Foundation Degree – third course starts this week…….
We were very proud to host the first week of the Foundation Degree in Tourism Park Management this week. The third group of students are starting on the first year of the four year course and the first group are completing their final year with the graduation cermony in this autumn.
I first became involved in the work to bring training courses to the holiday park industry in 1985 when basic courses were held at Evesham College and the seeds were sown for the Caravan Industry Training Organisation.
I have given limited help from time to time over the last 20 years, but many others in the industry have given a considerable amount of time to create and develop the courses. I am to see how training is now embedded into our industry with a wide range of courses including technical skills, NVQ2 and 3 in Caravan Park Operations and the Foundation Degree. Over 1000 students have completed the NVQ 2.
During the second day of the Degree course, I gave a brief overview of our parks with a tour around the park which provided the students with a break from the classroom. I wish all the Degree Students every success over the next 4 years.
PV display up and working
Our new PV panels on the Swimming Pool roof are working well even with the limited amount of sun this time of year. We now have a very clear display which shows the real time power, the total generated energy and the CO2 saved.
I took this photo early in the morning when the sun was weak and it was still generating 1.6kw ………and the total since September is already more than 2,000kwh. I believe our target for 12 months is over 20,000kwh – so we need the sunshine.
Destination Dorset – no more meetings…
Early in the week I attended a Board meeting of Destination Dorset and the only item on the Agenda was to decide whether the public/private organistion could continue. The decision was taken to let the organisation ‘sleep’ until an opportunity requiring a public/private tourism partnership or DMO is identified and agreed.
For the last 4 years we have been trying to find a way forward to create a single voice for Dorset tourism to make it easier for visitors to the area and for the trade – however, with the differences between the local authorities and the lack of co-ordination the private sector the necessary leadership could not be found.
The local authories will continue offering advertising packages to tourism busineses in their respective district council areas and working in partnership with each other for the benefit of Dorset where appropriate – one of the main benefits being www.visit-dorset.com
I am disappointed with the decision but I am happy and relieved that it has been taken. We were wasting so much time and it may now be possible for individuals invovled in tourism in the private sector to have time to look at other ways to promote and expand the visitor economy which is so important to Dorset.
First week of January
We started the first week of the New Year with a brisk walk up to the top of Golden Cap. It was a beautiful New Years Day Bank Holiday and what a reminder of how lucky we are to live here. The sun was out and the sky was clear – a fantastic way to finish the Xmas holidays
We all returned to work on 3 January and the weather immediately changed with severe storms resulting in some minor damage on the parks and in particular a couple trees had to be quickly sorted out to avoid further problems.
Regardless of the weather, the team are now on the countdown to the parks opening on 16 March and we are moving from job to job to ensure we get the most out of each day either working inside or outside depending on the rain……..it is another reminder that it is impossible to do all our work when the parks are closed and to keep up with our investment in new services and improvements to the parks we have to work when we are open and try to balance the noise and impact of workers with the peace and quiet expected by our visitors………
The office work never seems to stop and we are currently undertaking a complete review of our H&S policies and all the related isses. The Prime Minister should come and look at the amount of paperwork we have to generated in a relatively small business and he would understand the need to try and slow down the H&S red tape and endless checklists – surely it would help if the ‘ambulance chasing’ solicitors were slowed down by capping the fees so that they only pursue genuine cases.
On the more positive side we are pushing forward with the routine decoration of the bar and the swimming pool, the new boilers are arriving for the toilet block at Golden Cap next week and the partial refurbishment of one of the blocks at Highlands End is underway – plus numerous minor jobs…..however, we are encouraged by the number of telephone calls picking up and bookings starting to come in. Next week I plan to finish our staffing review and we will start to advertise for additional permanent and temporary staff.