Kirsty McMillan is in her 6th year at Stewarton Academy and plans to study events management at university. She spent a week on work experience with the marketing team at Ayrshire College and one of her tasks was to write a blog promoting travel and tourism courses.
During my week of work experience at Ayrshire College, I interviewed Travel and Tourism lecturer Angela McCallum about how studying courses like An Introduction to Activity Tourism (Level 4) can lead to exciting job prospects with many opportunities.
Angela started as a holiday rep in Switzerland and worked her way up the ranks of the tourism industry through her hard work and passion. She explained to me that tourism is an ever expanding sector across the world. Discrediting concerns that jobs in this sector are all seasonal or low paid, she explained that it is an extremely valued profession. There are broad horizons for students after they graduate such as working on cruise ships and becoming holiday reps, tour managers or product managers.
As a product manager, you need to pitch creative ideas and put them together through negotiating prices, creating contracts and planning flights. The demand for activity holidays has grown greatly in recent years with opportunities for winter and summer sports, water sports and holiday retreats. These have helped the tourism industry in Scotland and the UK boom. Product managers constantly have to look out for the trends from films and TV series, and use popular interests to create unique activities such as visits to the castle featured on ‘Downtown Abbey’. Scotland has benefited greatly from the influence of movies such as ‘Brave’ and ‘World War Z’ and events like the Commonwealth Games on tourists. For every £1 that Scotland invests into the tourism industry, we get more than £20 back. This expansion of tourism in Scotland provides many jobs for graduates and there are over 350 businesses in Scotland in adventure tourism alone.
Angela describes a course and job in tourism as opening the student’s eyes to the big box of chocolates that is the world. It helps them to meet new people and expand their minds while learning about new cultures. Employers are looking for passionate people with enthusiastic, can-do attitudes. Ayrshire College helps their students achieve this through creating real and live experiences to learn from. Examples of this are the various trips and guest speakers brought in for the students to receive inspiration and motivation from.
These activities include visits to Glasgow airport, a Skype call to award winning travel agent Helen Furlong and presentations from British Airways cabin crew. Later this month, students will visit Glasgow to see how tourism is growing in the city. They will meet the HR Manager of the Radisson hotel and visit the Glasgow Christmas market to see how it is attracting tourists. These engaging activities, combined with passionate lecturers, create the perfect learning environment for the students to gain the necessary skills and experience for a job in this exciting profession.
With tourism jobs sometimes being dismissed as not a true profession, Angela is eager to prove how valuable a qualification in the sector can be. She said “I started as a resort rep and my career progressed to senior management level, where my teams and I looked after 200,000 clients with a turnover of£76 million. Working in tourism is most definitely a profession where the sky is literally the limit!”
At the College students experience outstanding training which ensures that their clients have a great experience while under their responsibility. Many benefits are reaped from securing a job in this sector as students have the chance to gain new skills such as skiing, languages and many more, as well as getting to travel to exciting places. I would highly recommend the An Introduction to Activity Tourism (Level 4) course as students gain vital employability skills for a thriving sector with many and varied employment opportunities.
The course starts in January at the College’s Ayr Campus. Click here for more information.
RAISING ASPIRATIONS | INSPIRING ACHIEVEMENT | INCREASING OPPORTUNITIES