Ray McCowan: A new academy will help support our vital tourism trade
The tourism industry is one of Scotland’s key drivers. Last year, the sector contributed £11 billion towards Scotland’s economy, while 15 million people visited the country.
The next few years will potentially see these figures rise significantly as the country gears up to welcome two of the world’s biggest events – the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup 2014.
With all eyes on Scotland, it’s pivotal that we have the best talent working across the tourism and hospitality sectors – not only to cope with demand, but also to ensure that Scotland continues to compete on the global stage for hosting top class events.
To support Scotland’s rising tourism industry, Jewel & Esk College (soon to be part of the new merged Edinburgh College), along with Queen Margaret University and East Lothian Council, have launched Scotland’s first Hospitality and Tourism Academy. It will see us work with three high schools across East Lothian, and a number of major hotel chains across Edinburgh and the Lothians.
The academy will nurture home-grown talent and help to raise standards across the industries, providing young people with the appropriate skills and attitudes to meet employer needs. It will also raise the profile of the hospitality and tourism sector among young people.
We’ve often heard that people just “fall” into the industry, often while working part-time during their studies, but few realise the full potential of career prospects available. The ability to manage a team, provide excellent customer service and control quality are skills that are very much in demand, not only in Scotland but throughout the world.
It’s important we remind our young people about the wealth of career options that exist within these sectors. The average age of senior managers in the hospitality and tourism industry is under 30. Allowing practical access to learning about these industries early on, and while still at school, will help. By 2020, according to the British Hospitality Association, a further 475,000 jobs could be created across the UK. These are industries we can’t ignore.
• Ray McCowan is director of curriculum, strategy and academic planning at Jewel & Esk College
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 2 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West