In February 2021, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris TD, launched two national upskilling programmes for employees in the hospitality and tourism sector, which were developed by SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards (ETBs) in consultation with the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), Failte Ireland and the Regional Skills Fora (RSF).

The Hospitality sector, valued at upwards of €7.9bn to the economy, has been severely impacted by the pandemic, with over 100,000 jobs at risk due to Covid restrictions. To boost the retention and career progression of key talent, the two new Developing Leaders for Hospitality and Tourism programmes will provide highly subsidised upskilling opportunities, delivering critical team leadership and supervisory management skills to enable business recovery and growth.

Programme content includes areas such as Operational Skills, Customer Care, People Management, Finance and Controls, Sustainability and Digital Skills.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Harris said: “Covid-19 has hit the hospitality and tourism sectors and those working in them extremely hard. These two programmes offer an opportunity for employees and employers to upskill and will help staff deal with the new business environment, its challenges and opportunities.”

A series of online roadshow events is underway hosted by Elaina Kane-Fitzgerald, President of the IHF, to promote the opportunities available, with speakers from SOLAS, ETBs, RSF and local hoteliers. To date over 100 hotels have attended the regional online events with more to follow. Employers interested in learning more can find direct contact details for their local ETB available at