Pictured: Thomas Newby retail apprentice and cabin crew
More than 2,000 new apprentices are to be taken on by Tui UK and Ireland by 2020.
The Thomson and First Choice owner is to develop an “industry first’ apprenticeship standard to become a pilot as part of the initiative.
The company is committing to develop a new kind of apprenticeship scheme for pilots.
Working in collaboration with the Industry Skills Board, the new scheme will see changes to the funding system. As a result, becoming a pilot will be a more accessible career option for many.
Planning ahead of the new Apprenticeship Levy due to come in to effect next April, the Luton-based business is creating opportunities at its head office as well as its 600-strong travel agency chain across the UK.
New schemes to become an aircraft engineer, a digital expert and IT specialist are included, to be delivered between now and 2020.
More than 5,500 apprenticeships have been offered by Thomson and First Choice since 2000, with a strong emphasis placed on offering new apprentices the opportunity to rise through the company’s ranks.
City & Guilds managing director Kirstie Donnelly said: “Tui UK and Ireland demonstrates just how engaged an employer can be in apprenticeships and skills development.
“It recognises them as a natural mechanism to develop the talent it needs to remain as an industry leader, as well as investing for the future.
“In a period of uncertainty, before government provides more clarity around apprenticeship policy reforms and the levy, it shows real commitment that Tui is pressing ahead with its apprenticeship plans because it’s the ‘right thing to do’.
“The company is maintaining momentum but importantly maintaining it with a total focus on quality first.
“Whether it is a career to train to become a pilot, or as a customer adviser to provide the excellent customer service on booking the right holiday, Tui recognises that good quality entry training programmes through to apprenticeships and higher-level technical careers training are essential for it to compete.”
Tui UK & Ireland HR director Caroline Kitcher said: “Offering 2,000 more apprenticeships – adding to the 5,500 we have trained in the last 15 years – is testament to our commitment to providing fantastic careers in our growing business.
“Working for Tui can open up a world of opportunities and we pride ourselves on providing our people with quality training and development, and exciting career prospects both nationally and internationally.
“We’re proud to make an industry-first pledge to develop a pilot apprenticeship standard, using the new apprentice levy to change the existing training framework. This is in addition to an exciting scheme to train engineers and IT professionals in our new dedicated IT Academy.”
She added: “To work for Tui you need to have a passion for holidays, to want to work hard to deliver our customer promise – ‘Discover your smile’ – and have a focus on providing unrivalled professionalism and service to our customers.
“Tui can offer you an extraordinary career, one that will really take you places – quite literally.”
Case study: Thomas Newby, retail apprentice and cabin crew, aged 20 from Sheffield
Four years since joining Thomson as a retail apprentice, Newby is rising through the ranks – splitting his time between the shop-floor and the skies.
He spends the winter at the city’s Superstore, and the summer on board Thomson Airways flights.
It’s a role he says continues to challenge and delight in equal measure, offering the variety and customer-focus that was lacking in the travel and tourism course at college that he left in 2012 to join Thomson.
Since then, Newby has been crowned Apprentice of the Year in the Doncaster-Sheffield region in 2013 and a nomination for a nationwide award in the same year.
He says his apprenticeship gave him a “great starting point”, and he’s now encouraging others to follow in his footsteps.
“I love the variety of my work. It perhaps sounds cliché, but I genuinely enjoy helping customers discover their smile,” he said.
“My role puts me in the lucky position of being able to help families find their perfect holiday, and ensure their journey is as seamless as possible. Sometimes I see people on-board who booked with me earlier in the year.
“Aside from the day-to-day, Thomson is such a well-known brand and that means there is so much more opportunity.
“I have learned an unbelievable amount and I have no regrets about giving up purely classroom-based learning.
“When I joined I was really shy, but now I am trusted to handle all kinds of enquiries from our customers, and I love interacting with them. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone.”