Jet2holidays is offering to pay up to £5,000 towards the salaries of new apprentices at independent travel agencies for their first year.
The unusual move is part of the tour operator’s Appoint an Apprentice scheme and is in addition to almost £500,000 of unused Apprenticeship Levy funding that is also being made available by the company to agencies to develop their workforces.
It will see the operator provide up to £5,000 per independent agency branch to fund new apprentices’ salaries at agency partner stores in England, Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland.
The company described the amount to be contributed as a “significant”, adding that the number of apprentices to receive a wage contribution in their first year will be subject to demand. Interested agencies must apply for funding via the operator’s dedicated trade website.
Only one apprentice per branch is eligible for the salary incentive but trade partners can request additional levy funding to cover apprenticeship qualifications, including funds for existing colleague development.
It follows feedback from some partners about the challenge of bringing through the next generation of talent.
Last month the company announced it had made almost £500,000 in apprenticeship funds available to independent agent partners via a levy transfer, to help agencies to recruit dedicated apprentices into their businesses.
The company said the new announcement demonstrated its commitment to investing in independent agencies through its Partnership to Success strategy.
As well as helping agents to ensure they have the tools to increase sales, such as through bespoke marketing campaigns and training programmes, the latest move aims to provide another way for agents to grow, by recruiting and developing talent in their businesses.
Jet2.com and Jet2holidays chief executive Steve Heapy said: “Our partnership approach is all about taking tangible actions to support independent travel agents, and today we are putting our money where our mouth is by investing into the next generation of talent at our independent travel agency partners.
“Apprentices are critical to our own success and growth as a business, and we have really enjoyed seeing apprentices develop and flourish within our company. We know that our valued independent travel agent partners will benefit hugely from this investment in talent too, so we are delighted to be supporting them with funding in this way.
He added: “We believe that by collaborating in this manner, we can foster a stronger, more skilled workforce, and create a brighter future for our industry. At the heart of our Partnership to Success approach is the recognition that our agency partners’ success is our success, and we are very excited about the positive impact this initiative can make. Investing in people is not only a moral imperative, but it is an important strategic step that strengthens the work we do together.”
Earlier this year the company announced 70 new apprentice positions at Jet2.com and Jet2holidays on top of more than 100 apprentices already in employment.
There are currently more than 150 apprentices across the airline and operator in almost 35 different apprenticeship standards across the business, in finance, engineering, HR, IT, marketing, operations control, health and safety, ground operations, contact centre and procurement, ranging from Level two to seven.
More than 30 apprentices from across the organisation will attend Jet2’s second Apprentice Graduation Ceremony later this year to celebrate their achievements with senior management and their families.
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