ABOVE the main offices of business travel recruitment agency C&M Recruitment is a dedicated training room - something which makes the company stand out from most other competitors.
It was set up earlier this year to try to counteract the current skills shortage in the travel industry which is causing agents who are looking to take on new consultants a huge headache.
C&Mdirector Angus Chisholm said:"Quite often, a consultant applies for a job and is successful in every other aspect apart from the fact that he or she is not familiar with the global distribution system which the new agency uses.
"The agency might not have time to train the new recruit, who may be an outstanding candidate in every other way. This is where we come in, by offering training to ensure candidates are up to speed before they join the new company. It is a very good tool for cross-training people."
The training programme is also offered to people from outside the industry who are looking to start a career in travel but have found they need qualifications to enable them to get a foot in the door.
Chisholm said:"A lot of people we see have all the necessary people skills.They are confident, good at selling and able to get on with people. But unless they have the necessary training, particularly on GDS codes, an agent will not consider them."
The training room, at C&M's head office in Barbican, London, houses 17 workstations offering programmes on selling car hire, hotels and airline reservations on Sabre, Worldspan and Galileo as well as the fares and ticketing course offered by the International Air Transport Association.
It is run by training co-ordinator Daniela Acosta and is designed to be as flexible as possible. Students can come in any time between 8.30am-7pm on weekdays and 11am-5pm on Saturdays.
They can carry out the necessary training at their own pace.
Acosta said:"The beauty of the training programme is it can be used by people who have no experience of using travel systems.
"Yet for somebody who already has an idea of GDS systems, it is also very good because it allows them to go straight into the sections they are not sure about.
"Each course is divided into several units. It is easy to navigate."
For people who are new to the industry, C&Mhas designed an information pack which is a comprehensive guide to working in the travelindustry.
Information contained in the pack includes the salary ranges available to newcomers in the industry as well as tips on how to write a CV, covering letter or interviewtechniques.
Acosta said:"It is hard for people to find their first job in the travel industry. They have to put a lot of effort into getting a job and have to do a lot of knocking on doors.
"Knowledge is only one part of it, so once they have completed the courses, we give them a bit of help to present themselves in the best possible light."
The training programme has proved so successful that C&M will expand it within the next few months to its Birmingham office.
Chisholm said:"The training room has proved to be a good selling tool for us. A lot of our agency clients have come here to see it and are impressed with what we are doing.
"We spend at least one week with people doing the course, so we are able to get to know them quite well, know exactly what their personality is like and what their strengths and weaknesses are. We can then confidently recommend them for jobs."
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