New Tomorrow’s Travel Leader Rachael Belshaw, business development manager, Attraction World, shares her story with Rob Gill.
Attraction World’s Rachael Belshaw has her mother to thank for encouraging her to move into the travel industry as a teenager – and she hasn’t looked back since.
Aged 17, Rachael hadn’t been considering a career in travel until her mum spotted an advertisement for an apprentice travel agent in the window of a Thomson shop in her native north-east.
“It was lucky that my mum saw the ad,” she says. “I had spent a year at college doing a non-travel course and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. But I applied for the apprenticeship and haven’t looked back since.”
Rachael doesn’t just have a love for travel, she also enjoys the training process – so much so that she decided to become a trainer, aged 19, after spending two years as an agent at Thomson stores in Cramlington and Newcastle upon Tyne.
“I decided to go into training after I completed my apprenticeship with Thomson because I looked up to my trainer so much and thought it was something I wanted to do,” explains Rachael.
After qualifying as a trainer, Rachael spent several years educating travel staff, firstly at Training for Travel and then at Thomson-owner Tui, where she held the position of NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) assessor and internal quality assurer.
“I was training people who were much older than me, so that was a bit of a challenge to gain their respect and show that I knew what I was talking about,” she adds.
Challenges are something that Rachael obviously thrives on and this was one of the main reason for joining add-ons specialist Attraction World two years ago as business development manager, covering north-east England and Scotland.
“I worked in training for six years – it was a role that I loved but I felt I could do it with my eyes shut. I wanted to remain in travel but take on a new challenge. Attraction World has been a fantastic job and it’s so diverse,” she says.