Travel Weekly 9 Feb 07

Trade needs to support each other

Recent features in Travel Weekly expose both shortcomings and contradictions in the industry’s attitude to training. On one hand we bemoan the lack of action on behalf of the travel sector within People First, yet on the other hand we are unable to get the Accredited Travel Professional scheme off the ground, apparently because of lack of interest.

This is because of the lack of a strong and authoritative voice. Membership of organisations and attendance of events is high, but the number of organisations also fragment the industry.

Lack of effective leadership might be a reason for travel’s raw deal within People First. It is also a contributory factor in the failure of ATP, apparently being ignored by the biggest travel companies who believe they provide better training.

Many other industries now have an approved national qualifications framework with National Occupational Standards (NOS) which define the necessary core skills required. It is the role of People First to move this forward but they may not do so if they feel that large sectors of travel will simply ignore them, as has happened with ATP.

Training is crucial and will allow future managers and entrepreneurs to flourish. If the investment is not made, talented young people will leave the industry and recruitment and salary costs will land organisations with still greater overheads.

At Capela we offer professional qualifications in tourism marketing. Around 50% of our students are funded by their employer, the rest fund themselves. In other industries such as telecoms or financial services, students are 90% employer-funded. Not one student to date has been funded by the Big Four in this pursuit of their personal development. This attitude to training needs to change.

Richard Carrick is right – we must get involved with People First and bring pressure for more action. But first we must decide whether we actually want a well trained workforce.

Gary Grieve
Capela Travel Training