Comment: Why now is time to train travel staff

Prepare your staff for the rebound while government funding is in place, says Train 2 Travel’s Claire Hills

Scrolling through social media and you’ll soon come across a number of ads for social media training, or articles advising us on how to stay focused and positive during these difficult times.

Of course, there’s also a lot of talk about that pent-up demand we are all so desperately waiting to convert.

So let’s look at all three of these factors together, how they can be approached and tackled while gaining benefits for any business.

Now, more than ever, is the time to start planning for a (different) future. With doors still shut for now, have you thought about how your staff and business are best-placed to take on the demand, ensuring you capitalise and embrace it?

Every company needs a good online presence, so ask yourself if yours is up to date. Could it do with a refresh? Is the branding in line with the company values and statements? Has it been considered whether you are creating an online experience which is consistent for your customer?

Rather than outsourcing these jobs, an expense best avoided right now, you could invest by training someone within the business with these skills, ensuring you are capturing a wider audience through the range of the media channels available.

You might think investing means a cost is attached. But because of a government-funded pot currently in place for apprenticeship training programmes, there isn’t. Anyone registered through their companies’ PAYE is eligible, and there are programmes to meet different requirements.

Due to the pandemic, which has sadly resulted in many job losses, there could be skills now missing from within the workplace. We also have the situation where many staff members have spent months away or continue to be on furlough. Its these employees who could benefit and welcome some new focus right now.

By offering training courses, companies can make their staff feel valued while we wait for those doors to open back up again.

But why wait until furloughed staff can return? Again, with the government funding currently in place you can enrol your staff now so they can get a head start on any programme. Staff could enhance the skills they already have, plus learn a new skillset which might be required across other areas of the business.

This means creating diversity of skills and increasing productivity. Employees will come back into the workplace with fresh ideas, a new lease of enthusiasm and accredited with a certified qualification.

Our industry has been on the back burner when it comes to government help. However, by taking advantage of the funds that are currently in place for apprenticeship training, travel businesses can benefit.

But aren’t apprenticeships for young people, you may ask? No, anyone, any age, and at any level can apply. With programmes valued from £4,000 to £12,000 through Train 2 Travel, it’s a great way to invest in your employees, which in the long-term adds value for your organisation.

There are also bonuses in place for when businesses will be in a position to build their workforce back up. By taking on a new apprentice, a business can build up the team it needs. Not only is this giving someone the opportunity to enter the industry, but companies can earn up to £3,000 per apprentice. The apprentice can go on to be a vital part of the business, bringing in fresh ideas and a new level of enthusiasm – plus, it could raise your profile and reputation.

With National Apprenticeship Week coming up (February 8-14) there is likely to be a number of stories that will showcase how apprentices have helped employers. So if this a route you are considering, it’ll be worthwhile keeping an eye out for all the positive feedback that will be circulating around this time.

This is also the time when those wanting a career in travel will be on the lookout for the right placement. Those eager will get snapped up and be a great asset to any company.

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