post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-26279,single-format-standard,stockholm-core-2.4,tribe-no-js,select-child-theme-ver-1.1.2,select-theme-ver-9.8,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_menu_,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-7.6,vc_responsive

Building a skilled workforce: an NTG conference

On the 18th November 2021 the NTG Alliance hosted the online conference ‘Next Tourism Generation: Building a skilled workforce’. This conference was broken into four main modules, upskilling and reskilling in tourism and hospitality, addressing skills needs with innovative collaboration, integrating new skills into industry and education curricula and envisioning a skills partnership in the tourism sector.

This blog will focus on the key points drawn from the online conference and highlighting how we can build a skilled workforce in the tourism sector.


Upskilling and reskilling in tourism and hospitality

In the first module of the conference the key speaker was Natalia Bayona, who leads the innovation, education, and investments strategy of UNWTO. In her key-note speech she discussed how it was vital to challenge innovation forms and that these forms are key strategies to ensure the internationalisation of the entrepreneur, and the globalisation and skill progression in tourism. We must improve education, and make use of digital education to do this, as this helps to formalise people’s roles and skills in the tourism sector. We must help to preserve these jobs in the tourism sector by improving education for everyone in the sector, both in vocational and managerial settings. As this is the focus, the aim must be to emphasise green, modern and inclusive cities and destinations with the support of green development and investors. This must be everyone’s responsibility to ensure that the tourism sector recovers.

Another speaker, Andrew Crisp from CarringtonCrisp, discussed how the pandemic has rapidly accelerated the rate of online learning reporting that “62% of learners agree that it is important that any future learning they undertake is with a provider with an international brand reputation.” In the future, learners will be looking for flexible and personalised solutions to their skills development needs, accessed at a time to suit them and possibly involving a number of education and training providers, as well as peer learning beyond formal studies, which could have major implications for the way higher education is currently structured.

During the panel discussion Saskia Griep from Better Places, noted how “we can all learn so much from each other” and that “if we come together then we can share our visions and that is so valuable”.

Finally, it is important to note that upskilling and reskilling in tourism and hospitality involves  not only the acquisition of new skills but also life-long education and continuous re-skilling and up-skilling for all in the sector.

You can also watch Natalia’s key-note speech as well as download Andrew’s presentation here.


Addressing skills needs with innovative collaboration


In the second module of this conference the key speaker was Theodor Grassos, the Secretary General of the European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training. Theodor highlighted how tourists have changed their , and as such are expecting to see these new habits reflected in the tourism sector. In order to address the skills needs in the industry the European Skills Agenda was created, this is a five year plan to help individuals and businesses develop more and better skills. However, in order to upskill and reskill your workforce you need funding. Erasmus+ does have funding opportunities for academic and vocational training, schools, adult learning and youth and European sport events. Other funding opportunities for addressing the skills needs gap are Digital Europe Programme, Europeans Social Fund Plus and Recovery and Resilience Facility.

During the panel discussion in this module Dr. Ralf Burbach, from the Technological University Dublin pointed out that collaboration between industry and education is key to make sure the fragmentation in learning and expectations is limited. Hristo Yanev also noted that “Lifelong learning and collaborative improvement is a key proactive attitude to succeed.” Collaboration is a useful approach to bridging the skills gap in the tourism sector as it brings complementary knowledge and resources together from different fields, resulting in innovative solutions to complex problems.

You can download Theodor’s presentation here.


Integrating new skills into industry and education curricula

Frances McGettigan, from Technological University Shannon Midlands and Mid-West was the key speaker for module three of this conference. During her key-note speech Frances highlighted the importance of “integrating new skills into industry and education curricula”. The pandemic has given us a unique opportunity in the tourism sector to look at the education sector’s relationship with the industry, as well as directing and pushing the industry to address the current skills gap. The challenges for the tourism industry created by the pandemic became opportunities for the educational sector to offer immediate solutions. As well as offering constant positive feedback and engagement to help foster the integration of new skills into the tourism sector, this also offers the potential for career changes to those already in the industry with the opportunity to upskill and reskill.

This module highlighted that although education and government processes exist to facilitate communication with employers to varying degrees, what is lacking are activities to strengthen and improve the  employer voice in the governance and implementation of skills policies and skills auditing processes. This means that there is a strong need to increase the responsiveness of education and training providers to employer skills gaps, which the pandemic allowed many to do. However, there is still room for more integration and, to help achieve this, employers  need to know how to access the channels that lead to quality skills standards in education and training which can help employer engagement with training content. David Scott, one of the panel discussion members, also questioned whether university educators should be reactive (i.e. to identify industry needs) or rather become an instrument for necessary change in the tourism industry (e.g. in relation to climate change).

You can download Frances’ presentation here.


Envisioning a skills partnership in the tourism sector

The fourth and final module of this online conference hosted Dr. Barbara Neuhofer from Salzburg University of Applied Sciences as the key speaker. In this module Barbara noted how 2020 was not just a year of “reset” but the “beginning of a decade of human, digital and green transformation”. Barbara also noted  that skills always start with a mindset development, that leads to co-creation and collaboration which ultimately, helps to foster skills development. She also discussed The Pact for Skills for Tourism, which serves as a recovery strategy that implements an upskilling and reskilling framework. When we envision a skills partnership in the tourism sector it is important to consider what will be demanded in the future, as new forms of digital work have emerged and are continually evolving. This gives people more autonomy which could help to foster a skills partnership within the tourism sector.

You can download Barbara’s presentation here.

If you are interested in learning more about this conference, it’s not too late! You can check out the playback of each module’s live stream here: upskilling and reskilling in tourism and hospitality, addressing skills needs with innovative collaboration, integrating new skills into industry and education curricula and envisioning a skills partnership in the tourism sector.

No Comments

Post a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.