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New members sought for Travel Skills and Quality Board to support growth of apprenticeships in the industry

10 Feb 2022
People 1st International

As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2022, businesses are continuing to welcome easing of restrictions and the buzz and excitement of the opening of travel.

The scale of the operation to get travel businesses, their supply chain and their support structures up and running to meet capacity is unprecedented. The challenges are a direct result of significant restructures during the height of the pandemic – a shift from place based office working to home working and a real shortage of talent to fill the thousands of vacancies has created new priorities.

“Apprenticeships are more important than ever to rebuild a sustainable workforce pipeline that we can invest in, retain and progress and so we’ve refreshed our apprenticeship package and we’re confident we can attract the right talent. The market has shifted the rules of engagement with talent and our best approach is to grow our own through apprenticeships, driving loyalty, commitment and a true desire to stay within the organisation and build a real career.”says Nicky Duffy, Head of Operations South at Clarity Business Travel.

Re-evaluating recruitment strategies and approaches to workforce development has been a key priority for Advantage Travel Partnership members and Sarah Miller, reflects:

“We’ve lost some remarkable talent from our industry through such turbulent times which has destabilised the sector and put such pressure on front line employees. Whilst the short-term plan is to recruit experienced travel staff, the reality is that our members are seeking people with strong service and sales experience from any sector.”

The level 3 travel consultant apprenticeship is ideal to build the right skills, knowledge and behaviours to become competent in role. Before the pandemic, the number of starts on this apprenticeship was growing from strength to strength and members of the Travel Skills and Quality Board are rightly proud of the work undertaken in partnership with People 1st International to make sure the employer was at the heart of the creation of this standard.

Vicki Wolf, ABTA’s Education Manager and a member of the Travel Skills and Quality Board, comments: “We’ve been supporting ABTA Members who are asking for help with their recruitment challenges. There’s a real need to balance short term versus long term plans to stabilise and rebuild the sector. Many of our members are refocusing their learning and development strategies to invest in their workforce as they recognise the importance of their people to the recovery.”

Julie Cooper, Member and Partnership Manager from the Business Travel Association and fellow board member, agrees:

“Time is the most important factor. Our forward thinking association members are putting apprenticeships at the centre of their recovery plans and upskilling their existing workforce, which is  critical for retention and progression.”

Facilitated by People 1st International, the Travel Skills and Quality Board is responsible for the creation and evaluation of travel apprenticeships through to the governance of external quality assurance of end-point assessment. This employer-led approach drives the quality of apprenticeships, ensuring they remain fit for purpose for all stakeholders. The board has an annual plan, set by members, that details planned activity to address the priorities for skills development in the travel sector.

Sandra Kelly, UK Director for People 1st International explains the importance of the Board:

“Membership of the board offers employers the opportunity to work collaboratively with leading employers to set the annual strategy, identifying the skills and apprenticeship priorities for the sector that will help to address critical recruitment and retention challenges. Playing a key role in the input into the design and evaluation of apprenticeship standards, gives businesses the confidence they are fit for purpose and meet industry needs – ensuring apprentices learn the right skills, knowledge and behaviours to stay, progress and add value.”

“We’re seeking representatives to join leading employer representatives and industry experts which include ABTA, Advantage Travel Partnerships, Business Travel Association (BTA), Easyjet, TUI, Hays Travel and BCD Travel to work collectively in building the pipeline of future talent for travel.”

For more information on how to become a board member contact

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