Latin Routes announces training programme to attract new talent

Latin Routes is to run its own in-house training programme in a bid to attract new talent during the ongoing recruitment crisis.

The Latin America specialist is hoping to take on four trainees on its Latin Routes Trainee Programme in September with the aim of turning them into fully-fledged sales consultants within 12 months.

The operator has taken on some new staff in recent months but director and head of trade relations Jess Dennison said there was only a “small pool” of potential staff with the right specialist experience, which was particularly “frustrating” after the bounce-back of international travel post-Covid.

The salaried trainee programme is aimed at those with little or no experience who want to get into the travel industry, such as university graduates – but Dennison stressed it was also open to other industry staff, including travel agents, looking for a new opportunity.

She said: “We used to hire people after they had travelled around Latin America but because of Covid we’ve not had those individuals coming through the door looking for jobs.

“Lots of jobs advertise for people with experience and it’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. It’s difficult to get people into the industry so this programme will teach them everything they need to know. They don’t need to have experience of Latin America or sales experience.”

She added: “This is just looking at recruitment in a different way. Our industry is very much about the people and we need to nurture the younger generation. We don’t have the travellers we had pre-Covid but there are lots of enthusiastic people that want to get into the industry and love travel.”

The programme will include training in sales skills and booking technology in a classroom environment and on the job and a two-week trip to Latin America, which is likely to include some of the operator’s key destinations such as Costa Rica and Peru. After 12 months’ training and a trip abroad, trainees will start work as junior travel specialists.

They will also have mentors from within the business and the six-strong senior management team will take on training the different modules between them.

Trainees will be paid a basic salary of £22,000 for the year but on target earnings will be £26,000, as they will be able to earn commission on sales made in the last six months of the training.

Dennison said the 12-month programme would give trainees time to learn the job properly and have a supportive start to selling specialist destinations with the help of a mentor.

“There will be time to really educate them on the destination inside and out,” said Dennison, who added: “If this is successful then we would look to continue it and increase the frequency of the intake. There are also lots of progression opportunities working at a tour operator.”

Dennison started her own career at Trailfinders with no experience. “We were just all passionate about travel. I was so keen when I first started. Hopefully we can attract new talent and develop the team,” she said.

Details can be found here and applicants are urged to email a CV and covering letter to senior sales manager Alex Grose.

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