A leading figure in business travel recently remarked that the only constant in the industry was the phenomenal rate of change.
Few would dispute this â€“ the role of the both the agent and travel manager is adapting and evolving all the time. But many in the industry not only feel that training and re-training of personnel is not keeping pace with these changes but also and more crucially training is not nearly widespread enough. In short, too many people in the industry are not trained and re-trained as regularly and as well as they should be.
John Williams, general manager of the UK's Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC â€“ formerly the GBTA) and with special responsibility for training said: “All, too often I hear travel bosses and human resources managers bemoaning the fact that there is a skills shortage in the travel industry, especially in the business travel sector.
“But skilled employees only become skilled if you train them.”
This is now happening much more widely in the industry.
The VDR-Akademie, founded in Frankfurt by Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement, the German travel managers' association, is one of several aiming to remedy this lack of training. Since its founding in 1998, it has become recognised as one of the continent's leading training centres.
Stephanie Bruch, manager of the Akademie, said it had trained more than 1,300 travel managers in small classes including about 150 who have go on to gain the Certified Travel Manager (CTM) qualification as well as suppliers who were seeking better understanding of business processes and how modern travel management works.
Ms Bruch stressed the need for such an institute as state education in Germany failed pt provide such courses or training for a career in travel management.
“So VDR, as the competence centre for business travel management, created job standards and guaranteed a high level of knowledge and know-how transfer,” she said.
Ms Bruch, 30, has an MBA, is a certified travel agent and has ten years experience in the industry. Before she joined the academy two years ago, she had worked as sales administrator for a TMC and executive assistant to the managing director of a major supplier.
She has 12 part time lecturers who are either experienced travel managers or specialist consultants.
Her pupils range, numbering about 350 in age form 20 to 50 and come form mainly Germany but also Austria and Switzerland. “Most are employed and use the services of VDR-Akademie to prepare for new aspects of their job or generally to update their knowledge.
“They come from all kinds of big, medium-sized and small companies as well as from the public sector,” Ms Bruch said.
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