Advantage boss hails government plan to tackle skills gap

Commitment to youth mobility scheme is ‘very welcome’

Advantage boss hails government plan to tackle skills gap

The chief executive of The Advantage Travel Partnership has hailed comments by the tourism minister about a youth mobility scheme to address skills shortages in the industry.

Earlier this week, Sir John Whittingdale – who is providing maternity cover for tourism minister Julia Lopez – confirmed the government is committed to developing such scheme which would allow students to study and work in the UK.

Julia Lo Bue-Said, Advantage chief executive, said: “The comments made by tourism minister Sir John Whittingdale reiterating the government’s commitment to developing a youth mobility scheme to address the skills shortage in the travel and tourism industry are very welcome.

“Whilst the pandemic hit the travel industry hard, the UK outbound sector was particularly impacted and consequently many of those working within the sector had to find jobs outside of the industry resulting in a talent gap as travel has continued to grow back to pre-pandemic levels.”

She pointed to Advantage’s recent Global Business Travel Review which saw travel recruitment as a “driving force” in the industry.

“The insights offered in the report highlight that – as well as government support – companies need to meet the work-life balance requirements to attract new talent, particularly by offering hybrid working, along with competitive salaries and speedy hiring so as not to lose candidates,” she added.

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“The review particularly highlighted the importance of young talent in offering an opportunity to bring in fresh energy and diverse thinking to rejuvenate the travel industry whilst supportive training initiatives including mentoring programmes and apprenticeships entice non-travel candidates to make that career transition.”

She highlighted how Advantage has developed a partnership with apprentice provider AS Training, with the “ambitious” target of 50 new apprenticeships in the next 12 months.

“I recently met with John Whittingdale to discuss the role our sector plays within the overall travel industry ecosystem, and having the government recognise the challenges the UK outbound travel industry faces when it comes to skills shortages is an important step forward,” she concluded.

“As a member of the Tourism Industry Council, I am looking forward to helping shape the outcome of the educational and skills reform.”