Fáilte Ireland and the Irish Hotels Federation have developed a new tourism and hospitality skills training programme in partnership with Letterkenny Institute of Technology.
The programme is running as a pilot and aims to train and upskill local transition year students for part-time roles ahead of the summer season.
Speaking about the new TY Host Academy training programme, Joan Crawford, Wild Atlantic Way Manager at Fáilte Ireland, said they are really pleased that so many TY students have shown a huge interest in this programme.
She added “Labour supply has been identified as a challenge for the tourism and hospitality industry by the Donegal Destination Recovery Task Force1. This new pilot programme may help alleviate some of the staffing shortages that businesses are facing.
“Over 350 transition year students from secondary schools across the county have already signed up for the training programme. Many of those working in tourism and hospitality developed their passion for the industry while working in summer jobs.
“This course will not only prepare students for part-time seasonal roles but could provide an ideal stepping stone for them to consider a future career in the sector.”
Nicola Dunnion, Head of the Department of Tourism at Letterkenny Institute of Technology, said they are delighted to be able to respond to the sector’s needs by developing this pilot taster training programme for transition year students in the county.
She added “The reaction from schools has been extremely positive so far, as they feel the programme is bringing meaningful value to students who quite likely at some point will look to obtain casual, part-time or hopefully full-time employment in the tourism and hospitality sector in the course of their life.
“This initiative is an innovative way to create an appetite amongst students to consider this as a career option going forward.”
The pilot programme is free for transition year students and will be delivered virtually by Letterkenny Institute of Technology. It will run until schools break for summer to prepare students for any part-time seasonal roles as tourism and hospitality businesses re-open in line with Government guidelines.
Students will be trained across a number of areas such as service excellence, health and safety (including Fáilte Ireland’s COVID-19 Safety Charter), food handling and hygiene (including basic HAACP training) and the responsible service of alcohol.
Welcoming the initiative, Paul Diver, Chair of the Donegal Irish Hotels Federation, said hotels have effectively lost a year recruiting staff and this initiative will go a long way in alleviating this problem.
He added “Many students that join hotel teams in transition year often remain working with those hotels for years in part-time roles and indeed many go on to choose a career in the industry.”
For support with the recruitment process, including practical information on sourcing opportunities, how to find and communicate with potential employees, the legal requirements around hiring and COVID-19 guidelines, visit Fáilte Ireland’s COVID-19 Support Hub on www.failteireland.ie
Background to Donegal Destination Recovery Taskforce
Established by Fáilte Ireland in collaboration with Donegal County Council, the Donegal Destination Recovery Taskforce brings together tourism stakeholders from across the county to form a co-ordinated and sustained collective response to the COVID-19 crisis.
As the National Tourism Development Authority, Fáilte Ireland’s role is to support the long-term sustainable growth in the economic, social, cultural and environmental contribution of tourism to Ireland. Tourism is of critical importance to the national economy and to regional development and employment. Pre-coronavirus, the sector generated revenue of €7.5billion annually and supported 260,000 jobs nationwide while contributing €1.7billion to the Exchequer.
We work in partnership with Government, State agencies, Local Authorities, representative groups and industry, to develop tourism across Ireland by creating destination development plans and networks, investing in infrastructure, activities, visitor attractions and festivals. Fáilte Ireland also provides consumer and buyer insights, mentoring, business supports and training programmes and buyer platforms to help tourism businesses innovate and grow.
In addition, Fáilte Ireland supports Business Tourism, managing the bidding for and securing of larger conferences, meetings and events to be hosted in Ireland.
We are also responsible for domestic holiday marketing across four regional experience brands: Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s Ancient East, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and Dublin.