Devon County has seen an improvement in the hospitality industry following the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector.
The Office of National Statistics reported that the confidence of business survival in the hospitality sector has started to increase but remains below other sectors.
But there is reason for optimism as local businesses seek to get back on their feet.
The Crealy Theme Park and Resort has been investing in training and upskilling their staff following the pandemic.
The theme park has taken part in Devon County Council’s ‘Open Up to Skills’ initiative, which aims to upskill employees within the hospitality, catering, retail, leisure, and tourism sectors, and is supporting employers to rebuild workforce capability following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Caroline Howle, HR manager for Crealy Theme Park and Resort, said: “Given that the COVID-19 lockdown has impacted us on our staff development, the range of training courses that was offered by Seetec Outsource were immediately appealing to us.”
The training was focused on building some of the key knowledge and skills needed within the hospitality industry, including customer service skills and conflict resolution to support the delivery of excellent customer service to our customers. The need for upskilling comes from the lasting impact that the pandemic has on the hospitality industry.
She added: “We selected team members from various departments, and because the course was interactive, they could learn from each other and improve communication across the teams.
“This opportunity from the Open Up to Skills initiative has given us the chance to upskill our team and to help them develop new transferable skills.
“Team members feel valued when we can invest the time into training, and this also improves team collaboration. The feedback from the team was very positive.
“The team can use what they have learned from the course and implement it into their various job roles.
“It is great to have courses available that are designed to meet the needs of our business and recognised by the industry.”
Jacob Skegwell, a Crealy team member, said: “The course was great, and I really like that I was given the opportunity to have done this.
“I am keen to do similar courses to help my career progression.”
With some businesses still struggling to recruit and retain staff, these funded training opportunities can help them to fill skills gaps while supporting individuals to retrain or progress in work.
Matthew Hannigan-Train, regional manager at Seetec Outsource in Devon, added: “The Open Up to Skills initiative is a vital resource for the businesses in Devon affected by COVID.
“It’s great to see the opportunity to support and upskill staff being taken on so enthusiastically and with such great results.
“With the cost-of-living crisis and surging interest rates, businesses need this support now more than ever to retain staff and support their operations in these tough times.”