Newquay’s tourism workers to get Objective One help
A £1.5 million scheme to combat seasonal unemployment in Newquay has become the first project announced to gain Objective One funding for an individual town.
Stepping Into Tourism has been developed to tackle the seasonal swings that leave many workers in the tourism sector facing unemployment outside busy holiday periods – and not working for long enough to learn valuable vocational skills.
The project – developed by Newquay For Excellence – will provide a wage subsidy scheme to help hospitality firms keep staff on during quieter periods, and provide training in skills like food hygiene and customer service, as well as childcare help for women employees.
The two-year project is to get a grant of nearly £672,000 from the European Social Fund and has been warmly welcomed by local businesses.
Sue Jesson of Newquay Association of Tourism & Commerce said: “This is a real boost for the tourism trade here in Newquay and I am delighted to see Objective One money being used to help us work together in the town.
“This project will help us continue to raise standards within the industry and provide the quality and level of service that visitors are demanding these days. It should also make a real difference to the prospects and job stability of many people who work in the town.”
Ruth Vincent from Newquay For Excellence said that the importance of the project was demonstrated by the town’s dominance in the tourism business. Cornwall Tourist Board estimates that Newquay attracted 27% of the estimated 4.44 million visitor trips made to Cornwall and Scilly in 2000 – nearly three times the level of Bude and far more than any other town.
She added: “Newquay is one of the UK’s top five holiday destinations but – like so many British resorts over the past few years – has suffered badly from economic recession, changes in holiday markets and overseas competition.
“Coupled with seasonal swings in business, this has made it difficult for many businesses to keep staff on during quieter times. It has also made it much harder for employers to be able to afford to give staff the kind of training needed to provide the quality of visitor experience necessary to maintain both the town and Cornwall’s profile as a holiday destination.”
Mrs Vincent said the seasonal swings in unemployment for local people also make it very difficult for many of them to escape the current cycle.
“The Newquay unemployment register doubles between the summer and winter months. But very few people on the register would be eligible for support through other programmes. Many of them are neither unemployed long enough to qualify for schemes such as New Deal or employed long enough to prove a stable working pattern and participate in the kind of vocational training that could give them better prospects through recognised qualifications.”
She added: “Stepping Into Tourism will provide a framework that supports people seeking jobs in the tourism sector and supports employers by providing a wage subsidy package.
“The only way to break the current pattern of seasonal peaks and troughs that dominate employment patterns is to keep people on during the shoulder months of the season – which is also when there would be greatest capacity for staff to be released for training.”
More information about the project can be obtained by contacting Newquay For Excellence on 01637 871067.
Stepping Into Tourism will also develop links with other related projects being developed through Objective One and will get match funding from St Austell College and private businesses.
Objective One Partnership Office
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