24th October, 2008 – UK – A short-life task group has been set up by Ministers to review qualifications within the hospitality and tourism sector and ensure these are relevant and responsive to the changing needs of the industry in these tough economic times.
The group will also examine a recommendation from the Parliament’s Economy, Enterprise and Tourism Committee that education, skills and training in these sectors should be rationalised, with resources prioritised to support an industry-backed system.
The group, which will include representatives from the industry, national education and skills bodies, and college and university sectors, will help inform Ministers on what action may be required. Its remit will be to:
* Identify what hospitality and tourism qualifications are available and advise Scottish Ministers on what is required to make them more relevant and responsive to employer needs during these uncertain times
* Establish how many and what type of hotel school developments are currently under consideration in Scotland and advise on how these can support the industry’s needs
* Summarise, for the industry, the roles of the respective public bodies in relation to qualifications development, validation and funding
Minister for Schools and Skills, Maureen Watt, said:
“Tourism is a key sector in Scotland and the Scottish Government is committed to ensuring the right conditions exist to enable it to flourish, particularly in these tough economic times.
“Ensuring that those within the industry and those seeking to join it in the future, have access to the right skills and training is an essential part of that – both for employees and employers.
“The task group will help us ensure that resources are targeted towards skills and training that best meets the industry’s requirements and that training is also sufficiently flexible to adapt to those changes needs.”
Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, Jim Mather, said:
“Scotland has a fantastic tourism product. From our wonderful scenery, to our compelling history, diverse culture, and friendly people, we have so much to offer the world.
“But if we are to continue to compete in one of the world’s most competitive markets, we need to ensure that we have a new generation of well trained young talent who can take Scotland’s reputation to the next level in years to come.
“It is their Scottish hospitality, their standards of service and their skills which will set our great country apart. This new group will ensure that those standards continue to rise, leading to a highly responsive Scottish tourism industry which will be the envy of countries across the world.”
The creation of the task group will help the industry ensure that people have access to the right skills and training to ensure it gets through these difficult economic times. It will also enable Ministers to respond to a recommendation from the Economy, Enterprise and Tourism Committee’s report – Growing Pains – can we achieve a 50 per cent growth in tourist revenue by 2015?
While the Scottish Government agreed with the majority of the recommendations, Ministers wanted to further investigate issues raised in recommendation 246, which said the Tourism Minister should work with his colleagues and key agencies to declutter and rationalise the provision of education, skills and training in the sector and reprioritise the resources towards a system that is demand-led and enjoys the support of the industry and which offers a smaller number of industry and government approved courses delivered by a limited number of centres with geographical spread.
Full membership of the group, which will meet twice and is expected to report by mid-December, includes:
* Iain Herbert, Chief Executive, Scottish Tourism Forum. Iain has also worked with several premier Scottish tourism agencies, including the Scottish Whisky Heritage Centre as general manager and as manager for the Royal Yacht Britannia. He is also a former head of visitor operations for the National Museums of Scotland.
* Peter Lederer CBE, Chairman of VisitScotland and Chairman of Gleneagles Hotel Limited. He is also a Trustee of the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland and the Tourism & Hospitality Education Trust.
* David Allen, People 1st. Prior to joining People 1st in September 2007, David spent more than 16 years in the hospitality and tourism industry, in the UK and in Europe. This included working for the Marriot Group and setting up and running a multi million pound conference centre in Fife. He is a member of the Institute of Hospitality and plays an active role in supporting industry led skills and education forums including the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) Skills forum.
* Mandy Exley, Principal, Perth College. Mandy moved to Scotland in 2000 and bought at small hotel on the shores of Loch Tay. In addition to her post in the college, she is a director of the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, and the Scottish Tourism Forum.
* Mary Nasmyth, Scottish Training Federation
* Professor David Kirk, Vice Principal, Queen Margaret University
* John Kemp, Deputy Director of Strategic Development, Scottish Funding Council
* Chris Taylor, Highlands & Islands Enterprise
* Eddie Brogan, Tourism Director, Scottish Enterprise
* Joe Wilson, Head of New Ventures, Scottish Qualifications Authority
* Darah Zahran, Skills Development Scotland
* Eric Milligan, Skills Development Scotland
Source: Scottish Government News