Taking the next steps to a career in tourism

As part of their course, the HND Tourism students were challenged to organise a tourism conference. In this blog we hear from some of the students about their event management experience.


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The recent #nextstepsconference was led by HND Tourism students and delivered through informative workshops for secondary school pupils and tourism students alike on what their ‘next steps’ on the career ladder in the tourism industry could be.

Over 80 delegates attended on the day with representation from a number of schools – Belmont Academy, Greenwood Academy, The Grange, Prestwick Academy and St Joseph’s Academy.

Marc Crothall, CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, provided the key note speech about the wider range of employment opportunities in the tourism sector.

Speakers also included Craig Lawless from ACE Adventures, Claire Munroe from the Scottish Maritime Museum and Claire Donaldson from SRUC presented on the various niche sectors that offer employment in rural tourism.

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The HND Tourism students who organised and led the event showed great enthusiasm and passion for the tourism industry in Ayrshire, Scotland and beyond!


We asked them to share their thoughts on the day.

Devlin McCloskey – My role as manager of the #nextstepsconference was overseeing all operations in both planning and management of the event. My job on the day of the event was to make sure delegates were being registered by reception staff and being shown the industry stands. I also helped with the set-up of the venue – checking everything was located where it should be.

I was so proud of how the conference went.  The most rewarding aspect of organising the event was hearing delegates, guest speakers, industry partners and our lecturer Richard Canale give positive feedback about the success of the conference. It gave us all a sense of great pride in our achievements.

Have a look at Facebook Live videos from the event here.

Daina McVey – I was keen to showcase what travel and tourism courses are on offer at Ayrshire College and I’ve gained more skills from organising the conference.  I felt it was a great opportunity to promote Scotland’s fantastic tourist industry to the next generation.

Jodie Timmins – I’d really been looking forward to the event and seeing all of our hard work come together.  It was a great opportunity to show what travel and tourism entails as I feel most people think it’s only based around travel agents and cabin crew.  It’s so much more!

Logan Erskine – this was a superb learning experience and a great way to promote tourism to the local school leavers.  Being involved with this event will definitely be an asset for my CV.

Patrycja Wirkus – the conference has been a great opportunity to see what it is like running this kind of event and being part of an events team.  It’s hectic, but a great way to encourage people to think about a career in the tourism industry.

You can find out more about travel and tourism courses at Ayrshire College here.

Events roles are found in many different types of sectors such as hospitality and tourism, education, sport, and entertainment.  Apply now for HNC Events

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