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Blueprint for Tourism Sectoral Skills: Applying the principles globally

02 Aug 2022
Jane Rexworthy, Executive Director, People 1st International

Last month the first Pan-European Skills Blueprint for the Tourism Industry was released by the Next Tourism Generation (NTG) Alliance, a partnership between 14 partners, from academia, private and public sector active in the education/training field and tourism subsectors, including People 1st International.

The Blueprint provides a roadmap for addressing digital, social and green skill needs in the tourism sector in Europe through transformational collaboration between industry, education, social partners and government.

Several of the principles contained within the policies are already being applied in tourism destinations globally to help develop workforce skills. Here we explore some examples from the recent projects we’ve been working on.

Facilitating and strengthening cooperation and exchange of good practices in the tourism sector

Bringing a new vision of skills collaboration and partnerships in tourism, the Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills highlights the skills strategies and actions that influence growth, innovation and competitiveness in the sector through national and European partnerships.

In a recent project in Uganda with Enabel, we’ve shared international best practice on the approaches to design, develop and implement a sustainable Sector Skills Council (SSC) model for the tourism sector. This has supported the Uganda Tourism & Hospitality SSC (T&HSSC) in its setup to enhance the importance for skills development in the sector and shift from supply to a more demand-led training. Exchanging good practices from other countries and sectors has enabled us to work with the T&HSSC to develop occupational standards and job profiles, plus to define a roadmap for the T&HSSC to input into standards and qualifications and a curriculum development plan. After establishing that digital marketing is a critical skill need facing the sector, we have also adapted and contextualised a training programme on digital marketing skills that was originally used in the UK tourism and hospitality sector.

Upskilling and reskilling in the tourism sector, promoting a culture of lifelong learning for all

Identifying skills needs and supporting skills development is one of the Pact for Skills in Tourism, which was officially launched in 2022 and is addressed in the Blueprint.

Tourism was one of the sectors hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic. Challenges like lockdowns, restrictions and consumer confidence led to uncertainty, loss of productivity and skills shortages. Many of our recent projects have been designed to turbo-charge the sector’s recovery and ensure businesses and individuals came back more resilient to future challenges. Upskilling has been supported in a variety of areas, including:

•  Management skills for head chefs and aspiring head chefs in Scotland: Over 60 head chefs and aspiring head chefs across Scotland have developed the knowledge and skills needed to manage, motivate and retain staff effectively through our Chef Management & Leadership Training Programme, funded by Skills Development Scotland.

• Boosting digital skills for businesses in Buckinghamshire: On behalf of Business Buckinghamshire First, we developed and delivered a series of training courses to help develop digital skills of tourism and hospitality businesses to cover topics including boosting online presence, digital marketing, social media and managing online customer reviews.

• Supporting the restaurant industry in Jordan: To promote quality employment opportunities and support for a more inclusive job market, we’ve developed information materials and training courses for the employer members of the Jordan Restaurant Association (JRA), as well as delivering a dedicated online job brokerage platform, supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Establishing a tourism strategy for the recovery of the sector, supporting, creating and taking concrete steps towards sustainability and resilience

The Blueprint strategy seeks to address the skills needs of the sector, focusing on the recovery and the resilience of tourism in the next 10 years.

As many destinations globally begun planning their recovery following the disruption caused by the pandemic, we undertook rapid assessment research in Latin America & the Caribbean on behalf of the Inter-American Development Bank to develop a COVID-19 technical vocational education and training strategy and roadmap. Our approach addressed the critical impact and pressure on key industries including hospitality and tourism and provided agile and swift skills solutions that were scalable to address the challenges.

Education and skills development for sustainability

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an important global development policy and aims for a future anchored in sustainability. It includes goals on the promotion of quality education and knowledge and skills development to support sustainability, including promoting the appreciation of cultural diversity and enabling gender equality.

Working with partners Majid Al Futtaim Group (MAF), EFE-Egypt and EBRD we’ve helped established a new training facility – ARTC – at City Centre Almaza, Egypt. The facility targets young people and people with disabilities to develop their skills for industries that form part of the wider visitor economy including hospitality and retail. Having fulfilled an assessment of the market needs and defined an operable business model, the facility has been operationalised with plans for its sustainable functioning into the future.

This work built on a similar project in Jordan for the wider visitor economy to develop fully functional recruitment and training centre to support youth inclusion, providing training and career guidance for young Jordanians in hospitality and retail and to support the integration of refugees into the local economy in Jordan.

Promoting access to education, life-long learning and training in tourism

The Blueprint aims to develop opportunities in the sector by facilitating lifelong learning, employability and participation in the tourism sector. It addresses the transition to a green and digital future, setting a collaborative framework to enable the transformation for sustainable best practices, build transversal skills, generating employability and adapting the workforce for the needs of the industry.

Through a proejct we’ve undertaken in Sri Lanka, we’ve been supporting a transition to a green future. We’ve helped the state skills sector to adopt green standards and practices to become globally compliant and industry relevant.  On behalf of the VET Toolbox , we’ve shared UK insights, experience, and means to develop capacities of partners in embedding and practicing green principles in education and training. The project has developed a standardised approach to green skills delivery in TVET institutions in Sri Lanka and an outline for an online Professional Development Programme and framework, informed by green standards and frameworks in the UK and internationally.


The examples we’ve highlighted demonstrate what can be achieved through a collaborative approach to skills development, taking on many of the principles outlined in the Pan-European Skills Blueprint for the Tourism Industry. Where adopted and taken forward successfully, the Blueprint formulates a structured approach to addressing the digital, green and social skills needs of the tourism sector.

Find out more about the Pan-European Skills Blueprint for the Tourism Industry at

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