Tourism Ambassador Programme Launched

UHI Argyll, has recently launched an innovative new partnership programme with Argyll and Isles Tourism Cooperative, one of Scotland’s leading destination management organisations, to help young people develop a long and rewarding dream career in tourism in Argyll and the Isles.

The launch of the new Argyll and Isles Tourism Ambassador Programme comes as the Scottish Tourism Alliance Autumn Industry Survey 2023/24, conducted by 56 Degree Insight, revealed that recruitment and staffing remains one of the biggest challenges for nearly a third (29%) of all respondents, in spite of the fantastic career opportunities many of them provide.

Working in partnership with the highly acclaimed Argyll and Isles Tourism Cooperative (, the new UHI Argyll Programme is designed to better connect young people with the wide variety of rewarding, exciting and fulfilling tourism career opportunities aligned with the Fair Work Agenda throughout the destination.

As a core contributor for the local economy, tourism covers a wide variety of specialisms to suit almost every interest, including hospitality, destination and business management, marketing and communications, sports coaching, sailing, marine biology, ecology, conservation, land management, transport, health and beauty, wellbeing, brewing and distilling, tour guiding, archaeology, event and festival management, history, heritage, exhibition curation, storytelling, acting, music, art and design, food service, retailing and much more.

Launching the initiative, Martin Jones, Principal and Chief Executive, UHI Argyll said: “We’re excited to be working with the Argyll and Isles Tourism Cooperative (AITC) on the first ever Argyll and Isles Tourism Ambassador Programme.”

“We’ve been working with local employers, to look at opportunities to improve training, recruitment and retention in rural areas for some time now, so we are thrilled to now take this to the next level and make a difference where it matters most.

“Tourism is vital to sustainable development across Argyll and the Isles and our young workforce will play a key part ensuring this continues for future generations. The sector offers a huge number of amazing opportunities with fair working conditions, to suit most of our students’ aspirations, skills and passions. The Programme will allow us to further explore these opportunities and develop practical and workable solutions that could make a real difference economic, socially, culturally and environmentally for rural communities in Argyll & the Isles.”

Speaking as the initiative was launched at AITC’s AGM, CEO Cathy Craig said: “On behalf of all our members, we’d like to thank UHI Argyll for their incredible support and partnering AITC on the development of the Argyll and Isles Tourism Ambassador Programme. Innovative recruitment initiatives like this are needed now more than ever to help Argyll & the Isles continue to be the world-class visitor destination that it is. “

“We look forward to working with UHI Argyll to help match young people with opportunities where they can build the skills, they need to follow their dream careers and become future tourism stars. There are so many fantastic skilled individuals and so many incredible careers to suit every interest.

“We will shortly be encouraging applications from the destination’s most inspiring tourism business leaders and rising stars who can help students and apprentices begin on the path to some of the most rewarding careers in one of the most outstanding destinations in the world. Argyll and the Isles is an amazing place to live, work and visit, as so many of our members will attest.”

Iain Jurgenson, Managing Director of Portavadie and an AITC Board Member said: “Having operated a hospitality business in Argyll & the Isles for over a decade, we benefit for having the most stunning region in Scotland. It offers so many rewarding and fulfilling tourism career options and ‘earn while you learn' career pathways. As our industry evolves and leads sustainable development in communities across Argyll and the Isles, it is fantastic to have UHI Argyll’s support and recognition in inspiring our future tourism superstars to help us ensure that our destination continues to be one of the best places to live, work and visit in Scotland. We look forward to hearing how all the UHI apprentices and graduates develop and providing industry support and recognition.

“We’re often looking for skilled and ambitious team members who can really enhance and embrace our visitor experiences through continual learning and development. Our people define our success and play a pivotal role delivering our ambitions to continue to sustainably grow our businesses and reflect the value in our product and teams.”

The initiative has also been welcomed by DYW (Developing the Young Workforce), Scott McKinnon, DYW Regional Lead for Argyll and Bute said: “This kind of partnership working is a great example of industry and education working together to create opportunities for our young people and acts as a reminder of the wide variety of careers available to them across Argyll & Bute. DYW look forward to working together with AITC and UHI Argyll to take this programme forward.”

As part of the Argyll and Isles Tourism Ambassador Programme, UHI Argyll will work closely with employers to ensure the college’s courses support the industry’s changing needs and the ongoing development of Argyll & Isles talent.

Five apprentices and UHI graduates will be given a free place at the Argyll and Isles Tourism Summit in March 2024, where they will hear first-hand about the opportunities and skills required to work in tourism and hospitality.

Reinforcing their commitment to developing commercial training and modern apprenticeships that meet the needs of the tourism industry, UHI Argyll has agreed a partnership with the Argyll and Isles Tourism Cooperative.

For more information about the Argyll and Isles Tourism Ambassador Programme contact