New Skills Programmes to Support the Hospitality & Tourism Sector

25 February 2021 

Ministers Harris and Collins announce new skills programmes to support hospitality and tourism sector prepare for reopening

From Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science 

Published on Last updated on 

SOLAS and Education and Training Boards design new initiative to respond to critical needs of the sector

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD and Minister of State for Skills, Niall Collins TD have today (12 February) announced two new skills programmes to assist hospitality and tourism sectors with COVID-19 challenges and ensure they are ready for reopening of the sectors.

The programmes have been developed by SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards in consultation with the Irish Hotels Federation and Fáilte Ireland.

One programme is to develop team leaders and the second to develop supervisory management capability. Both programmes are aimed at assisting recovery and growth in the hospitality and tourism sector.

As a major employer in Ireland, the hospitality and tourism sector have identified the need to retain key talent and develop leadership capability to rejuvenate businesses for recovery and growth.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said:

"COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our economy and the hospitality sector has been badly impacted.  The sector has temporarily had to close and I want to ensure we use this time to support the sector in preparing for when they can resume business. The hospitality and tourism sectors are vital to the Irish economy and we must support it to recover and grow."

The Developing Leaders for Hospitality and Tourism programmes will upskill team leaders and supervisory staff in critical areas including finance and people management. Employees will be trained in customer care, digital skills, communications, strategic planning and management and will learn green and sustainability skills.

The upskilling opportunities will be rolled out across the country in each Education and Training Boards from March. The first has begun in Limerick with 30 people participating.

Minister of State for Skills, Niall Collins, said:

"This is a really exciting opportunity for people who have temporarily lost their jobs to learn new skills and prepare for the return of their sectors.   We need our tourism and hospitality sectors to be ready for the challenges post-COVID and to ensure they can remain sustainable in the future."

Commenting on the collaboration, Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President at the IHF said:

"I would like to commend SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards throughout the country for this Skills to Advance initiative. It is a very opportune time for increased cooperation between hotels and ETBs to deliver training and upskilling support to their teams during these challenging times.  Our primary goals are to protect and restore livelihoods in our hotel, guesthouse and broader tourism community across the country. These two hospitality training programmes are very relevant and support the development of the leadership and management skillsets required to recover and grow tourism in Ireland sustainably. My industry colleagues and I look forward to collaborating and working in partnership on this very welcome and timely initiative."

Welcoming the launch of the new programmes, Andrew Brownlee, CEO SOLAS said:

"The Further Education and Training Sector is committed to upskilling and reskilling employees across all industries particularly those who are facing challenges or undergoing changes. These programmes are coming on stream at a time of unprecedented challenges for the Hospitality and Tourism sector and are designed in response to their needs. The excellent collaboration between the FET sector and industry bodies has meant that these programmes were developed in a short time period and with specific industry needs in mind. It is a great example of how the FET sector can work with employers to future proof their workforces."

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