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BBT ROUNDTABLE


DEEPAM: Before going to Bournemouth University, at my college we had British Airways and Virgin Atlantic away days. At BA’s HQ they give you an idea of what each department does, like finance. I got really interested in what they had to offer. I thought about getting on the BA graduate scheme.


APPRENTICESHIP SCHEMES BUYING BUSINESS TRAVEL: What about apprenticeships? Are they an option in business travel?


KAREN MCKENNA: If you had the choice when you left school between an apprenticeship in business travel, or going to college for travel and tourism, what would you have done? LUCY: An apprenticeship, so I could be more hands on and prepared for what I want to do. I chose my course to put me on the right path. KAREN: A lot of colleges’ business models are changing. The catalyst was the government’s Apprenticeship Levy programme. There’s £2 billion sitting in that pot and £1.2 billion hasn’t been spent – for all apprenticeships. The colleges say they now need to be more employer-led, so more employers will take students on as apprentices, and colleges will support em- ployers to provide any training on site, or off site to provide that support. So kids will not be getting into debt to go to university, because apprenticeships go up to level 6 [degree] or 7, as far as a Masters. There are 23,000 appren- ticeships at level 6 or 7 and that’s growing. But the general consensus about apprenticeships is they are for bricklayers. ADRIAN: It needs a new name! LUCY: I never hear of any of my friends going into a business apprentice- ship. If I knew what apprenticeships were out there, I might have thought, I’ll do my first year of college, then go into an apprenticeship. You look online, it’s not really clear, there are so many options. Where do I start? KAREN: There are different apprenticeship standards, such as “customer service” or “travel consultant”. Travel consultant is the only one in our industry, but it’s for someone who wants to work in reservations or operations. Once you’ve looked at the myriad training providers, they all send you to gov.uk,where apprenticeships are all thrown in together. BUYING BUSINESS TRAVEL: Is it only large companies that can offer graduate or apprenticeship schemes? KAREN: Apprenticeships start at level 2 [GCSE/NVQ level], up to 7. Travilearn has taken the Customer Service standard, and put business travel content into it, and that has become the official GTMC Diploma. The levy-paying TMCs, or any other business travel company that pays the levy, has access to the levy that pays for that, so it doesn’t cost them. It costs them if they don’t use it! IAN: For TMCs, that’s between £1.5 million and £2 million that’s gone begging. That money goes; once it’s gone, it’s gone. There’s an awful lot of money out there for training that’s not being used. JOANNA: Clarity has a good apprenticeship scheme… next year we’re taking on the largest number yet. You can mould people; take them in at a really young age, and actually some of our apprentices are the highest performers, and are nominated for awards. KAREN: We were advised to call our apprenticeship scheme “Pathway to business travel professional”. We need new skills coming into the industry. The second most popular apprenticeship programme at level 6 and 7 is actually technology solutions… that’s the type of people we need to bring into the business travel sector. ADRIAN: Meetings and events is also a massive industry. It’s a powerful


buyingbusinesstravel.com


APPRENTICESHIP DEMAND


Travilearn and Skills Training UK partnered to design a new Apprenticeship Standard course for the corporate travel industry called Pathway to Business Travel Professional. The programme is available to employers by


using the government’s Apprenticeship Levy, with those companies paying the levy able to access 100 per cent funding for the programme. Travilearn managing director Karen McKenna


says: “Strong global growth in the corporate travel sector has increased the demand for good staff and management, and organisations are struggling to attract candidates with the right set of skills.” The Pathway programme focuses on


client-facing job roles; typical positions include operations, support services, sales and account management for both suppliers and TMCs.


THE GENERAL CONSENSUS ABOUT APPRENTICESHIPS


IS THAT THEY ARE FOR BRICKLAYERS


WHAT IS THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY?


The government’s Apprenticeship Levy came into effect April 2017, and forces companies with a wage bill of more than £3 billion to pay 0.5 per cent of it to the Education and Skills Funding Agency. Levy-paying employers can then receive levy funds to spend on apprenticeships, and pay training providers.


2019 MAY/JUNE 83


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