18 November 2016

Travel and Tourism case study

Leah McClaren studied Travel and Tourism at Eastleigh College, and now works as a Passenger Service Agent at Southampton Airport.

When Leah left school she knew she wanted to go to college, but she wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to study. She thought Hair & Beauty may be a good option for her, but in the end she decided to enrol on a Travel and Tourism course. Leah particularly enjoyed studying cruises and what these involve, and also learning how to conduct an emergency evacuation in water. This included visits to a local swimming pool where students had to simulate an aircraft evacuation in life vests. As soon as she started the course Leah thought she would enjoy a career as a Cabin Crew member, but after completing work experience at Swissport her outlook has changed on the options available to her. Leah knew A levels weren’t the right option for her as she thrived in a more practical environment, so she thought a course in Hair and Beauty was the most obvious alternative. It wasn’t until she heard a few friends discussing the option of Travel and Tourism that she became interested and decided to give it a try. The two-week work experience placement involved learning interview techniques, taking part in Swissport training procedures and shadowing members of staff at the airport. Leah felt like her course had prepared her well for this, but there was so much more to learn! After the placement, Swissport selected four of the seven students who took part and invited them to interview for a permanent role at the company. Leah couldn’t believe that she was chosen and was offered a job as a Passenger Service Agent to start straight away after finishing her college course. Leah’s job involves understanding the software system used during the check-in process, meeting and greeting passengers, boarding flights, and making announcements to passengers over the tannoy. She really enjoys her job, and is now more open to other roles within the industry. Leah would be thrilled to eventually work for a large airline, or even work on cruises. Leah is really pleased that she studied the Travel and Tourism course. Commenting on why she chose a vocational qualification, she said, “Vocational qualifications are better at preparing you for your career. Getting involved in tasks that you will be doing in your job is a great way to learn.” Work experience is a great way to make industry contacts and land your first job, and at Eastleigh College, we make sure you have access to local industry links.

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