Recommendations from Chapter 7 of "Mapping skills and training needs to improve accessibility in tourism services"
One of the key recommendations above relates to the development of an EU-wide standard for a VET (vocational educational training) curriculum and qualification(s) in accessible tourism (EU Certification). Development of such a standard would help address both supply side barriers (by providing a structure to the market for accessible training provision) and some of the demand side challenges (by defining accessible tourism skills as a transferrable and recognised skill).
The standard would not require the design of specialised accessible tourism training modules. Rather, the required skills (as defined in section 3 of his report) could be integrated into existing tourism qualification. This would certainly be the case for the basic skills per occupational group defined in section 3 with more in-depth training being provided in separate modules focused exclusively on accessible tourism.
While the full development of an accessible tourism curriculum is outside the scope of this study, our research shows that such a curriculum should identify:
1. The range of different disabilities that tourism businesses should be aware of. As a minimum these should include:
- Mobility and dexterity
- Learning difficulties
- Food intolerances
- Long term-illness
2. The target audience for whom the training is intended e.g.:
- Frontline Staff
The curriculum would, we believe, be best developed as a Standard. The benefits of developing a training standard for Accessible Tourism are:
1. It enables detailed training content to be identified and developed addressing different disabilities (as above) related to different job roles reflecting their responsibilities, thus creating a complete reference framework or matrix which can support the requirement of in-depth training.
2. Such a framework would assist any person or organisation who is looking to develop access training, by informing them of content and assisting development for courses that are either accredited and achieve a recognised qualification or for shorter bite-size course which might be preferred by smaller businesses but mapped against a standard.
3. The framework would also be a useful reference point for existing courses that may be reviewed and refreshed in the future.
4. Developing a curriculum in the way that a standard is created offers an opportunity for access training to be recognised formally through accreditation; it can be a reference point for both employer and employee, (which most access training currently does not offer), indicating that a recognised standard of competence has been reached.
Further benefits of developing a curriculum around a Standards approach are many:
1. National Occupational Standards reflect what people can do, not just what they have earned, they define individual competence in performance terms.
2. They have a value within industry and can, for example be used for recruitment and selection, job design and evaluation, training needs analysis, learning programmes and performance appraisals.
3. Good employers invest in training their staff, to remain competitive and improve staff retention though skills and career development.
4. The Standards provide a benchmark for all of this activity.
Having a standard allows for an assessment of whether someone can consistently perform the required standard of performance and has the required standard of knowledge and understanding. Assessments should not be designed to create an excessive workload for either the assessor or candidate (member of staff being assessed), but it must be rigorous and reliable.
There are four main sources of evidence and methods of assessing evidence, against set specifications, of competence and an appropriate combination should be selected for each candidate:
1. Observation of performance at work, inspection of work products, witness testimonies.
2. Questioning oral and / or written.
3. Historical evidence or Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL).
4. Performance on a specially set task and simulation.
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