Comment: In praise of apprentices

Comment: In praise of apprentices

With next week designated as official National Apprenticeship Week in England, it is unsurprising that the subject has come up a number of times in conversation recently.

It was heartening to hear Hays Travel owner John Hays this week crediting his apprentices for helping to develop a new customer base for the Bath Travel stores that have traditionally catered for an older clientele.

After all, we have long been told of the value of peer-to-peer recommendations, and young people do tend to trust, and buy from, other young people.

And John is certainly not alone in our industry in his appreciation of his apprentices; companies ranging from Tui Group and Thomas Cook to Barrhead Travel, Hoseasons and dnata UK have all raved to me about the benefits that apprentices bring to their businesses.

However, among the justified positivity around apprenticeships, there is also some concern about the new levy that is due to come into force for large companies next April to fund the government’s target of three million apprentices starting between now and 2020.

With so many travel companies already investing in apprenticeships, and even more likely to be affected by the levy from next spring, we felt the advent of National Apprenticeship Week was the perfect time to kick off a series of features, reports and events on the subject in association with People 1st.

You'll be able to find out more about the imminent changes to apprenticeships in the sector in our special report this week, and look out for more on this hot topic in the months ahead.

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