Annual report
2021

Targeted education is effective

Highlights of the year

The steering group of the Fitness Center met for the first time in the real world since the beginning of 2020. Discussion on a new service agreement.

New and improved digital tools for the tourism industry presented on hæfni.is.

The annual report of the Tourism Competence Center for the year 2020 will be published.

The fitness center is touring the North.

Open meeting in Eyjafjarðarsveit in collaboration with Ferðamálafélag Eyjafjarðarsveitar.

Open meeting
in Mývatnssveit
in cooperation
at Mývatnsstofa.

Tourism Education Morning: Welcome to work! Reception of new staff.

New and improved digital tools for the tourism industry presented on hæfni.is.

Presentation of the Fitness Center in Morgunblaðið: Learning on the premises of the tourism industry.

Educational morning of tourism: Resilience and well-being in the workplace.

Shake-up of tourism operators in Snæfellsnes in collaboration with the Snæfellsnes Regional Park, Hæfnisetrið presents its services.

Tourism Education Morning: Innovation
in tourism.

The steering group of the Fitness Center met for the first time in the real world since the beginning of 2020. Discussion on a new service agreement.

The steering group of the Fitness Center met for the first time in the real world since the beginning of 2020. Discussion on a new service agreement.

New and improved digital tools for the tourism industry presented on hæfni.is.

New and improved digital tools for the tourism industry presented on hæfni.is.

The annual report of the Tourism Competence Center for the year 2020 will be published.

Presentation of the Fitness Center in Morgunblaðið: Learning on the premises of the tourism industry.

The fitness center is touring the North.

Educational morning of tourism: Resilience and well-being in the workplace.

Open meeting in Eyjafjarðarsveit in collaboration with Ferðamálafélag Eyjafjarðarsveitar.

Shake-up of tourism operators in Snæfellsnes in collaboration with the Snæfellsnes Regional Park, Hæfnisetrið presents its services.

Open meeting in Mývatnssveit in collaboration with Mývatnsstofa.

Tourism education morning:

Innovation in tourism.

Tourism Competence Center

The Tourism Competence Center works according to a service agreement with the Ministry of Culture and Commerce (formerly the Ministry of Industry and Innovation) on the development of the skills of employees in the Icelandic tourism industry. The agreement is valid until the end of 2023 and the Ministry's contributions amount to 50 m.kr. in a year. The fitness center is housed at the Icelandic Business Education Center (FA).

Vision

  • The development of skills in tourism is based on criteria and in line with the needs and development of the industry and society.
  • Tourism is a sought-after workplace where opportunities for career development are offered.
  • The tourism industry has excellent qualified staff.

Main projects of the year

  • Future education - services and consulting with companies
  • Development of digital tools for education
  • Development of a comprehensive study line in tourism
  • Formation of a collaboration between the Tourism Competence Center and the destination agency

The activity in numbers

At the end of the year, the Hæfnisetur's staff numbered 8 in 3,6 full-time equivalent positions, including the FA Secretary General. Employees are hired by the FA but work at the Fitness Center as part of their job responsibilities. In addition, it handles other projects that other buyers pay for. The FA's main tasks are to analyze job requirements, increase the supply of certified studies, develop real skills assessments and strengthen counseling on studies and jobs.

Expenditure in ISK
2020
2021
Salary
Promotional costs
Travel costs
Other costs
41.466
10.463
555
1.201
50.076
2.432
460
537
total
60.738
53.685

Valid

professionalism
We evaluate results, work on improvements and build trust.

Collaboration
Encourage conversation, listening and sharing.

Solutions
We look for innovative solutions to support the industry.

Staff at the end of the year

Sif Svavarsdóttir, Valdís Anna Steingrímsdóttir, Haukur Harðarson, Jóna Valborg Árnadóttir, Sigrún Kristín Magnúsdóttir, Steinunn Júlíusdóttir, Bryndís Skarphéðinsdóttir and Sigríður Guðmundsóttir

Steering Committee

The steering group of the Tourism Competence Center consists of five representatives nominated by SAF, ASÍ, the Icelandic Tourist Board as well as the Ministries of Tourism, Trade and Culture. The role of the steering group is to formulate policy and prioritize projects, facilitate connections with stakeholders, companies, trade unions, the formal school system and ministries, and evaluate products on a regular basis.

