Landmark Day for Blackpool Tourism Academy Apprentices

Published: Wednesday 15 April 2015

The first cohort of apprentices signed up to the Blackpool Tourism Academy, aimed at raising the skills of people who work in the resort’s visitor economy, have spent a day visiting the attractions they will represent.

The students participated in the Tourism Practitioner induction day and had the opportunity to come together and meet key people at Blackpool’s six largest visitor attractions whilst learning about the objectives of the qualification as a whole.

Melanie Fielden, Lecturer and Assessor at Blackpool and The Fylde College, said:

“We wanted to start the course by giving the apprentices an overview of to all of the attractions featuring in the Blackpool Tourism Academy so staff are aware of what each facility offers to customers. We also thought it would be good to allow them to meet each other and share best practice as they will all be on this course together for the next 12 months.

“During the programme, they’ll learn all about tourism and modules will include customer service, team leading, retail, sales, personal development, hospitality, health and safety and equality and diversity so it’s a full qualification encompassing everything that somebody within the tourism industry in Blackpool would need to service customers.

“Ultimately we want to further improve service standards across Blackpool and ensure that whatever attraction someone visits, they will receive the same high level of service.”

BTA is being brought to the town thanks to a collaboration between Blackpool and The Fylde College, Blackpool Council, visitor attractions including Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Merlin Entertainments, Winter Gardens, Sandcastle Waterpark and Blackpool Zoo, and Blackpool Transport Services, who provided complimentary passes for the induction day. The College has designed a Level 2 and Level 3 Blackpool Tourism Practitioner qualification for the BTA, which will be delivered across the town over the next three years.

The training package was established with £1m of funding from the government’s Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP) and will be co-funded by several leading tourism employers within Blackpool over the next three years. BTA will deliver a range of training packages aimed at developing the visitor economy workforce and bringing Worldhost status to the resort. Blackpool will be the first resort to achieve this status nationally.

Luke Garvey, a Lifeguard at Sandcastle Waterpark said:

“I’m pleased to be part of the Blackpool Tourism Academy as it means I’ll get an extra qualification. I’m a lifeguard at the Sandcastle and I find a lot of customers do ask me what to do and where to go in Blackpool – this course will allow me to help the customers when they ask me questions. The induction day was fun, it was interesting seeing behind the scenes at the Pleasure beach and getting even more information about the Sandcastle where I work.”

Connor Blackburn, a Trainee Zookeeper at Blackpool Zoo said:

“We had the chance to meet the other apprentices and tutors who will be on the course at the induction day which is good. It was really entertaining seeing how all of the other attractions operate and getting a better understanding of how Blackpool works together rather than as separate attractions. I’m looking forward to doing something extra during my first year of training as a zookeeper.”

Amy Green, who works at the Blackpool Winter Gardens, added:

“The induction day was exciting; it’s good to do something different. We looked round all of the attractions in Blackpool and learnt the history behind each of them. My boss suggested the Blackpool Tourism Academy to me and I thought it would be a good idea. I work in the box office at the Winter Garden and this will help me with my customer service skills as well as knowing what’s going on around Blackpool.”

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