£15m cen­tre to ad­dress tourism skills short­age

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

GRŵP Llan­drillo Me­nai has an­nounced its vi­sion for an in­dus­try-led project to ad­dress the skills short­age in the tourism and hospi­tal­ity sec­tor in North Wales.

The £15 mil­lion North Wales Tourism and Hospi­tal­ity Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence, pro­posed for the Grŵp’s Co­leg Llan­drillo site in Rhos-on-Sea, would sup­port the tourist in­dus­try at a time of un­prece­dented growth across the re­gion.

The project is seek­ing up to £10mil­lion as part of the North Wales Growth Bid, with a £5mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion from Grŵp Llan­drillo Me­nai.

The key tourism busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions who have for­mally ex­pressed an in­ter­est in be­com­ing part­ners in the project and a will­ing­ness to sup­port it to date in­clude Zip World, Surf Snow­do­nia, Al­ways Aim High Events, Green­wood For­est Park, the Llan­dudno Hospi­tal­ity As­so­ci­a­tion and Conwy coun­cil.

Lawrence Wood, prin­ci­pal of Co­leg Llan­drillo, said: “One of Grŵp Llan­drillo Me­nai’s key goals is to sup­port the needs of in­dus­try in a grow­ing North Wales econ­omy.

“By en­gag­ing closely with the tourism and hospi­tal­ity sec­tor, and talk­ing to peo­ple at the heart of in­dus­try, we recog­nised that there is an ur­gent need to ad­dress sig­nif­i­cant em­ploy­ment gaps in this im­por­tant growth sec­tor.

“This is needed in or­der to in­crease the re­silience of tourism busi­nesses in the con­text of de­creas­ing EU labour and to sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of sus­tain­able and high value tourism jobs.

“Cru­cially, also, there’s work to be done to po­si­tion tourism and hospi­tal­ity as an as­pi­ra­tional long-term ca­reer choice.

“What we’re propos­ing is an ex­cit­ing pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor part­ner­ship pro­vid­ing train­ing through a ‘hub and spoke’ model.

“The ‘hub’ of the de­vel­op­ment would en­tail re-imag­in­ing one part of our cam­pus build­ing at Rhos-on-Sea to pro­vide world­class tourism and hospi­tal­ity train­ing fa­cil­i­ties, along with as­so­ci­ated busi­ness sup­port, that would equip learn­ers with the high level skills re­quired to sup­port the growth of the sec­tor.

“The ‘spoke’ el­e­ment is what makes the project truly ex­cit­ing as it brings in part­ners from the heart of the in­dus­try it­self to pro­vide on-the-job train­ing, work ex­pe­ri­ence, and – cru­cially – to con­tin­u­ously feed back and en­gage with the hub in or­der to in­flu­ence the de­vel­op­ment of the train­ing of­fer as in­dus­try needs evolve.”

Andy Ain­scough, manag­ing di­rec­tor at Surf Snow­do­nia, Dol­gar­rog, said: “Re­cruit­ing lo­cally has al­ways been a pri­or­ity for us.

“Apart from gen­er­at­ing a pos­i­tive eco­nomic trickle down, em­ploy­ees with a vested in­ter­est in the re­gion are al­ways go­ing to be your best am­bas­sadors.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant for the sus­tain­abil­ity of the sec­tor – and our re­gion – that we in­vest in the kind of train­ing and skills.”

Jon Mer­rick, Conwy County Bor­ough Coun­cil’s Busi­ness and Tourism de­vel­op­ment man­ager, be­lieves the cre­ation of the North Wales Tourism and Hospi­tal­ity Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence is a vi­tal step for the re­gion. “While the area boasts world-class at­trac­tions and sea­sonal tourism busi­nesses, there is a need for more train­ing and skills to ed­u­cate the next gen­er­a­tion of work­ers’” he said.

“The strength of the pro­posal is that the pur­pose-built Rhos-onSea Tourism and Hospi­tal­ity Cam­pus by Grŵp Llan­drillo Me­nai – which forms part of the Growth Bid and wider Growth Vi­sion for North Wales – would be com­ple­mented by satel­lite cen­tres at at­trac­tions and com­pa­nies in all six coun­ties.

“They will of­fer sup­port and op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness and will foster strong links with ed­u­ca­tion part­ners across the re­gion, rais­ing aware­ness of ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties within the sec­tor.”

North Wales Tourism’s Jim Jones said: “De­vel­op­ing skills and con­vey­ing the mes­sage, par­tic­u­larly in schools and col­leges, that work­ing in tourism and hospi­tal­ity is a re­al­is­tic ca­reer propo­si­tion for stu­dents in­ter­ested in a range of ar­eas, from mar­ket­ing to dig­i­tal and so­cial me­dia, de­sign and more, is cru­cial.

“We need to raise the per­cep­tion that there are high-paid roles avail­able in the tourism and hospi­tal­ity sec­tor, right here on our doorstep. In fact, there is an in­creas­ing num­ber of high-paid, per­ma­nent jobs avail­able.

“We are on the brink of trans­form­ing the sec­tor from sea­sonal to all-year-round, which is a sig­nif­i­cant break­through.”

Surf Snow­do­nia is back­ing the £15m project

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