Barrhead Travel to invest £1.4m in apprentices

Barrhead Travel is to invest £1.4 million in taking on 90 apprentices this year to give the business a “competitive advantage”.

Aimed at school‑leavers aged 16 to 24, the modern apprenticeship positions are available in Barrhead stores across Scotland and its head office in Glasgow.

The company employs six trainers to work with its apprentices, who receive a training allowance and travel expenses. They work towards NVQs in travel and tourism or business administration and IT.

Of the 74 apprentices Barrhead took on last year, 97% completed their training and are now in full-time paid positions.
The company took on 50 apprentices in 2012.

Chief executive Sharon Munro said: “There’s definitely a competitive advantage to be had by taking on young people via the modern apprentice programme.

“The talent in Scotland certainly is there, but in certain business areas there just isn’t enough of it to go around, unfortunately.

“That’s why we recruit a number of people annually from outside the travel industry and also from outside Scotland.”

Munro said the basic skills needed to become a travel agent are largely the same as in years gone by, despite the huge changes in the industry.

“You still need to genuinely like people, talk to them naturally and be able to quickly build a rapport to succeed as a travel salesperson,” she said.

She added: “Communication has changed so much in the last 10 years that a knowledge of social media and how to communicate properly by email have become must-have skills as well.”

In February, Barrhead announced plans to create 80 full and part-time positions which, combined with the apprentice roles, make a total of 170 new jobs.

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