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Helping Scotland re-open its doors

Robert Anderson

By Robert Anderson, Assistant Principal: Business, Creative and Digital Industries 

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Venues are beginning to open up, pubs and restaurants have lifted their shutters, and we’re starting to consider foreign holidays again.

The past 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions put a pause on the hospitality and tourism sectors across the globe. For a country like Scotland, these are vital pillars of our economy and so it is a great relief to see green shoots in this industry. 

In fact, the Scottish Government has just announced a recruitment drive for the tourism and hospitality sectors. In partnership with the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the campaign will promote a range of roles within the industry and help people find a job to suit their skillset. 

Britain is forecast to have a tourism industry worth over £257 billion by 2025, with 3.8 million jobs. So, despite a ‘pause’ in the sector during lockdown, Glasgow Clyde College’s Tourism and Hospitality teaching has continued apace throughout, getting students ready to take on the abundant roles that will be available when the sector is back up to full steam. 

Of course there were issues to overcome when students had to learn from home, but from the outset we made sure to bridge any digital divides by issuing laptops and dongles to any students with connectivity issues. 

Our hospitality students, due to the nature of their subject area, were able to attend college in limited numbers three days a week as part of their blended learning. This allowed them to hone their practical skills in a kitchen environment and then work on theoretical aspects from home. 

As restrictions lift, we are able to resume a full cooking timetable in the college kitchens and also make use of the new Theatre Bistro which allows us to deliver Barista and Beverage training. 

For travel and tourism students, a large part of their course involves immersion in Glasgow’s tourist product – learning about the infrastructure of a city that is so reliant on day trippers and international visitors. Traditionally, we would take students on four field trips a year to give them this first-hand experience, so this is something we’re looking to reintroduce as and when appropriate.

Additionally, we offer trips to Europe to interact with tourism businesses in Helsinki, Berlin, Madrid and Paris – so we’re looking forward to taking students abroad once travel corridors permit us to do so. 

Despite the tourism and hospitality sectors enduring an effective shutdown over the past year and a half, there is still a huge appetite to learn from our students and it looks like this once buoyant industry is set to expand even further as Scotland re-opens its doors.