Students studying travel and tourism have made a plea to travel companies to offer more work experience opportunities.
In a session at the ITT Conference in Split, entitled Attracting tomorrow’s leaders today: Are you really a great place to work? students participating in the panel stressed the Catch-22 often facing their peers. “You can’t get into the industry without experience, but you can’t always get experience,” said Katy Varty, who is currently studying at Leeds Beckett University.
“There are a lack of tourism businesses offering placements. We need businesses to come to us and to liaise with universities.”
Eleanor Greatorex, who is also studying at Leeds Beckett University, agreed, adding: “If a graduate scheme or placement year doesn’t necessarily work for your employer, please look at other ways [to get involved], such as mentoring someone.
“There are other ways to help young people wanting to get into the industry, and they will tell their peers too, and will spread the message about your company, so it can be beneficial to your business too,” she pointed out.
It came as moderator Claire Steiner, chair of the ITT’s education and training committee, issued delegates with a challenge to help more young people wanting to enter the industry: “I would like as many of you to offer your or your business’s time,” she urged. “It could be by giving a guest lecture, or a speech to students.”
Steiner praised a number of companies who have already come forward, including Party Hard Travel, MSC, Abta and Interhome. “It’s a great opportunity to get the best out of people,” she added.
Elsewhere, other young people in the industry discussed their experiences, from joining apprentice schemes to working in graduate placements.
Lee Ainsworth, trading and product manager for Advantage Travel Partnership and a TTG 30 Under 30 alumnus, praised his apprenticeship route – “I wanted to learn directly on the ball” – and stressed he “probably wouldn’t be on this stage today” if that apprenticeship opportunity hadn’t been there.
Louie Davies, UK ancillaries manager, who is also a former member of TTG’s 30 Under 30 scheme, joined Thomas Cook on a graduate scheme, which he said offered a “great, holistic view of the company”.
Meanwhile, Interhome’s commercial sales manager Danny Waine, another TTG 30 Under 30 alumnus, said he had always wanted to work in travel, pointing out that what he enjoyed most about the sector was the fact “everyone is just so passionate about working in this industry”.