Professor Alan Beaver, a director of Beaver Travel, plays a pivotal role in the training schemes established for travel agents through the Association of British Travel Agents. He is a firm believer in the value of training and career development and is "extremely disappointed" that there is no formal career path mapped out for travel agents.
Professor Beaver pointed to staff retention levels as a prime example of why more training should be introduced. In the multiples, travel agents suffer annual turnover rates of something like 75%, whereas for independent agencies it is nearer 16% a year.
Professor Beaver attributes this to the career development available in the smaller firms. He believes staff training helps boost morale, helps provide better service to customers who are, in turn, happier and more likely to return therefore boosting profits which, again in turn, benefit the business and encourage better salaries.
The same goes for the bosses. Completing a course will provide a boost in self-confidence and renewed interest in developing the business. A better trained boss will be more motivated and this is reflected throughout the business, whatever its size.
Director of director development at the Institute of Directors (IoD), John Weston, calls it a virtuous circle. "Better directors run better businesses and as a consequence you create wealth and employment," he said.
One of the IoD's prime missions is to improve professional standards across the UK, and Weston believes that by starting at the top, the professionalism will filter right through the business. The IoD offers a series of different courses designed to cover most aspects of running a business, which are available to members. (see the IoD web site www.iod.com for more details of the courses available)
These courses are designed for like minded people and many who have been through an IoD course say that the most valuable part was not the formal course work but learning about other directors' experiences.