12-week course will create 'chauffeur guides'

Taxi drivers in the classroom Credit: ITV News

Visitors to the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta Blyth 2016 this summer will be able to navigate around the county using a taxi service with a difference.

A new training scheme, run by Active Northumberland and Northumberland College, aims to help taxi drivers boost their skills and knowledge to become 'chauffeur guides'.

On completion of the 12-week course, drivers will become approved Northumberland Chauffeur Guides and Ambassadors for Northumberland ready to take visitors on customised tours of the county.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to attend the Regatta during the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Credit: ITV News

Councillor Val Tyler, Cabinet member for Arts, Leisure and Culture at Northumberland County Council, said: "Tourism is the second biggest employer in the county and it's fantastic that our taxi drivers are going the extra mile to boost their skills and knowledge.

"We really would like our visitors to have the best experience possible when they come here for the Tall Ships and using a chauffeur guide will be a great way of exploring England's most rural county.

Drivers from Blyth-based Union Taxis are the first in Northumberland to take the course and will be awarded a NCFE Level 2 in Travel and Tourism.

Graham Cavener from Union Private Hire, Blyth, said: "This is just the beginning of a new and exciting journey - it's a first for us and something that can really help Northumberland residents and visitors to enjoy our beautiful county."