Tui has credited apprenticeships as a “springboard” for anyone wanting a career in the travel sector as it reported a significant jump in numbers post-Covid.
The travel company, which offers 38 different apprenticeships, has reported a 51% rise in people taking up apprenticeships in the business in 2023 compared with 2021.
The company, which has been offering apprenticeships for 15 years, said apprenticeships have now become part of its DNA.
Speaking during this week’s National Apprenticeship Week, Julie Tindale, Tui Northern Region’s HR director, said: “Our apprenticeship schemes are going from strength to strength as they are mutually beneficial to both Tui and the individuals who join.
“The schemes are an amazing springboard for people wanting to join the travel industry and we are thrilled to be nurturing the travel leaders of the future.”
The UK business, which includes a travel agency chain, tour operator and airline, and is part of Europe’s largest travel group, has 162 retail apprentices, 141 head office apprentices, and 26 contact centre apprentices.
Bart Quinton Smith, managing director of the group’s First Choice brand, joined Tui as a graduate trainee in 2010 and has benefitted from the chance to work in different parts of the business, similar to Tui’s apprenticeship programme.
He said: “The scheme was such a brilliant way to immerse myself into an organisation with placements in different areas of the business from ecommerce, airline, trading and distribution. I also did six weeks as a rep in Cyprus.
“Following the scheme, I held a number of permanent roles in commercial, in Tui France, ecommerce and set up an innovation lab. I then left for two years, returning in 2018 to lead digital marketing, taking on broader responsibility and now my current role, as MD of First Choice, since the end of 2022.”
Tui’s apprenticeships span the business, from finance, digital, management and engineering (pictured above) to working in the company’s high street shops or call centres. They range from Level 3 intermediate apprenticeships, equivalent to A levels and used for those wishing to work as a travel agent in the company’s shops, to degree (Level 6) and masters degree (Level 7).
The company cited many benefits for travel firms of taking on apprentices, from bringing the company a diverse workforce with a range of new skills and ideas to ensuring a stable pipeline of future leaders for the business and the wider industry.
For apprentices themselves, the company extolled the values of on-the-job experience within the business and from external suppliers such as Disney, Royal Caribbean and Holiday Extras, and the chance to take part in career fairs, workshops, inspiration, development days and networking to share best practice while studying for a qualification.
In addition, the company stressed the opportunities for career progression, from example, moving from a Level 3 travel consultant job into management or from a shop to a head office role.
The company, which takes on a new cohort of apprentices every September, said it hoped to create a community of apprentices to share experiences or concerns and support one another.
Tui management apprentice Holly Jones said the environment provided an opportunity to thrive.
She said: “The main advice I would give to anyone wanting to come and work in a large travel company would be sponge knowledge and the experiences of those around you.
“You will discover new careers to explore, develop a full view of the business and it ensures you will never have two days the same. The industry is full of passionate people wanting to create lasting memories, it’s an exciting place to be (even if it is hard work at times).”
Management apprentice Holly Jones talks about her career at Tui
“My career at Tui has lead me to various areas of the business. I have been in operational roles speaking directly to our customers in customer operations and as a crew training executive, working busy shifts reacting to daily business needs; flight operations focusing on training delivery for the northern region (both Tui Airways and TuiFly Nordic) and as a pilot manager, working with one section of the workforce taking Tui customers on holiday.
I took a step out of my comfort zone joining aviation planning in the commercial sector of the business; here I gained a new insight into the company, into the tour operator and building blocks which lead to the flying operation and customers’ holidays. It was here my skills grew the most.
Most recently I have moved into Tui airline training as the training operations manager, creating efficiencies and best practices with various teams to ensure training excellence.
In 2018, I embarked on the Tui Business Management Degree in conjunction with Hertfordshire University. I hadn’t felt ready to studying at university at the traditional time, but Tui gave me the opportunity, confidence and support to expand my personal development and broaden my skills in areas I didn’t use in the day to day roles.
This is by far my biggest achievement. I completed this degree, whilst changing role twice, a global pandemic and having a baby!
Tui has always encouraged my career progression with courses, project work and mentoring support. I am currently a facilitator on the Tui Leadership programme, which has been a pleasure, sharing experiences and gaining so much insight into the different areas within the business.”
Retail apprentice Eva Jackson, based in Cannock, West Midlands, talks about her experience after winning Apprentice of the Year for her region, division and the company.
“My apprenticeship consisted of ‘off the job’ learning, meaning I had activities assigned to me by my apprenticeship coach. This ranged from learning about airport codes and time zones for different countries to currency codes – basically all the important things I needed to learn to help me within my job. I would also get assigned quizzes to test my knowledge. I had an atlas at hand to help and I logged any new learning I encountered.
I have now gained a Level 3 Travel Consultant qualification.
One of my favourite memories was getting Apprentice of The Year for my region, division and for the company.
I love learning and my apprenticeship has really helped me. I never studied geography at school and was never interested, however, doing this apprenticeship has changed that for me. I know so much about different countries due to all the quizzes I was assigned and it is so useful to have all this knowledge day to day.
Since my end point assessment, I have been working with my manager to step up to becoming assistant manager, as this is currently my short-term goal. I would eventually like to work my way up to manager and even further in the future!”
Retail apprentice Casey Husband was a finalist for the company’s annual recognition award.
“I started my apprenticeship in 2021 at Tui in West Bromwich.
The apprenticeship involved learning my role instore with the help from my fellow colleagues while completing a Level 3 qualification with a coach. The apprenticeship involvee course work, exams and learning on the job.
I have learnt so much on my apprenticeship over the last two years. I feel like it’s given me so much knowledge and experience and I feel confident in the role. It’s also been amazing getting to know other apprentices in retail and sharing knowledge and experiences.
My standout moments was finishing my final exam with distinction!
Before starting my apprenticeship, I didn’t know too much about different destinations. Over the two years I’ve gained so much travel knowledge; I can now can confidently sell holidays to all the destinations we visit. I also have learned about all the different concept brands in Tui so I can match a holiday to a customer’s needs. In addition, I’ve been upskilled to serve in the foreign exchange bureau in our store, which is particularly busy in the summer months.
My aspiration is to progress in the company and gain even more knowledge and experience.
I am so grateful to be nominated for the Annual Recognition Award award. It means so much to me and shows all the effort I have put into the job and the apprenticeship has not gone unnoticed. I am passionate about my role and I am so thankful for the opportunity to work for a company and team that will develop my skills.”