Showcase the opportunities your business brings to attract the best young talent, says Keith Smith, director at The Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Travel and tourism plays a vital role in the UK and has a significant impact on the economy each year. This report from Abta in February highlights the importance of the sector which directly employs 221,000 workers and supports a further 526,000 roles in the wider economy, including retail staff and manufacturers. Both have increased since 2014, from 214,000 to 435,000 resepctively.

As the sector continues to grow, the industry is starting to ask questions about skills supply and talent development. New regulations, technologies, and customer expectations are changing the shape of the workforce, which will require new skills from both incumbent employees and those joining the workforce.

To keep up with the pace of change and ensure their businesses are future-proofed against these upcoming requirements, many employers will be re-thinking their hiring strategies and broadening their horizons to include alternative entry routes into this profession – including apprenticeships.

There are a vast and varied number of apprenticeships available in the travel and tourism sector, from travel agents to event managers, chefs and catering staff, front and back of house hotel staff, customer services, tour guides and engineering. There is also a wealth of other roles that come together to power this thriving sector, from human resources, to digital marketing and IT.

Young people are inspired by the careers they can envisage themselves in and the role models they can aspire to. Attracting and retaining the younger workforce that will drive the future of the travel sector relies on an ability to showcase the opportunity that it can bring.

The National Apprenticeship Awards are a valuable opportunity to celebrate and showcase the employers who are reaping the benefits of the fresh ideas and energy that apprentices – of all ages – have brought to their business, and the apprentices who are making waves within their teams, learning while they earn to develop the practical skills that will form the foundations of their careers as specialists and business leaders.

We’re encouraging employers and apprentices across the country to ensure they’re promoting their brightest and best across a range of roles in the sector, to help it remain attractive for the up and coming people that will fuel the future growth of the sector.

To help start your winning entry, visit https://appawards.co.uk/.

Applications must be submitted by 5pm on May 24.