The University of Cumbria has bolstered its suite of courses designed to upskills the county’s growing tourism workforce.

City & Guilds has partnered with the academic institution to offer University Award in Hotel General Management, a globally recognised hospitality qualification aimed at senior leaders in the industry.

The university will deliver four one-week residential courses four times a year at its campus in Ambleside, with the first kicking off in January 2020.

It is the first of many the university hopes to add to its hospitality offering to help meet the growing demands for Cumbria’s £3 billion tourism industry, which supports in the region of 65,000 jobs.

The University of Cumbria welcomed its first cohort of students to undertake a new chartered manager apprenticeship in the visitor economy – which can lead on to a degree – back in September.

And it is set to launch a new pioneering post-graduate MBA course in tourism management in September 2020, which is expected to attract those working in Cumbria’s hospitality sector, alongside others from across the UK and overseas.

Dr Angela Anthonisz, principal lecturer in tourism management at the university, said: “Our general management award is the only one of its kind for senior leaders wanting to boost their expertise and ability.

“It’s fantastic to have this badged with City & Guilds as they are internationally recognised as an industry awarding body.

“Our ethos is to upskill at management level through flexibility, giving those in senior positions the chance to study alongside their jobs and responsibilities.

“We will be running courses in Ambleside, where we sit in one of the most famous national parks and a World Heritage Site.

“What better place to come to from the four corners of the globe to develop expertise in hospitality management. The opportunities for students – and the industry – are enormous.”

As featured in in-Cumbria magazine’s October edition, Dr Anthonisz alongside former Cumbria Tourism managing director, now a professor of practice at the University of Cumbria, Ian Stephens, have led efforts to develop courses that help meet the needs of tourism businesses.

Dr Anthonisz added: “We would like to think demand will dictate we run more courses as word, and our reputation, spreads. We could, of course, take them anywhere in the world, but our aim is to make Ambleside and the Lakes the focal point.”

City & Guilds executive director of international and digital credentials, Jeremy Dahdi, said he was delighted with the new partnership.

“This has been co-created with employers to recognise the skills and experience of those working in the industry,” he said.

“It also beautifully complements the university's new MBA and enables the crème de la crème of the industry to develop further for greater success.”

The developments at the university come at an uncertain time for the tourism industry due to Brexit.

Businesses are bracing themselves for the impact of new Government policy on immigration, which could restrict the number of low-skilled workers from the European Union coming to the UK.

Around 20,000 non-UK citizens are currently working in the county’s tourism sector, which already faces recruitment challenges.

Business leaders, politicians and organisations including Cumbria Tourism have all been lobbying the Government over proposals that mean EU workers will need to earn more than £30,000 to stay in the UK longer term.

And while the Government is understood to be weighing up whether to lower the wage threshold or introduce a new points-based system relaxing the rules for industries grappling with skills shortages, the uncertainty continues due to the impending General Election.