Journal: TWUKSection:
Title: Issue Date: 17/04/00
Author: Page Number: 92
Copyright: Other

ABTA initiative seeks to avert agency staff crisis


Association links up with multiples to attract skilled workers

ABTA is working with the multiples to combat the steady decline in skilled workers in the industry.

In a joint initiative between Newman Street and the Multiple Travel Agents’ Association, measures are currently being drawn up to halt the rapid turnover of personnel and attract new recruits.

The move, discussed at a specially convened meeting in London, comes amid fears that multiples are facing a staffing crisis.

Lunn Poly, Travel Choice, Co-op Travelcare, the Travel Training Company and Travel Tourism and Events National Training Organisation all attended the talks.

ABTA head of policy and member services Stephen Alcock said: “It was mainly instigated by the multiples who are having trouble recruiting and retaining staff.

“They are recruiting from the same pool of staff as every high-street retailer and it’s proving tough.

“Pay is important but potential staff also look at the flexibility of the job. It is these things we need to work on.”

Further talks are planned for June 28.

Part of the scheme will target people who have worked in travel before but spent the last few years working elsewhere.

ABTA chief executive Ian Reynolds said it was important to lure experienced staff back to the industry.

“The industry has recruited school-leavers from GNVQ schemes, which is fine, but we need to be more creative in how to attract and retain more experienced people,” he said.

He added that training and development of staff also needs to be improved. Currently only £200-£300 is spent on each member of staff every year.

ABTAsaid it will update its career literature and Web site, highlighting the benefits of working in travel.

The multiples welcomed ABTA’s support.

A Co-op Travelcare spokesman said: “We fully endorse these plans.

“It’s not just about recruiting 16 and 17-year-olds but getting across to more mature and experienced recruits.”