Tourism Industry Skills Working Group

The Tourism Industry Skills Working Group was established in response to the Department for Education’s update on its review of post-16 qualifications.

The organisations involved in the working group are:

  • ABTA
  • Association for Tourism in Higher Education (ATHE)
  • Aviation Industry Skills Council (AISB)
  • Birmingham Metropolitan College
  • Business Travel Association (BTA)
  • Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT)
  • NCFE (provider of travel and tourism qualifications)
  • Tourism Alliance
  • UKinbound

One of the first roles of the group has been to clarify concerns raised about the future of tourism qualifications at level 3 in recent weeks as communications had been unclear and caused confusion, this is summarised in the fact sheet below. 

The group is now working to establish what the prospects are for further education in travel and tourism in England.

Tourism Education and Skills – Fact Sheet

The aim of this Fact Sheet is to provide clarity to the travel industry and education providers on the future of level 3 travel and tourism qualifications. 

It summarises the situation and potential for future courses as understood, to the best of the knowledge, of those involved in the Education and Skills working group. It will be updated as and when more details or information becomes available. 

The situation

  • In 2021 the Department of Education announced reforms to post-16 education in England. New technical qualifications (T-Levels) will be introduced as well as the current academic option of A Levels and apprenticeships.  The current Level 3 BTEC government-funded qualifications will be eliminated.  
  • In January 2023 the Department of Education released an update that Travel and Tourism and Aviation would lose its present funding eligibility in 2026. There will be no T-Level in Travel and Tourism, or Aviation and new Level 3 Technical Occupational Entry Qualifications will need to be designed and approved for funding for post 16 education. These will be the industry pathway courses that students can pursue at college in the future.
  • The Government’s aim is to continue with A levels but to replace many level 3 qualifications with T levels.
  • Not all subjects are covered by T-levels, travel and tourism included, so in these cases it has been suggested either apprenticeships would fill the gap or new technical qualifications would need to be developed. 
  • City and Guild’s announcement to no longer provide travel and tourism courses after 2025 is a separate matter to the defunding of the courses. There are other providers who still plan to offer travel and tourism courses in the future.

Opportunity to develop future courses

  • The Education and Skills working group understands that there could still be a route to provide alternative technical qualifications. However, these would only be approved if they had industry support and met with certain criteria, as defined by Institute for Apprentices and Technical Education (IFAtE) which is currently responsible for overseeing apprenticeships and will have its remit extended to cover technical qualifications. 
  • Awarding organisation NCFE believes that there potentially is still scope to develop new travel and tourism qualifications using a range of National Occupational Standards (NOS) and believes funding could be made available. However, it is not clear from Government what that could look like, although a further announcement from Government on non-T level courses is expected soon.
  • We understand that the new qualifications could offer more flexibility and that the industry should be able to play an important role working with education providers and awarding organisations in shaping future courses.

Further reading

Guide to the post-16 qualifications landscape at level 3 and below for 2025 and beyond.

The future of post-16 qualifications – Report Summary.