Opinion: Travel and Tourism Diploma has the right content and the right approach

The Diploma in Travel and Tourism is one of seventeen diplomas that will be available for young people between the ages of 14 and 19 by 2011.

They will be delivered by consortia of schools and colleges working with key partners such as employers, higher education institutions, private training providers and education business partnerships.

To be able to deliver the diploma, consortia must be able to demonstrate, through an application process called the ‘Gateway’, that they have the facilities, trained teachers, resources and partners in place to deliver in a way which has been set out by the Diploma Development Partnership (DDP) and the DCSF.

This process is one of the significant ways in which the diploma is different to existing qualifications – of which it is widely felt that there are too many.

The Diploma will be available at three levels: Foundation and Higher, which will mainly be available to 14-16 year olds; and Advanced, which will be delivered at the sixth form and further education level and will be equivalent to 3.5 A Levels.

It is an academic qualification, but with a minimum of delivery being undertaken in applied work-relevant settings.

Developing the qualification

The Travel and Tourism DDP – a partnership between two Sector Skills Councils, People1st and GoSkills, and the DDP – has worked tirelessly over the past 16 months to to develop a qualification that meets the needs of all stakeholders and inspires the potential employees of the future.

The DDP first undertook widespread research, and from these findings developed a statement of content. Existing qualifications were looked at, and some of the units in these qualifications may appear as specialist learning which will allow the diploma learner to follow a specialist pathway and give breadth to their study.

From the statement of content has come the diploma criteria document, which has been formally approved by Ofqual. It is this document that awarding bodies will use, in collaboration with DDPs, to develop the actual qualification.


Have we got the proposed content right? I’m always talking with employers and practitioners, and continually question myself.

But reading the July 25 issue of Travel Weekly gave me confidence. The major topics covered matched many of those which are addressed in the diploma:

  • Sustainable and responsible tourism
  • Customer service
  • Travel and the economy
  • The internet and travel technology
  • Health and safety
  • Destination knowledge

Customer service is central to the diploma’s content at all levels, and we have listened to employers and higher education lecturers in terms of destination knowledge. 

Technology also features at all levels, with a specific theme at Advanced level, and sustainable and responsible tourism is also covered, again with a specific theme at Advanced level.

In fact, the whole approach at Advanced level has been thematic, covering issues such as culture, image, people and places and enterprise, and at each level there is an opportunity for learners to engage in a real business activity.

There are concerns over the skills and knowledge of some teachers who will be expected to deliver the diplomas. A wide range of partners are doing their best to ensure teachers at all levels are upskilled, and there is a vital role for employers to play in this process.

Employers will also have a critical role in ensuring that the applied nature of diplomas is brought alive for learners, and employers will be encouraged to work with consortia to help ensure that this takes place.

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