11 Dec

Apprenticeships in travel: essential update

Author: Vicki Wolf, Education Manager, ABTA and Member, The Travel Skills & Quality Board

Apprenticeships make good business sense in terms of productivity, investing in future talent and staff retention. They give companies the chance to train and develop staff, while also ensuring they are getting on the job experience. Research from the National Apprenticeship Service indicates that 80% of companies who invest in apprentices report an increase in staff retention. 

At ABTA we work closely with a number of universities and colleges to build links with our Members. We have also actively promoted apprenticeships as a route into the industry and a method of addressing skills shortages. ABTA worked closely on developing the Travel Consultant Apprenticeship, which is now producing graduates who are entering their careers as fully trained travel consultants. The new apprenticeship covers both leisure and business travel and lasts 12-24 months depending on previous qualifications. As well as these consultants, ABTA Members are training a wide range of apprentices in HR, finance, IT, digital marketing, management and engineering to name but a few.

Recently the standard for the first apprenticeship for commercial airline pilots was approved, providing a great opportunity to open this career path to those who may not have had access historically, and further demonstrating the value of apprenticeships. ABTA Members were key in developing this apprenticeship and standard over several years, with input from across the aviation industry. They really are to be congratulated on their hard work.

Details on ABTA Partners and training provider Partners who can assist ABTA Members with their apprenticeships can be found on our Education hub, where we include links to government websites, including the devolved nations. While the funding regime may differ, the principles and benefits of employing an apprentice remain the same throughout the UK. A number of ABTA’s Education Partners offer apprenticeships, including degree level apprenticeships. Working with a Partner University to offer a degree apprenticeship is a great way to upskill existing staff or offer a structured degree career pathway to both existing and new staff. Additional support is available from the Government’s recently launched Fire It Up campaign, visit www.apprenticeships.gov.uk for more information. 

In 2020 the Government plans to launch T-Levels, new technical qualifications which will help address skill shortages and improve industry engagement with schools and colleges. These will be equivalent to three A levels and will attract UCAS points enabling entry to university. They are aimed at being on a par with A levels and will focus on particular skills. Expert speakers at ABTA’s seminar will provide an update on where they see the opportunity for travel businesses, ahead of the first phase which includes courses in digital skills. The more the travel industry engages with young people, the more attractive the travel industry will become as a career choice. For more information on T-levels and how you can get involved go to www.tlevels.gov.uk

ABTA's Apprenticeships in the Travel Industry seminar will provide further guidance and industry case studies of companies, large and small, who have developed apprenticeship programmes across their travel businesses. This seminar will also provide an essential update from the Education and Skills Funding agency, as well as provide you with an opportunity to network with peers and discuss common issues.

The event is taking place on 29 January 2020 at De Vere West One (9-10 Portland Place, W1B 1PR), to register your place and for further details please visit click here