The sky’s the limit now for travel and tourism students’ skills, following the launch of a new interactive classroom at West Nottinghamshire College.

Students had no trouble boarding their flight Vision Air on Tuesday 14 June, a retired A320 airbus, which is now serving as a valuable training facility to aid their aviation knowledge. 

The cabin will now become an interactive classroom for travel and tourism students

Welcoming staff and students aboard for the first time, students on the Advanced Diploma in Travel and Tourism put on informative displays of the kind of skills they are learning, including how to embark and disembark safely and smoothly, safety and seatbelt demonstrations and checks. 

Students also delivered their public announcement to welcome passengers on board and undertook a range of customer service skills, including serving drinks and cakes. Passengers included the college’s executive team, fellow students and staff from the college.

The plane, which was purchased from Ecube, the world’s leading aircraft end-of-life service provider, will now be used as an alternative classroom space, giving students the opportunity to get real-life experience of applying their aviation skills on-board. They will be able to experience the true-to-scale space that cabin crew have to work in, while putting the theory of aviation study modules into practice.

On launch day, students were joined by former diploma student Shea Boam, who has now gone on to work as cabin crew for Ryan Air. Joining Shea was Maria Gunning, who worked for Thomas Cooke for over 25 years as cabin crew. Maria often visits travel and tourism students to instruct on customer service skills, safety demonstrations, history of aviation and how to deal with conflict on a flight.

Former student Shea Boam came to speak to students about his career with Ryan Air

Maria said: “For me, cabin crew is the best job in the world. It’s not just a career, it’s an entire lifestyle. Despite the glitches in the airline sector at the moment, I would say it’s still a great industry to enter. There are still pathways for great careers and today’s students who have a passion for travel, it’s the perfect job. Your team of colleagues become a second family.

(l-r) Millie Rowley, Maria Gunning and Leyla Cross

“This new plane at the Derby Road campus is an absolutely fantastic idea and it’s a boost to the curriculum and any future travel and tourism students. I’m quite emotional about getting on-board and seeing the students in action!”

Current advanced diploma student James Ellis, 18, said: “The executive team’s ‘flight’ with us was really well-received. They seemed impressed with our on-flight announcement and safety checks and it was good to show staff how we’re starting to learn our skills on this plane.

“I’m looking forward to coming back to college for my second year and having this as our weekly classroom. The more practice we get on here will really assist us for the future. In the future I’m considering either being on-board a plane as cabin crew or going to university to advance my skills.”

Travel and tourism teacher Sabrina Sandhu said: “We’re really proud to finally launch Vision Air, and the students are absolutely thrilled to be able to take their learning to this interactive and immersive space. This means their skills as budding cabin crew can really broaden out with confidence. This is as true to life as being on-board a plane.

“They undertook their simulation flights with staff and students with absolute professionalism and they made me very proud. We have some great cabin crew potential amongst our learners and they’re prepared for the hard work and attention to detail that this kind of role involves.”

Students were also on-hand throughout the flights to raise funds for Newark-based Beaumond House Hospice, selling cakes, gifts and raffle tickets for a large aviation-themed cake, to their passengers.

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