Steering group changes

The changes in the Hæfnisetur's steering committee during the year were that Jóhannes Þór Skúlason took over the chairmanship from María Guðmundsdóttir, who had held the position since the establishment of the Hæfnisetur, and Sunna Þórðardóttir took the place of Anna Katrín Einarsdóttir.

Steering group at the end of the year

Jóhannes Þór Skúlason (SAF - The Icelandic Tourism Association) Sunna Þórðardóttir (Ministry of Industry and Innovation) Hulda Anna Arnljótsdóttir (Ministry of Education and Culture) Fríða Rós Valdimarsdóttir (ASÍ - Alþýðusamband Íslands)
Elías Bj. Gíslason (Icelandic Tourist Board)

New on hæfni.is

On the website of the Tourism Competence Center, you can find a variety of tools for education and various criteria for evaluating its success. The material is designed, developed and adapted to the needs of the industry and open to everyone for use. The site also contains a wide range of courses offered by the various educators, testimonials, instructions and good advice.

During the year, new and improved digital tools were added, more good advice for managers and an educational portal with courses.

The main innovations are:

  1. Kanni.is - an analysis tool for examining companies' need for education and training
  2. Performance measures - to evaluate the success of education
  3. Resilience advice and exercises for managers
  4. Reception of new staff - practical advice for managers
  5. Education portal - a selection of courses for the tourism industry

Examples of courses in the education portal

Change management
Better understanding and improved communication
General meteorology and interpretation of weather forecasts
Humor works - really
Leadership in sustainability
Promotional technology
Successful teamwork
Stronger and more confident voice
Coaching in management
Tourism environment design

The project manager settles the year

Haukur Harðarson

In December 2020, a new agreement was signed between the Ministry of Industry and Innovation and the FA to manage the Tourism Competence Center for the next three years. The tasks of the Tourism Competence Center are clearly linked to the government's policy regarding the future vision and guiding light of Icelandic tourism. Emphasis is placed on the Hæfnisetur's collaboration with other support systems in the industry.

In the discussion about the musculoskeletal system, I remember a picture in Vegvís in tourism from October 2015, I think it went by the name monster. The picture covers two A4 pages and shows how complex the organization of the article was in terms of administration and legal environment. We do not want to go there.

During the year, the co-operation between the destination agency and the Tourism Competence Center was completed. Work also began on developing co-operation with individual destination agencies, and the co-operation is progressing well where it has begun, with two destination agencies having signed a co-operation declaration. For the Fitness Center, it is invaluable to be in collaboration with regional parties such as the destination offices. It is a key factor in increasing the utilization of the tools and solutions that Hæfnisetrið has developed and is available to companies.

The development of education in connection with tourism has been successful. Curricula for certification have now been submitted to the Directorate of Education (MMS) related to upper secondary schools and upper secondary education. 

Structure and the contents of the curriculum have been presented to upper secondary schools and lifelong learning centers, the response is positive but it is unclear whether and where the study will be offered. It will be one of next year's projects to follow suit. It is therefore gratifying that the governing charter of the new government contains a provision to strengthen education in tourism.

Establishing a comprehensive education in line with the needs of the profession takes time and the project never really ends. I am convinced that the needs analysis that took place with the tourism industry as an industry and the fact that the Tourism Competence Center had a clear mandate from the steering group to follow up the project is the key to where we have come.

This has been a difficult year for the tourism industry and it has certainly affected our work at the Fitness Center. Despite uncertainty about the future, we believe we feel that companies should place more emphasis on quality services and a good reputation. That is where we want to contribute.

Role

To work on the basis of the tourism industry to strengthen the skills and professionalism of managers and staff and thus promote increased quality, a positive image and profitability of the industry.

