Vicki Wolf

Vicki Wolf

Vicki represents ABTA on the Travel Apprenticeship Board and works with People 1st and a number of industry representatives in paving the way for new apprenticeships within the travel industry. Vicki also worked closely with the Apprenticeships Trailblazer Group in developing the Travel Apprenticeship Standard.

What are the benefits of having an apprentice for travel companies?

As the travel industry continues to grow, new skill gaps are emerging as businesses evolve to meet new customer trends and needs. Apprenticeships are key to addressing this skills challenge and are a great way to future-proof workforces in companies, big or small. Furthermore, there is a proven business benefit of having staff on apprenticeship programmes. Not only can they be an effective and flexible way of recruiting, retaining and developing new staff, but apprentices are around 14% more productive than similarly experienced staff not on an apprenticeship programme. Studies have also shown that companies who invest in apprentices report an increase in staff retention. 

What is the new Travel Apprenticeship Standard?

This is the new professional standard for travel consultants developed by employers from within the travel industry. Both corporate and leisure travel employers have input into the design of the standard in order to recognise the common approach taken by the two sides of the industry. The standard incorporates the knowledge, skills and behaviours employers have defined for today’s industry and allows businesses to incorporate their own principles of working and company ethos into the training of the apprentice. More information can be found on the People 1st website

What are the different options for creating and embedding apprenticeship programmes within organisations? 

A range of apprenticeship programmes can be offered depending on the business needs. The new apprenticeship standards are available to staff of all ages. It is an excellent way to develop new skills and invest in both new and existing staff. With the development of higher schemes, apprentices are now relevant for those entering the travel industry for the first time and those looking to process within current roles. 

What, in your opinion, are the main challenges facing travel companies, especially SMEs, when taking on apprentices? 

Finding the right provider or college to work with. The list of approved providers is still being added to and connecting employers to training providers is something the industry needs to work on. In addition, understanding exactly what can be funded may be a challenge for those who have not previously taken on apprentices. 

Find out more, and put your questions to Vicki first hand, at ABTA’s Apprenticeships in the Travel Industry conference on 1 November in London.