£1.2m for tourism stars of the future

Blackpool Pleasure Beach and (below) Alan Cavill.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach and (below) Alan Cavill.
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Blackpool has secured £1.2m for a Tourism Academy aimed at equipping people with the skills to work in the resort’s visitor economy.

The town has received the funding from the Government’s Employer Ownership of Skills Fund after submitting a bid in January this year.

Alan Cavill

Alan Cavill

Around 40 apprenticeships will now be set up as part of the private-sector led initiative.

Alan Cavill, assistant director for regeneration, tourism and culture on Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the audit and finance committee: “The idea is the major tourism employers will bring together resources and attract funding.

“We hope this will kick in in January.

“This about raising skills in the tourism sector and improving our customer service across the town.”

Blackpool initially tried to secure funding in May 2012, but was turned down. However the government made an additional £90m available.

But Mr Cavill said hopes of creating a Tourism Development Zone, similar to economic development zones, looked unlikely to succeed.

He said: “We applied for this but unfortunately weren’t successful, and nor do I think we will be under the current rules and regulations.”

Big hitters behind cash for tourism

The Tourism Academy bid was submitted by a consortium made up of the Pleasure Beach, Merlin which operates the Tower, Sea Life Centre and Madame Tussauds, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Water Park, Blackpool Transport and Crown Leisure which operates the Winter Gardens.

It was also supported by Blackpool and The Fylde College.

Customer care, commercial awareness and spectator management – how to co-ordinate public events – are among the elements which could make up apprenticeships, with training ranging from one-day courses to NVQ level three qualifications.

Partners in the Tourism Academy hope it will improve the skill sets of not only the employees employed by the members of the consortium but the resort as a whole.

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