Young unemployed in Blackpool to get a chance to be tourism academy ambassadors

Hundreds of Blackpool young people are set to get an employment lifeline through work placements in the resort’s top tourist attractions.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 2:06 pm

A public/private sector initiative has been launched led by Blackpool Tower operator, Merlin Entertainments,with Blackpool Council and other tourism operators, to use the Government Kickstart funding to establish the Blackpool Resort Ambassador Academy.

The academy, which will be open to young people aged between 18 and 24 who are unemployed and claiming Universal Credit, will provide placements over the summer and autumn tourist seasons.

The six-month placements, across Blackpool Tower, Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE, Blackpool Zoo, The Grand Theatre, Winter Gardens Blackpool, Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Transport and Blackpool Sandcastle Waterpark, will give young people the opportunity to get “work-ready” and mentoring from some of the most professional and respected people working in the town’s tourism industry.

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Blackpool's young unemployed will have the chance to join a Blackpool Resort Ambassador Academy to improve their future job prospects
Blackpool's young unemployed will have the chance to join a Blackpool Resort Ambassador Academy to improve their future job prospects

In addition to the placement, every young person joining the academy will also get industry linked NVQ training and one-on-one Kickstart coaches to support them and help them to find their next job.

The scheme, which is backed by Blackpool and The Fylde College and Blackpool Council, will launch in July for 92 people. It is hoped it can then be extended into future seasons, helping young people to forge lasting careers within the sector.

The young recruits will act as ambassadors for the resort of Blackpool, welcoming tourists, guiding them to the key places of interest across the town and as hosts in the participating businesses.

Kate Shane, head of Merlin Entertainments in Blackpool, said: “We are delighted to be spear-heading this initiative and reaching out to our young people in such a positive way.

Kate Shane, seen here left with the Countess of Wessex who was on a visit to the Tower, has welcomed the academy as head of Merlin Entertainments in Blackpool

“Blackpool has one of the highest rates of young people claiming Universal Credit in the country and this is the perfect opportunity to offer an essential lifeline to work with some of the most prominent businesses, not only in Blackpool and the North West but across the UK.

“We all know the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries have had – and continue to have – major challenges. As we move out of lockdown, the sector is experiencing staff shortages and difficulties retaining staff, so this scheme will also pave the way for businesses to hone local talents and, hopefully, help shape the careers of our future workforce.

“We’re hoping it will be something which can be rolled out into future years too.”

Coun Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Job Creation on Blackpool Council, said: “We are delighted to be part of this unique private and public sector partnership.

Coun Mark Smith

“It will enable our tourism operators to provide invaluable work experience for almost 100 young people and provide a great ambassadorial service for the resort in what is a hugely important tourist season.

“To date, our Kickstart Gateway has now provided almost 300 opportunities.”

Linda Dean, executive director for Business at Blackpool and The Fylde College, said: “Blackpool and The Fylde College are incredibly pleased to partner with Merlin Entertainments on this exciting opportunity that will provide young people with the knowledge, skills and experience required to have a rewarding career in the hospitality and tourism industry.”

Blackpool currently has the highest rate of 18-24 year olds claiming Universal Credit – 1,730 – 16.2 per cent (May 2021).

Anyone interested in joining the academy should contact their JCP Work Coach.

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