Identify educational needs, develop solutions, form relationships and increase collaboration on education and training.

To promote effective education in accordance with the needs of the industry and make the benefits of it visible.

The future of tourism

Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir Minister of Tourism

Tourism is the industry that generates the most foreign exchange earnings for the national economy. It is therefore important that she regains her former strength both quickly and well. In unprecedented times, the industry has shown flexibility and ambition to succeed, among other things by changing the structure of operations, investments, digital development and product development. This work pays off now that we are laying the foundations for rebuilding the tourism industry. Despite the great willingness of the public to travel after the travel restrictions during the pandemic, it is clear that international competition for the tourist will be fierce. That is why it is very important to consider the competitiveness of the industry. The Government Charter stipulates that tourism in Iceland is profitable and competitive in harmony with nature, Icelandic culture and language, and that Iceland is a leader in sustainable development and innovation in tourism.

Tourism is a field of knowledge based on staff, their skills and knowledge. To ensure that tourists continue to receive excellent service and that their experience is enjoyable and unique, staffing, competence and professionalism must be put in the forefront. One consequence of the pandemic in the tourism industry is that experienced staff have disappeared from the industry, thus losing important knowledge and experience. Therefore, it is even more important than before to build and increase knowledge and skills in order for the resistance to be as effective as possible. The tourism industry has a clear vision of education in the industry and the priorities that need to be brought to the fore in the coming months. The emphasis should first be on practical skills with an emphasis on services and on increasing the supply of recognized and practical internships in tourism. The structure of studies in the field must take into account the needs of the business community as well as the needs of students, and that the study based on the competence framework for Icelandic education be staggered, practical and accessible. The Tourism Competence Center is one of the key links in making the vision and the guiding light we have set for Icelandic tourism until the year 2030 a reality. The fitness center also plays a key role in making tourism as a future industry a desirable workplace where opportunities are offered for professional development.

It was invaluable for us to have the opportunity to go on an educational campaign under the guidance of the Fitness Center. We got to know the many tools that Hæfnisetrið has developed, such as Kanna, where companies can examine the need for education and job satisfaction. We made an educational plan and got help finding an educator. The fitness center followed the project very well with support and encouragement, I doubt we would have managed to finish it otherwise. Now we are on track and will implement these processes into all our educational work.

Sigríður Margrét Guðmundsdóttir, director of the Settlement Center

Education for the future

Since the beginning of 2018, the Tourism Competence Center has visited 270 tourism companies in the country and had a conversation with managers about education and training of staff. The fitness center has provided advice and assisted more than 100 companies in educational matters with a total of 3.500 employees. Emphasis is placed on listening to the needs of companies and most of the tools found on the Fitness Center's website are related to these visits.

Business services

A review of the Education in Tourism project was completed during the year, and a new and improved project was launched under the name Education for the Future. The project focuses on small and medium-sized companies and is carried out in collaboration with educators in each area as needed.

The aim of the project is to empower managers in identifying the need for education, establishing education in accordance with the need and evaluating its results. In the future, they will be able to manage their own educational affairs. The Hæfnisetur's service includes management receiving advice and assistance in using the tools available on the website and assistance in applying for grants from the vocational training funds. Assistance is also provided in establishing regional co-operation on educational matters where the prerequisites for this are in place.

The Hæfnisetur's advice and support to each company can be up to 20 hours. Companies also need to provide 20 hours of meetings and work between meetings. The service is free of charge for companies.

With the help of the Fitness Center, managers can establish targeted education and training, find ways to finance education and train in:

  • Analyze staff training needs
  • Set up education according to needs
  • Measure the results

Education for the future - the organization of work in six steps

Introduction

The fitness center introduces its tools and offers advice and support to establish targeted education.

Organization

Role and vision of a company, goal setting
and expectations. Process prepared, timeline.

Needs

Teaching of the Fitness Center's tools, selection and registration of performance measures, educational need assessed. Surveys sent out.

