The UK’s leading leisure travel firm TUI UK and Ireland has announced it will deliver more than 2,000 new apprentices by 2020. Building on its culture of nurturing talent and offering quality qualifications, new schemes to become an aircraft engineer, a digital expert and IT specialist are being announced, and will be delivered between now and 2020. There’s also news of an industry-first pledge – to develop an all-new apprenticeship standard to become a pilot.
Planning ahead of the new Apprenticeship Levy due to come in to effect in April 2017, the Luton-based business is rolling out opportunities across its head office as well as its 600-strong retail estate across the UK.
Since 2000, more than 5,500 apprenticeships have been offered by Thomson and First Choice, two of the UK’s best-loved holiday companies. Both brands will add to this strong heritage in the coming years with candidates able to apply for industry-leading schemes in areas such as IT and engineering, with a strong emphasis placed on offering new apprentices the opportunity to rise through the company’s ranks.
The company is also committing to develop a new kind of apprenticeship scheme for pilots, which will represent an industry first. Working in collaboration with the Industry Skills Board, the new scheme will see changes to the funding system. As a result, becoming a pilot will be a more accessible career option for many.
Caroline Kitcher, HR Director at TUI UK & Ireland, said: “Offering 2,000 more apprenticeships – adding to the 5,500 we have trained in the last 15 years – is testament to our commitment to providing fantastic careers in our growing business. Working for TUI can open up a world of opportunities and we pride ourselves on providing our people with quality training and development, and exciting career prospects both nationally and internationally.
“We’re a trailblazer for the industry. We’re proud to make an industry-first pledge to develop a pilot apprenticeship standard, using the new apprentice levy to change the existing training framework. This is in addition to an exciting scheme to train engineers and IT professionals in our new dedicated IT Academy.
“To work for TUI you need to have a passion for holidays, to want to work hard to deliver our customer promise – Discover your smile – and have a focus on providing unrivalled professionalism and service to our customers.
“TUI can offer you an extraordinary career, one that will really take you places – quite literally!”
The move has been backed by those already benefiting from TUI’s apprenticeships programmes, and subsequent training and development.
Kirstie Donnelly, Managing Director City & Guilds commented: “TUI UK and Ireland demonstrates just how engaged an employer can be in apprenticeships and skills development. It recognises them as a natural mechanism to develop the talent it needs to remain as an industry leader, as well as investing for the future.
“In a period of uncertainty, before Government provides more clarity around apprenticeship policy reforms and the levy, it shows real commitment that TUI is pressing ahead with its apprenticeship plans because it’s the ‘right thing to do’. The company is maintaining momentum but importantly maintaining it with a total focus on quality first.
“Whether it is a career to train to become a pilot, or as a customer adviser to provide the excellent customer service on booking the right holiday, TUI recognises that good quality entry training programmes through to apprenticeships and higher-level technical careers training are essential for it to compete.”
Case study: Thomas Newby, Retail Apprentice and Cabin Crew, aged 20 from Sheffield
Four years since joining Thomson as a retail apprentice, Thomas Newby is rising through the ranks – splitting his time between the shop-floor and the skies. Sheffield-born Thomas spends the winter months at the city’s Superstore, and the summer on-board Thomson Airways flights jetting holidaymakers off to sunnier climes.
It’s a role the 20-year-old says continues to challenge and delight in equal measure, offering the variety and customer-focus that was lacking in the Travel and Tourism course at college that he left in 2012 to join Thomson. Since then, Thomas has enjoyed great success, including being crowned Apprentice of the Year in the Doncaster-Sheffield region in 2013 and a nomination for a nationwide gong in the same year.
Thomas says his apprenticeship gave him a ‘great starting point’, and he’s now encouraging others to follow in his footsteps: “I love the variety of my work. It perhaps sounds cliche, but I genuinely enjoy helping customers discover their smile. My role puts me in the lucky position of being able to help families find their perfect holiday, and ensure their journey is as seamless as possible. Sometimes I see people on-board who booked with me earlier in the year!”
“Aside from the day-to-day, Thomson is such a well-known brand and that means there is so much more opportunity. I have learned an unbelievable amount and I have no regrets about giving up purely classroom-based learning. When I joined I was really shy, but now I am trusted to handle all kinds of enquiries from our customers, and I love interacting with them. I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone.”