In response to Manish Sood's letter "A levels in tourism?" (Caterer, 9 February, page 22), I would like to point out that in September 2002 throughout Nottinghamshire eight vocational subjects were introduced, including the applied GSCE in leisure and tourism.

This gave a more practical approach to learning, while broadening the opportunities for students. Nottingham City local education authority works closely with the Nottinghamshire STARS [skills, training, attitude, retention and service] project to deliver a truly vocational GCSE curriculum for leisure and tourism. This has enhanced the learning and achievement of young people and given them a really positive insight into the sector.

Nottinghamshire STARS works with training providers and employers throughout the county and aims to address the gaps between employers and training provision. We will recognise excellence in tourism, culture, leisure and hospitality at the Nottinghamshire STARS awards on 16 March at the East Midlands Conference Centre, hosted by Sarah-Jane Mee of ITV Central.

Tourism is one of the world's biggest industries; it is vital that we develop quality training and skills at this level to secure its future growth.

Frances Wilson
Quality and skills manager, Experience Nottinghamshire


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