Big four told to invest in the youth

THE big four tour operators have come under fire for not offering enough placement schemes for graduates wanting to join the industry.

Newcastle Business School principal lecturer Bridget Major criticised the major operators for taking on too few graduate recruits, especially when 43% of 18-30-year-olds are now studying for a degree.

She said TUI and Thomas Cook only took on between 10-16 graduates last year, while First Choice and MyTravel do not currently have graduate schemes.

Major said: “They should take on more graduates and offer specific opportunities. It’s hard for our students to get jobs.

“The hospitality sector has far more graduate schemes and is more mature in its forwardthinking.”

However, Thomas Cook graduate trainee Antonio Fellino stood up for the larger travel companies, claiming it was costly for companies to take on big numbers.

First Choice recruitment resourcing adviser Nikki Chestnutt said: “We have started to concentrate on NVQ schemes for travel agents, which allow school leavers to study while they are working. None of the big companies have been focused on graduate schemes for a couple of years,” Chestnutt admitted.

She added First Choice already works with many sixth form colleges but had struggled to arrange talks at universities.

“We work with a lot of colleges doing tourism courses and we will give them tools to make it in the industry.”

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