A career in Travel & Tourism can take many different routes on leaving education and training, from joining cabin crew to resort managers and adventure tourism. Grantham College have been running Travel & Tourism courses for over a decade with students going on to a range of courses at University, with some going straight into the travel industry.
On joining a Travel & Tourism course students learn from a team of staff that have a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills from their time as holiday representatives to resort managers and even working abroad in the Army. Staff specialise in European travel having worked for the likes of Thomas Cook, Cosmos Holidays, First Choice in Corfu, Turkey, Cyprus, Spain and Greece and have strong contacts within the travel industry to enable students to gain valuable work experience, work placements and trips.
Travel & Tourism students gain practical and hands-on knowledge of the sector through primary school visits to the full scale replica air cabin at Grantham College throughout the year. Students meet and greet the young passengers, who have decided at school where they will be ‘flying’ to on Grantham Air, take them through passport control and security checks before boarding them on to the plane. Once on the plane the travel students go through the safety briefing with the passengers, just like air cabin crew would if you were about to fly out for your holiday, before take-off. The young passengers are served juice and biscuits and sometimes have a sing-along!
Throughout the year students also have the opportunity to go along to the training facilities at Thomson Fly at East Midlands airport where they access the same training facilities that Thomson Fly air cabin crew are trained at. Throughout the day students are taught and have a go at opening and closing the aircraft door, something that looks easy but can be quite tricky, encounter an emergency resulting in everyone having to evacuate the aircraft and use the emergency slide and go through Thomson Fly’s safety briefing. Students also take part in a role play activity where the scenario picks up after students/passengers have made an emergency exit from the air cabin what would they do, how do they arrange passengers, which passengers take priority or will require help etc. Representatives from Thomson Fly also speak to students about their experiences within travel, the training they went through, the highs and lows of the industry before finishing with a Q&A.
Students on Travel & Tourism courses are offered the opportunity to go on a two week fully funded work experience placement in Rimini, Italy as part of the Leonardo Programme funded by the European Union Lifelong Learning Programme. Before students leave they are given basic Italian lessons to enable them to interact with local people as some students undertake work placements at receptions of large hotels. Whilst undertaking their work placements students get to encounter how the industry is different to the UK, as well as putting into practise those skills learned about back in the classroom.
As well as all of the above students take part in trips to the Tower of London, Belton House, a variety of universities such as Liverpool, Leeds and Lincoln, participate in the Gravity Fields event as tour guides and go down to London for the World Travel Market event. Students plan their travel to London and map out which tour operators, airlines and talks they want to attend beforehand as there are eight areas with over 280 stands in attendance.
All of the hands on experience, trips, talks and work placements mean that students studying Travel & Tourism at Grantham College will leave with relevant knowledge of the industry as well as a qualification that means they go onto University to further their study or into several industry related jobs.
Philippa Hallam a recent Travel & Tourism student from Grantham College said ‘When I finished the Airline and Airport Operations Course at Grantham College, I went straight to Leeds Metropolitan University (now Leeds Beckett) to study BA (Hons) Event Management. This was a four year sandwich course which involved a one year placement. I undertook this placement at Olympia London, in their conference centre. This greatly helped my remaining time at University, developing my work place skills, gaining valuable experience and expanding my knowledge of the industry.’
‘Through keeping in contact with people I had met on placement, when I graduated from University, I was offered a graduate position in London, working for a company who produce around 50 conferences a year. I have learnt to extensively network and keep in contact with people you meet, plus try to volunteer as much as possible whilst at University to gain as much experience as possible.’
Salaries within the industry vary depending on the job role and previous experience. On average a holiday representative can earn between £390 and £435 a month whereas a tourism manager at senior level could earn between £27k – £30k (www.industryspotlight.org.uk/travel-tourism) and airline crew up to £41k (www.reed.co.uk/average-salary/leisure-tourism)
There are currently 3.7 million people employed in the travel and tourism sector – could you be the next?