Skills to match high-growth tourism sector
Working with New Anglia LEP Skills Board and supported by Skills Reach, Visit East of England has collaborated with private and public sector and educational organisations to develop a Visitor Economy (Tourism) Sector Skills Plan.
The document outlines ambitious plans to future proof the sector’s skills provision and increase the commercial benefit from one of the region’s best-established and fastest-growing sectors.
Since 2010 it has been the fastest growing sector in the UK in employment terms. The plan aims to meet the region’s projected demand for up to 11,000 new workers in the sector by 2024. At 12%, this rate of growth is double that projected for the wider economy.
The sector’s value is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 3.8% through to 2025 – significantly faster than the 3% predicted for the overall UK economy.
The plan was developed with reference to a detailed Evidence Base, which outlined a number of skills barriers to growth in the sector:
- Employer concerns about filling immediate frontline vacancies
- Perception of tourism as a short-term job rather than a career, underestimating opportunities available locally and globally
- Challenges presented by rural and seasonal context
- Retention of staff, with higher turnover than other sectors
- Skills shortage and lack of educational pathways in areas such as catering
In the light of this research, the Visitor Economy (Tourism) Sector Skills Plan sets out three priorities for action:
- Developing the business and employment offer
- Overcoming skills obstacles to growth
- Promoting local and global career opportunities
The detailed plan sets out a range of actions to underneath these priorities, including more engagement with Destination Management Organisations, Further Education, Universities and government; identifying national and local funding opportunities; supporting SMEs to improve retention and career development and raising awareness of existing skills pathways, including forthcoming ‘T’ Levels.