As the UK gets set to mark National Apprenticeship Week (March 14th – 18th 2016), leading cruise retailer Cruise118.com has insisted that more talented youngsters need to be given opportunities if the industry is to thrive in the future.
The Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA’s) Industry Outlook Report for the first quarter of 2016 was hugely positive, predicting continued growth in the number of passengers embarking on cruises, while also suggesting that cruise lines will invest more than $25 billion (£17.4 billion) into the building of 55 new ships between now and 2020.
However, as the demand for this type of holiday soars, the need for skilled cruise workers will inevitably increase too – and the search for talent is arguably the biggest challenge facing companies in the coming years.
Cruise118.com Managing Director, James Cole, feels that apprentices will play a crucial role in plugging this skills gap, and will ultimately determine whether or not the CLIA’s bold projections for the industry prove to be accurate.
“We have taken on apprentices because it’s a great way to bring young and enthusiastic people into our business,” he commented.
“Government grants help to subsidise the cost and we can give fantastic opportunities to youngsters in our local community. Cruise holidays are changing, with the average age of passengers consistently falling. It’s vital, therefore, that the industry has a fresh injection of young, passionate employees who reflect this shift.”
Co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service, National Apprenticeship Week is aimed at celebrating the positive role that such schemes can have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.
The UK government revealed in January 2016 that more than 150,000 youngsters started an apprenticeship in England (across all industries) in the fourth quarter of 2015 alone, and the authorities are keen to see this number grow even further.
Cruise118.com currently employs three apprentices, one of whom is Cruise Concierge Boris Krastev. He explained why he decided that this was the best career path for him.
“I have chosen to take the apprenticeship route because I don’t think College or University is for me, and rather than wasting my time on something I do not enjoy, I’d prefer to start a job, or an apprenticeship in this case,” he commented.
“I chose the cruise industry because I have relatives who have worked in this sector, so it’s an area I already know something about. I’m hoping to get a lot of experience and vital skills that will help me to become successful.”
Boris added that finding an apprenticeship isn’t always easy unless you go through a specialist agency. This, according to James Cole, is something that needs to change.
“Hiring apprentices is beneficial on so many levels, which is why it’s so important that such opportunities are made more readily available – apprenticeships shouldn’t be so difficult to find,” James continued.
“Youngsters are the future, so it’s imperative that cruise companies give them a chance to develop within the cruise industry.”