CAA Launches Free Advisor Training Program for New Hires

The Canadian Automobile Association is launching a new program to help train travel advisors and “bridge a skills gap” in the industry.

People interested in being an agent at the CAA Club Group of Companies (CCG) the parent organization of CAA South Central Ontario (SCO) and CAA Travel will be enrolled in a free, two-month training program called the CCG Travel Academy to make sure they have the right set of skills for a customer service job. They’ll be paid as they get trained, and will be given a job after they finish the program, said Catherine Sieniewicz, vice president, Travel and Retail, CAA Club Group of Companies.

“There are a lot of colleges and such out there, but we wanted something specific for agents, with a variety of subjects or modules,” Sieniewicz told Open Jaw.

One of the main qualifications CAA is looking for is people with a real passion for travel.

“They have to be caring and really focused on service,” Sieniewicz said. “We have a very strong culture of care and compassion, so they really need a strong attention to detail, and have to show a willingness to learn.”

The Travel Academy will be a mix of classroom and on-the-job training, she said. It’s a mandatory program, but programs can be adapted for advisors who already have considerable experience.

“Following the COVID-19 pandemic, CAA Travel leaders said they have increasingly noticed an issue with the quality of candidates seeking travel agent positions,” Sieniewicz said. “That made it hard to hire qualified people who provide the level of quality and care that CAA expects for its members and customers. “

“CAA Travel is growing, and we want to ensure that we can continue to provide the top-quality service and expertise that we are known for,” she said. “As an organization with extensive experience in Associate training, learning, and development, we decided to build a customized, best-in-class program designed to train qualified travel agents from the ground up.”

The CCG Travel Academy will run twice in 2024 and then quarterly in 2025 onward, and includes a mix of classroom education and on-the-job training..

“Participants will gain fundamental industry knowledge, a deep understanding of CAA products and services, and the system and process training that is required to perform successfully in a travel role at CAA,” Sieniewicz said.

Job shadowing and on-the-job practice will be woven throughout the program to help ensure that participants can expertly apply key learnings. Travel licencing (TICO) reimbursement will also be covered.

To join the inaugural cohort of agents in The CCG Travel Academy, visit their careers site and apply to one of their open travel roles.

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