Call for professional trainers to help improve UK customer service standards ahead of Olympics

Call for professional trainers to help improve UK customer service standards ahead of Olympics

People 1st – the sector skills council for the hospitality, leisure, tourism and travel (HLTT) industries – is looking to licence 400 motivated and experienced trainers to train 200,000 hospitality and tourism staff ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The UK’s HLTT sector needs to raise its game in customer service standards if it is to take advantage of the estimated £2bn that could be generated from visitors around the Olympics. The UK is ranked 14th in the international customer service rankings and 13th for its perceived ‘Welcome’ by the annual Nation Brand Index Survey. People 1st’s State of the Nation 2010 research report highlighted that 65% of businesses reporting skills gaps stated staff lacked necessary customer service skills.

To train the target of 200,000 people, a programme which has already been used successfully at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, where it was used to train 39,000 volunteers and tourism staff earlier this year, has been developed for the UK by People 1st, with the support of VisitEngland.

“The WorldHost training programme is set to raise the standard and delivery of customer service training in the UK”, says Nicki Stewart, WorldHost Manager from People 1st. “As we prepare to host the Olympics and other world-class events including the 2014 Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games, and the 2015 Rugby World Cup, there has never been a better time to focus on improving the customer experience.”

To become a licensed WorldHost trainer, candidates will need to attend a three-day Train-the-Facilitator course. There is then the option for further training in one or more of the additional learning modules on serving customers with disabilities, service across cultures and the ambassador workshop, particularly aimed at volunteers assisting visitors to our country.

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Linda Roberts, master trainer of the WorldHost programmes, comments: “The WorldHost programme offers a fantastic business opportunity for independent trainers.  Relevant experience for trainers considering applying would be a previous coaching or training role, or an adult education qualification. We are looking for people who have the ability to engage others, create a fun learning environment and deliver an excellent training experience.”

Trainers will operate under a licence from People 1st and will be subject to ongoing quality assurance activities. As well as independent trainers running courses locally in their areas, WorldHost can accredit in-house company trainers to run customer service training within medium – large organisations. 

Julie Turner from Mid Wales is a recently licensed WorldHost trainer. She says: “The WorldHost training programmes are an excellent package of training and are a joy to deliver. It’s straightforward to follow and all the resources you need are provided. There is a lot of content to deliver in one day but because it’s very hands on with interactive exercises, it keeps delegates engaged. The feedback I’ve had from delivering the training is that participants find it enjoyable, interesting and rewarding.”

WorldHost has the backing of the Institute of Directors and leading businesses including McDonald’s, who will be embedding the WorldHost customer service training in their employee development programme, and Flybe.