage for IE trainers that are Certified Interpretive Guides. The CIH review assessed the details of the course and considered how these could be improved. After a long day of throwing ideas around the room we ended up with a course plan that we felt could really help tourism businesses, accommodation providers and tour operators provide heritage interpretation in exciting ways.

The final day was a bit more informal – sharing thoughts and experiences in training, and revelling in the delights of the National Park. We were expertly guided by Markus Blank. We saw some of the management challenges in the Park, including tackling the effects of die-back disease in ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior), and also some of the great things the Park provides to help people develop meaning about this fantastic place.

Peter Seccombe is Co-Director of Red Kite Environment, a UK consultancy specialising in heritage interpretation. He can be contacted at:

To cite this article:
Seccombe, Peter (2018) ‘Certified Interpretive Trainer course’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 3-2018, 15.

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