Education

Review the educational analysis, set up a plan and decide on a course. Education takes place.

Success

Final measurements of results recorded. Subsequent surveys sent out.

Summary

Feedback, lessons learned.

Co-operation declaration of the Tourism Competence Center and the destination office

The co-operation declaration creates a framework for the co-operation as a whole, but also a framework for co-operation between individual destinations and the Tourism Competence Center.

The co-operation declaration includes the following:

  • To work on the basis of the tourism industry to strengthen the skills and professionalism of managers and staff and thus promote increased quality, a positive image and profitability of the industry.
  • To work on an analysis of the need for education in collaboration with local people, both educators and tourism companies.
  • Promote the development of solutions suitable for all sizes of companies.
  • To encourage tourism companies to invest in education and training.
  • Work to improve the framework for and access to education in tourism.
  • Inform and share, form relationships and increase collaboration on education and training.
  • To promote effective education in accordance with the needs of the industry and make the benefits of it visible. 
  • To promote co-operation between the parties concerned so that the role and work processes become clear.
It has been very helpful to take part in the project, review these courses, send out job satisfaction surveys, training requests and more to staff and partners, re-evaluate the staff handbook and novice training, compile compliments and complaints. When many projects are in progress, it is invaluable to receive guidance through the process and access to all kinds of material that makes it easier for you to work and can continue to be used.

Ragnhildur Sigurðardóttir, managing director of the Snæfellsnes Regional Park

During travel and flight

The staff of the Hæfnisetur visited companies in the capital area, Suðurland, Suðurnes and in Akureyri and Húsavík during the year to present the project Education for the future to the management.

Open meetings were held in Snæfellsnes, Eyjafjarðarsveit and Mývatnssveit in collaboration with the following parties in the areas to present the solutions available to the tourism industry
in educational matters.

Regional meetings:

  • Shake-up of tourism operators in Snæfellsnes in collaboration with the Regional Park
  • Eyjafjarðarsveit in collaboration with Ferðamálafélag Eyjafarðarsveit
  • Mývatnssveit in collaboration with Mývatnsstofa

A comprehensive study line in tourism

In 2018, a journey was launched with the aim of analyzing and disseminating the business community's vision of studies in tourism so that this vision would be a guiding light for schools and the authorities in building education for this large industry. This would lead to studies that would be in line with the needs of the business community (companies and employees). The study would be practical, accessible and graduation would have value in the labor market and for further study. It would be easy for individuals to see the possibilities and connections of learning regardless of school systems.

During the year, we finished writing curricula that took into account the needs analysis of the tourism industry that were presented in the report. Fitness is the foundation of quality. The study program in tourism will be an open way for everyone who wants to increase their skills for jobs in tourism, regardless of age. The study will be equivalent between the systems of upper secondary education and upper secondary school, as well as an easy way for those who want to continue their studies within upper secondary school and university. The project was managed by Framhaldsskólinn í Austur - Skaftafellssýsla according to an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Culture and FA. The Tourism Competence Center is a partner in this writing and the collaboration has been successful. The study line is currently in the formal certification process at MMS.

In December, work began on introducing educators to what has been done to examine their interest in taking up the program. The first visits are to those who have already shown interest in the study and have followed the work so far. The promotional work will continue in 2022 and it will be interesting to see how the educators' interest in taking up studies in accordance with the work that has been done will go.

Although the emphasis of the business community on the structure of education is clear, it does not always fit the "system". In part, this has to do with the end of studies, what can be taught where, the names of courses and the phasing of studies. It has been proven that building an education on the Icelandic competence framework is a key to tiered learning. This will be tried now that the products have been submitted for certification, but there is reason for optimism.

In parallel with work on the study line, four short curricula related to tourism were revised at FA during the year. They are based on the same skills analyzes working in tourism and the study line and can be used to shorten further studies.

