Updated: May 22
Warning-This May Cause Offence! So, for those who don't like brutal honesty then don't read.
The reason that I am jumping up and down on my soap box is because over the course of the last month It has come to my attention that there are tons of here today gone tomorrow organisations making a huge profit from selling worthless certificates relating to a number of professions.
If I were to type the search term right now, get a diploma course in xxx there would be shed loads of responses flash up in front of me. Sure, some would be genuine and credible but it's obvious that a number are purely for people who have a wad of cash in their pocket and want a lets make money quick type of scheme or franchise.
Not too long ago franchises were readily available for manual types of businesses, I am not belittling these franchises but let's be honest if someone doesn't do a grand job of valeting your car it's not a life or death situation is it?
As I write this and from what I have recently experienced I feel that every Tom, Dick And Harry think that because they have a strong interest in some field or the other that they can do a job better than those of us who have done it for decades. It's true that there are various levels of competency in all professions but for those people out there who believe that they can become competent in any job with only a few weeks training, then they are totally delusional.
I've taken a number of courses over my lifetime to assist me with my work, many of them have been associated with sales or marketing or management. I've even taken a few vocational courses that I have had a particular interest in and really enjoyed them. But, after a week of intense training do I believe that I would be equipped to pose as a professional in those fields and try to make a living based on the short training that I had received? Never. And, that's because I value the people that I secure the services of. No matter what their chosen field of work may be I respect the hard work, dedication and commitment that it must have taken for someone to achieve their specific level of qualification or competency.
Would we expect our healthcare professionals or legal professions or psychologists to train in a few weeks? I certainly wouldn't and Id say that 99.9% of everyone reading this would say the same. People who are posing as qualified to do a job after only a short amount of training are at best being delusional and at worst being a fraud.
So, for those people who are thinking of taking or are currently taking a "get trained quickly" travel agent course, good on you, go for it. Things may be fine whilst you are merely sat behind a computer searching & matching up flights with any generic accommodation you come across. But please remember, you are not just selling widgets or hardware here. You are securing products that can and do impact people's lives in a very real way and, one that can impact it both positively and negatively.
None of us "agents" know the situation that our clients may find themselves in. Are they booking a real "bucket list" trip? Are they recovering from a serious illness or managing a chronic condition? The knowledge of being able to competently match the correct brand, destination and travel plans does not simply happen over night. Many of us "old school" travel agents are not just product savvy but we are great empaths. Our role takes on a much deeper commitment and our experience comes from going "over and above".
Personally, I have assisted in repatriating the body of someone who has died whilst on holiday, Iv'e also dealt tirelessly with the fall out of a hurricane, an ash cloud situation and a Tsunami. I have often been on call 24 hours a day for 2 weeks at a time to deal with logistical curve balls or illness whilst travelling.
And why do we do it? Because being in travel is amazing. It's an amazing feeling to give people out of the ordinary experiences. Travel enables people to re-connect. Travel has the ability to change you physically and psychologically.
Many of my seasoned colleagues will agree, this profession is about so much more than peddling packages and pushing products. We are experienced enough not to overuse the word luxury and certainly don't have a let's just work with what we've got type of mentality.
Moving forward I wont be so quick to jump on to the table or in the chair of any person that professes to have a professional qualification. If you feel as passionate about your profession as I do mine then please let me know, I would be more than happy to try your services.