"Young people are the future of the company and we will invest as much as possible
in that," said operations manager Tim Novak.
"Our customers' demands are going up and the nature of our business is rapidly
changing - all of which demand higher levels of training."
The company is best known for its fleet of 34 orange-coloured luxury coaches running
City Cruiser holidays - used by no less than 72 newspapers around Britain for reader
But three years ago the company started offering air package holidays as an
These now make up ten per cent of the holidays the company sells in 10 countries-and
managing director Robert Shaw aims to make them the biggest UK operator for trips to New
Already they take 3,000 holidaymakers a year to the 'Big Apple'.
Mr. Shaw said:
"Seventy per cent of our business comes from repeat customers - one of the
strengths of being a family business in these days of plc's and conglomerates.
"But obviously all those people have to be happy with our levels of service - and
well trained staff give people that reason to come back and not book with anyone else.
"Since we started air travel holidays three years ago we have a much more diverse
range of products - and the staff need to be aware of things like the legal aspects."
"We have been considering how to improve our training for some time, and I must
say it has been nice to work with an organisation like CWT which has brought it to
fruition - and also constructed a course which is not only relevant to our business but is
arming our staff for the future with qualifications and skills."
The 44 young men and women will take NVQs up to Level 3 in customer service and travel
services, with training workshops at CWT's headquarters in the former Chamber headquarters
in St. Nicholas Street, backed up by one-to-one support in their own offices.
Eight of the team of upcoming travel specialists will work at the company's main
offices in Mill Lane, Binley, Coventry. The other 36 are employed at the ten Harry Shaw
City Cruiser agencies around the Midlands.
The company, which now employs 200 people and has a fleet of 34 coaches, was
effectively founded when Harry Shaw, Robert's father, bought a milk float after completing
his National service in the RAF in the late 1940's.
The first coach was purchased in 1964, soon rising to a fleet of ten. Purchasing one of
the largest coach companies in the Midlands, Red House, in 1979 gave Harry Shaw the first
taste of operating holidays at home and abroad.
New destinations were introduced and development of the travel agencies began
culminating in the company gaining its ATOL licence in 1996 and launching into air travel
Today it provides 120,000 holidays a year - not forgetting to maintain a number of the
old favourites in and around Britain-and is now one of the largest independent tour
operators in the country.
Modem Apprenticeships, with nationally recognised qualifications, are now available in
37 occupations covering a number of office and retailing jobs as well as traditional