Dr. Marc Drögemöller

Apprenticeships in tourism

162 young people began their careers by embarking on an apprenticeship programme at TUI on 1 August. TUI offers a wide range of apprenticeships at the head office in Hanover, the travel agencies, the sales offices and the airport. These programmes in tourism management, IT, office management, dialogue marketing and aircraft mechanics, or the sandwich degree courses in business administration and business informatics, take between two and a half to three and a half years to complete. The first week of the new intake is an information week, offering the young apprentices the opportunity to get to know each other, their new employer and the apprenticeship programme structure.

August doesn‘t just mark the start of the new apprenticeship programmes in Hanover, but also at the more than 11,000 travel agencies and some 2,500 tour operators in Germany that depend on these young people with an interest in the tourism industry. The hotel and catering sector is another apprenticeship provider. According to its national association DEHOGA, almost 1.8 million employees and around 63,000 apprenticeships work in 200,000 hotels and restaurants.

Even though companies in the tourism industry are attractive employers for young people, it has become increasingly difficult over recent years to fill all the apprenticeship places. Other sectors, such as the trades and the cleaning sector, are experiencing the same phenomenon of declining school leavers, combined with an increase in the number of them opting for a university degree over an apprenticeship. The resulting rise in apprenticeship vacancies in Germany has encouraged companies to introduce more creative recruiting concepts that target potential candidates directly. The German Travel Industry Association (DRV) has set up a web portal (“Zukunft buchen im Tourismus“, www.tourismus-azubi.de) where school leavers can find information about apprenticeships and search for apprenticeship positions. Trade associations in other sectors are taking similar approaches, and even the German government is addressing the potential future shortage of skilled professionals by collaborating with sector associations, trade unions, state governments and the Federal Employment Agency. They have formed the ‘Alliance for Initial and Further Training 2014 - 2018’ and developed a range of initiatives.

The dual model, which combines theory at vocational school with practical experience at the company, has now also become popular in other countries. One very successful example is the Robinson Hotel School in Morocco, where around 90 young people are trained in six hotel-related occupations every year. TUI apprentices report on their day to day experiences in a blog at www.tui-azubiblog.de – a very good place for young people interested in working in tourism to get first-hand information about tourism apprenticeships.

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