Transition year students from two Donegal schools are set to benefit greatly from a new training intitiative in the LYIT School of Tourism in Killybegs.
Forty transition year students in the Abbey Vocational School in Donegal Town and St. Columba’s College in Stranorlar will take part in a new training programme, which is funded by Donegal County Council (DCC).
Following consultation with the tourism industry it showed that a significant number of senior cycle second level students are employed in tourism/hospitality enterprises on a seasonal/part-time basis and the majority of the students do not received industry specific training and in many cases have a low level of awareness of tourism product knowledge and service skills.
This training programme, will be delivered by LYIT’s School of Tourism in Killybegs to transition year students one day per week over a four week period.
The programme will address the issues which were raised by industry and stakeholders by focusing on training introduction to the tourism industry and the tourism product in County Donegal with specific focus on regional food, crafts and tourism activities along our section of the Wild Atlantic Way. It will also look at restaurant service with an introduction to food hygiene and food handling and customer care within the tourism sector.
Like other service sectors, hospitality careers are often stereotyped as low-wage and entry-level with little opportunity for advancement. Consequently, qualified workers, especially youth, are unaware of the range of hospitality careers available. With the hospitality industry's growth rate increasing, the importance of finding good employees, especially youth workers, is a high priority. The diverse range of activities offered by our tourism industry provides excellent job opportunities for people with varied skills and educational backgrounds. Jobs will be plentiful for first-time job seekers and seasonal workers.
The Chief Executive of DCC, Seamus Neely, said: "The launch of the Wild Atlantic Way marketing initiative by Fáilte Ireland in 2014 has seen increased visitor numbers to Donegal and is delivering significant benefits to our tourism sector. This project will compliment this initiative by focusing on training and up skilling our young seasonal workforce and giving them vital skills that will enable them to succeed in obtaining work in the sector."
The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Terence Slowey said: "This year alone, Donegal has increased its global brand, particularly with being named the ‘Coolest Place on the Planet’ by National Geographic so training is more important now than ever because the Hospitality & Tourism industry today, according to Failte Ireland, is one of Ireland’s growing industries. The availability of a seasonal workforce is very welcome and vital to the trade; however, there is concern in relation to the low levels of training amongst this group as they are employed primarily in customer/tourist interfacing-service roles’. ‘This is why Donegal County Council is delighted to be in a position to fund this training and while this will initially be offered on a pilot basis to two schools we hope this can be expanded upon in future."