On the first day of National Apprenticeship Week, ABTA Education Manager Vicki Wolf says there have never been so many opportunities for young people wanting to get into travel.
“This week is National Apprenticeship Week and for anyone who works in education, HR and training, their social media feeds are going to be filled with articles about apprenticeships.
I have heard that some parents are feeling a little wary about encouraging their children to start a career in travel after the hugely challenging years we’ve been through, but as travel opens up, there have never been so many opportunities for people looking to launch a career in one of the most dynamic and rewarding industries on offer.
I believe strongly there are few sectors that offer the opportunities that a career in travel provides and a lasting lesson of this pandemic for the general public is that knowledgeable and expert travel professional is essential for stress-free holidaying.
We are experiencing an extremely competitive recruitment market, where it’s proving much harder to find staff with the necessary skills and knowledge.
However, you all have access to a highly motivated source of new employees: travel and tourism graduates.
You could even consider taking a university graduate on through an apprenticeship scheme as some of our members have done.
ABTA has 14 Education Partners (12 universities and two colleges) and our experience of their graduates is that they are of an extremely high standard.
Some have already worked in travel businesses as part of their course and many of the students already have retail or customer service experience in other equivalent sectors.
It makes absolute sense to recruit from this pool of graduates.
These are people who have already demonstrated a passion for the travel industry and spent years gaining knowledge and skills giving them a head start over graduates with non-travel related degrees.
While they might not all have the practical knowledge of an established travel professional, they will learn extremely quickly.
At ABTA we know this ourselves through employing travel and tourism graduates over the years and several travel and tourism interns via our education partners.
The theme for the 2022 National Apprenticeship Week is ‘Build the Future’ and this is another avenue for upskilling and retaining existing staff but also for attracting new staff.
Apprenticeships are available at all levels. A person can even do an apprenticeship if they already have a degree and/or years of experience in something else.
Travel is well known for people progressing into a wide range of fields that are very different from that first role.
They might start in sales and end up moving into procurement, marketing, sustainability or HR and training. For anyone learning a new skill, there is bound to be an apprenticeship out there that would match with the skills needed for the new role.
If any of you know a young person considering a career in travel or someone looking to take a new direction in their work life, I would let them know that there are a wide range of options open to them.
If they are coming straight from school, an apprenticeship is a really good option.
They can also approach a training company like Damar Training or Northern Training Academy, which specialise in travel apprenticeships and know many companies looking to take on an apprentice.
You too should approach them to get your name out as a company looking for motivated staff to take advantage of the massive pent-up demand for travel that has built up over the past two years.
There are very few jobs where your purpose is making people happy, helping them to fulfil their dreams and build memories that will last forever.
This is an industry we can all be proud of, which will continue to grow an develop long after the pandemic has become a distant memory.”