Travel and tourism students from West Nottinghamshire College have been on a very important journey over the last few weeks.
Despite not being allowed to leave their home work stations, students on the travel and tourism diplomas took some interesting journeys into the world of travel and tourism. This was thanks to engaging conversations and industry tips from guests all enjoying studies and careers in the sector.
First to greet the students online through Microsoft Teams was Virgin Atlantic airline pilot Captain Jaspal Singh. Jaspal, who is a senior first officer for the company, spoke to groups about his experiences as a pilot and the countries he has flown to throughout his twenty-year career.
He helped to raise students’ motivation levels regarding the tourism market making saying students should continue to aim to reach their final career choices in life despite the setbacks over the past twelve months through the Coronavirus pandemic. His advice was to “surround yourself with people who motivate and encourage you.”
Jaspal’s advice supplemented students’ knowledge of the company following a recent online event which saw them meet with Shai Weiss, the CEO of Virgin Atlantic, through the Speakers for Schools programme.
Pippa Davies, volunteer manager from Nottingham Castle Trust, provided an insight into the positive advantages of volunteering. She spoke to students about how to get into volunteering, and shared a number of opportunities coming up this summer at Nottingham Castle. She explained how volunteering can be a fun opportunity offering individuals a chance to learn and build new skills as well as confidence and creativity.
Students on the Level 2 and Level 3 courses had the chance to speak with Liam Weston, a flight attendant for TUI. He discussed roles and responsibilities in the job, as well as tips and techniques of how to apply for roles with the company, which creates a range of holiday types such as long haul flight holidays, cruises, city breaks, river cruises and holidays in the lakes and mountains.
Alex Bell, who is studying international tourism management at University of Derby after previously completing his Foundation Degree in Visitor attraction and resort management. He met with students online to discuss university life and study options. He gave honest and valuable experiences, weighed-up pros and cons, including his experiences has a holiday representative for TUI.
Simon Pierce shared his job experience from working at McDonald’s, progressing to working with British Airways throughout his studies through to present day job as corporate receptionist with energy technology company Kiwi Power, which includes him planning corporate events for the business. This provided students with another option to consider when planning and preparing for their career goals.
Level 3 diploma student Lia Crowder, from Chesterfield, said: “Meeting the guests online was such a help for me. It was a great mix of people doing different job roles. My dream job, since I was really young, has been to be part of cabin crew. Obviously the pandemic has left a lot of people wanting to go into the travel and tourism industry very uncertain.
“My plan is to still pursue my dream to work with an airline but until I can get skilled in this role I shall concentrate on getting experience in customer service which will be very useful. Listening to the online guests helped us to realise that the industry will indeed pick-up in the near future.”
Travel and tourism tutor Hannah Locke said: “We’ve been delighted to welcome many guest speakers over the last several weeks who’ve had a huge impact in improving learner motivation and encouraging them to start thinking and planning for their futures. The travel sector is constantly evolving so we are always looking ahead for the next adventure!
“This is why the current COVID situation will not stop the tourism sector, it will just give it a push to adapt to the changing needs of its customers and grow further as many of us look to holidays as being essential for wellbeing after a difficult year. Jet2 have stated that they have seen a 1000% increase in bookings in the first 24 hours after Boris Johnson announced his COVID exit plan and as customers return, our students at West Nottinghamshire College will be well-equipped with skills and qualities to serve them due to our strong links with industry partners.”
In the forthcoming weeks the curriculum is looking forward to welcoming even more guest speakers from companies such as Center Parcs, DHL, East Midlands Airport Community Project, DANCOP and Visit Britain to boost students’ aspirations for future careers.
Visit Britain has recently selected three of the college’s travel and tourism diploma students out of a large number of national applications to participate in a virtual work experience. This will help them to develop skills with marketing the UK as a holiday destination and will enhance their CV and future employment applications.