This winter our UK team will be a team with a difference!

It’s a sure sign that winter is coming when the sales office fills up with people!  However, this year things are completely different.  We are no longer recruiting seasonal staff for the office who only work with us for six months.  This year we have made a major investment in our new apprenticeship and management training programme.

What’s the new apprenticeship scheme about?

Recruiting high quality staff has always been one of our major challenges – and especially so in the UK office.  It is quite a complex job to understand all the ins and outs of the services we provide so training takes a lot of time.  By the time our seasonal sales teams are able to work effectively, the season has come to an end.  We then have to start again the following year with recruitment and training!

In March, we were introduced to the concept of apprenticeships and decided to make the major investment of recruiting and training apprentices.  We plan to recruit young high-flyers and sponsor them to follow a formal external training programme to gain recognised qualifications in their chosen field.  This is a big commitment for us but the Government provides grants which cover some of the external training costs.  Our aim is to have the “best of the best” so we have chosen a range of different external training organisations to work with.  In this way, we make sure each training company are the best for the particular course.

What are our objectives?

We hope to be able to attract much higher calibre people, as we are offering proper career development opportunities rather than just a “fill-in” six month position.  Our aim is to grow a highly professional team who will grow with us and stay with us.  This will improve our service to our clients and also release our management resources to focus on the business issues.

Of course, during the period of the apprenticeships our training input will be even higher than usual!  Alongside the external courses, we have developed structured in-house training programmes to teach the specific job tasks and the travel industry skills as well. However, we are seeing this as an investment in the future – short term pain, for long term gain!

What’s in it for the apprentices?

The apprentices we are looking to recruit will generally either be post-GCSE students or post A-Level/college course students.  Our entry requirements in terms of grades and ability are quite high.  An apprenticeship is an alternative to going to university and running up large student loans for a degree with no guarantee of a job at the end of it.   Our apprentices will have their studies fully paid for, plus 20% of their working time allowed for the course and in addition they will earn a salary at the same time.

We have created new permanent positions for every apprenticeship.  At the end of the programme every apprentice is guarantee a permanent job.  The apprenticeships vary from 18 months to 4 years, depending on the job.  All they have to do is gain their chosen  qualification and achieve their job objectives.

Who can apply?

Whilst the programme has been designed for school and college leavers as an alternative to university, applications are also open to older or more experienced people who are looking for a complete change of career.  Those looking to up-skill or change direction also qualify.  Indeed, for the management training opportunities, we are looking for post-graduates or people with some relevant work experience.

Watch this space!  Our first intake will be in August 2017 and the second intake will be in November 2017.  We are still accepting applications for both intake dates – for further information see our apprenticeship microsite.

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