A series of free courses for land based businesses in the Cairngorms National Park, connecting people with place, are happening across the Park this autumn and winter. All the events are designed to help land managers and others working in the countryside to encourage visitors to identify with the area and appreciate its special qualities.
Organised by the Land Based Business Training Project at the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), the workshops are free to those involved in the management of the land including estates, farms, crofts, forestry operations, outdoor recreation businesses, horticultural nurseries and countryside rangers.
‘Signs for Access’ takes place next week (Wednesday 11 October at Mar Lodge, Braemar and Thursday 12 October in the Glen Hotel Newtonmore) and will give participants an understanding of the role of signage in managing responsible outdoor access. The course looks at the location, design and construction of signs and a site visit will allow people to look at existing signage in situ and evaluate the effectiveness of it.
‘ Tablets of Stone’ takes place on 7 November in the Glen Lui Hotel, Ballater and at Alvie House, Kincraig on the 8 November. The course is about interpretation and getting messages across in writing and is designed to help land managers maximise the role that communication material can play in developing a greater awareness and respect for the Cairngorms area and how to use good written communication as a visitor management tool.
A course on ‘Wildlife: The Value on Your Doorstep’ on 5 and 6 December (venues to be confirmed) will give land managers and others working in the countryside an insight into the growth in wildlife tourism and provide creative ideas for land management businesses who want to diversify into wildlife tourism, in a bid to tap into this increasingly lucrative market. Scotland’s natural heritage is one of its most important tourism assets and demand for seeing and experiencing wildlife and wild places is growing.
In early February a course has been scheduled looking at ‘Visitor Management’. Aimed at land managers, farmers and crofters, this course will show participants how to collect both qualitative and quantitative information about visitors and the benefits of doing so. This will include guidance on the various tools that can be used to establish visitors views as well as how to design and carry out a simple visitor questionnaire and how businesses can use this information.
The Land Based Business Training Project Manager, Kate Christie explained: “We held a course in September called ‘Interpreting Rocks and Landforms of the Cairngorms’, which was very popular and was the first in the series of these training events, which are designed to help land managers encourage people to connect with the area.
“All of these courses are free to land managers because they are helping to deliver public benefits, in this case, raising awareness and understanding of the Park. Places are still available on the workshops, although spaces are limited, so anyone who is interested in attending should get in touch.”
The Land Based Business Training Project is funded by the CNPA and the European Social Fund. The project can part fund courses which will help improve the competitiveness and efficiency of a business such as the use and maintenance of machinery, equipment and vehicles; environmental courses; IT and business skills and health and safety. Fully funded courses are those which deliver public benefits such as the training courses scheduled to take place over the next few months.
Initially set up to encourage all those working on estates, farms, crofts, nurseries, woodlands or those working in the outdoor recreation sector to take up more training opportunities – which are part or fully funded through the scheme – the Land Based Business Training Project is set to expand next year. A new strand to the project ‘ Public Benefits for All ‘ will be piloted in the New Year which will allow anyone living and working in the Park to take part in free courses run by the Land Based Business Training Project.
For more information on the Land Based Business Training project please contact Kate Christie on tel: 01479 870535 / email: [email protected] or Sara Krawczynska on tel: 01479 870537 / email: [email protected]