Curricula that received certification during the year:

  • Tourism I - 5 fein
  • Tourism II - 9 fein
  • Tourism - Reception of accommodations - 6,5 fein
  • Tourism - Restaurant - 6,5 fein

Curriculum in tourism

Professional certificate - level 2 Core + specialization
Graduation - level 3 Core + specialization
Specialization related to tourism
Mountaineering 70 credits
Mountaineering 50 credits
Food / snacks 50 units
Bachelor's degree
Receipt 50 feints
Receipt 70 feints
Tourism essence
The essence of tourism is 40 units
The essence of tourism is 10 units
Choice
Student 40 credits
The study line is divided into undergraduate studies and specializations with graduations at both 2nd and 3rd level. At level 2, the end of studies is based on 90 credits, where the base is 40 credits, and is then divided into specializations, each of which is 50 credits. At level 3, 10 credits in undergraduate studies and 70 credits in specialization are added. The total level of study at level 2 and 3 is 150 credits.

Initial presentations completed on the course line

Fjölbraut Breiðholt

Education network of the South

Háskólinn in Hólum

Eyjafjörður Lifelong Learning Center

Suðurnesja polytechnic school

Lifelong learning center in Suðurnes

University Center of the South

University of Iceland

Akureyri Polytechnic school

Menntaskólinn í Kópavogur

Analysis - data collection

What jobs are related to tourism? What is the future vision for tourism? What studies are available today?

Conversation with the business community and educators

Conversation with individual companies and trade unions Groups convened in individual sectors Larger meetings - workshops Report: Competence is the basis for quality

Conversation with educators and the government

Analysis of opportunities and obstacles. Big picture drawn

Implementation - implementation

Adapt to the "system" Write curricula Implement Marketing

Promotion and marketing

The Fitness Center's website continued to grow and develop during the year as a marketplace for tourism for education. The number of users increased and the number of visits to the site also coincided with the Hæfnisetur's direct introductions to the companies, open meetings in the countryside and Menntamorgnar ferðaþjónustan.

One educational video was produced during the year and it premiered at Menntamorgni ferðaþjónustan in May, where the topic was the reception of new staff. The video is accessible on the website along with other educational and introductory videos from the Fitness Center.

The social media facebook plays a major role in the promotional work of the Fitness Center. Constant dissemination of content and news from hæfni.is goes through the medium. The videos are used to support the website's functionality via facebook.

Website functionality from 1 Sept. to Dec. 1 2021 compared to the same period last year

New users 21% increase

Number of visits 18,1% increase

Average visiting hours 2 min. and 40 sec.

Education morning of tourism

The Tourism Competence Center and SAF are responsible for the Menntamorgunn ferðaþjónustan meeting series to present the latest developments regarding the competence and quality of tourism in Iceland. During the year, three such meetings were held, focusing on different issues, the reception of new staff, resilience and well-being in the workplace, and innovation in tourism. A regular part of the meetings is that the management shares their experience and gives good advice.

After the meetings were transferred exclusively to electronic form, the number of participants who monitor in real time has increased and viewership has increased.

In a survey sent out after Menntamorgun ferðaþjónustan on 18 November. 86% of respondents said they were very or rather satisfied with the meeting as a whole. In the same survey, ideas for material for the next meetings were requested, and many mentioned in their answers human resources, as well as sustainable tourism and encouragement in the time of Covid. While one found it helpful to hear experiences, another mentioned that he wanted fewer experiences and more education.

The companies that are engaged in continuous innovation are in many ways much better equipped to deal with […] changes because they are always busy changing ideas and implementing ideas and are thus in good training to take on against change.

Ragnar Fjalar Sævarsson, consultant in innovation and lecturer at Menntamorgni ferðaþjónustan

Innovation in tourism, 18 November. 2021. Lecturers together with the staff of Hæfnistur and SAF after the meeting.
Resilience and well-being in the workplace, 21 October. 2021. Lecturers together with the technician and the staff of the Competence Center and SAF after the meeting.

March 2022
Publisher: Tourism Competence Center
The project is hosted by the Icelandic Business Education Center

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