Local students could see their career in tourism ‘take off’ thanks to a brand new initiative. Building on the success of Visitor Economy Week, the Visitor Economy (VE) ‘Passport to Success’ is aimed at college students across the Liverpool City Region coming into the tourism industry. Students will be able to achieve a bronze, silver or gold passport standard which will provide them with a range of opportunities to either gain quality work experience, an interview, apprenticeship or even a full time job. The scheme works by employers signing up to the VE Passport Employer Charter which provides opportunities for all level two and three students taking VE related courses. It will give particular focus on improving foreign language skills, enhancing destination awareness, customer service skills, aptitude and attitude. This initiative is a collaboration between each of the seven Further Education Colleges in the City Region, the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and People 1st – the National Skills Agency. It is an exciting opportunity for employers and skill providers to work together and develop a clear progression path for the students working in or entering the industry. Natasha Mealor, Visitor Economy Executive, from the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Over the last three years we have engaged and listened to the needs of employers, we understand that they don’t always have access to students with the skills that make them ready for work. The VE passport has been created to respond directly to these issues by creating a partnership between the colleges, LEP and employers to create a clear pathway to employment. “In our growing industry it is also important that those studying for a career in the VE sector have a range of incentives that will help them develop their skills before being employed.” Stephen Roberts, General Manager, Crowne Plaza, said: “Our organisation has identified student training and development as an important and effective method in delivering great customer service. Consequently this aligns team member development as a core business goal of ours. “I feel the scheme is the perfect way to develop a workforce of home grown talent that is fully able to understand the needs of the Liverpool City Region as a destination.” The scheme will officially be launched at Hugh Baird College on 15 September.