Specialist training provider steps in to support travel apprentices

A specialist training provider is in talks with employers in the sector to help apprentices affected by the closure of a travel consultant course.

AS Training has been contacted by travel companies following Northern Training Academy’s (NTA) loss of its contract to continue its travel consultant Level 3 apprenticeship course, impacting 30 travel apprentices from agencies nationwide.

AS Training director Michelle Van Sprang said: “We have been working with employers and guiding those who need help with their apprentices to allow them to continue their [learning] journey.”

She added: “The employer chooses which training provider their apprentices use. I have already been contacted by some.”

How far through the course students are and the availability of government funds are factors that will determine how many NTA apprentices AS Training can take on.

Funding for courses and exams is provided direct by the Department for Education to training providers.

Van Sprang said: “We will endeavour to help people as quickly as we possibly can. We will have to look at each case individually, but we have already started working with the employers who have apprentices.”

AS Training was already expecting its intake of apprentices to expand this year after becoming a recommended provider for Jet2’s new Appoint An Apprentice scheme.

It currently anticipates it will have 150 to 200 apprentices this year as a result of working closely with Jet2 and through its partnerships with The Advantage Travel Partnership and Atas.

About half the places are expected to be filled by Jet2’s scheme, in which the airline and operator is offering leftover Apprenticeship Levy funding to agencies to pay for apprentices in a bid to bring new talent into the sector.

Van Sprang noted: “We are going to have our largest intake this year. Our goal is to hit the 200 mark.”
On AS Training’s courses, apprentices receive specialist training from travel companies via webinars, talks and interactive events.

Van Sprang is hopeful next week’s National Apprenticeship Week will encourage more firms to take on apprentices and counter any negative perceptions about the sector.

She said: “Some employers have not always found apprenticeships a slick experience historically. We try to get rid of any negative perceptions and tell them how easy it is.

“We are very optimistic [about training in the sector]. The main message is people [apprentices] do have another route to go down.”

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