Enthusing the Travel and Tourism professionals of tomorrow

Updated: 02-02-2012
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The University of Brighton and the Institute of Travel and Meetings (ITM) recently held the first ever "Travel Professionals of Tomorrow" conference to encourage more students to think about a career in the travel industry. Over 100 sixth form students from across Sussex and Surrey attended the event investigating the changing nature of the travel and tourism industry and the variety of careers available in this dynamic industry.

The day started with a tour of the American Express Community Stadium, home of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club. The tour included a presentation from Richard Hebberd, Head of Operations at the stadium on the importance of sport and tourism to the local economy and the role of the new stadium in developing the event and entertainment industry for Sussex. The tour was followed by a series of lectures on different aspects of the Travel industry. Patrick Kuziw, Travel Manager at SOS International explored the issues of what travellers should do if caught out in a disaster or conflict zone. Ian Jones, Director of Group Sales at De Vere Group enthused the students to join the industry saying how diverse and exciting the hospitality and meetings industry is.

The speakers from Virgin Atlantic encouraged all the students to think differently and be unique. Kerry Douglas, Global and Multinational Sales Manager and Louise Lloyd, Regional Sales Manager explored the growth of the airline and how it tries to differentiate itself from the competition. Ike Ihenacho, ITM Board Director and Head of Travel at Nokia chaired a lively panel debate of issues raised by the students. This included how they could ensure career progression in the industry and the panellist's views on how the industry would change in the next 10 years.

The panellist's all agreed that technology and product differentiation were going to have a major impact on the future of the travel industry. They also stressed that there are always roles in this industry for those who are people focused, know how to work hard but importantly also enjoy themselves at the same time.

Jack Hovell, a sixth form student at Varndean College described the event as a very interesting day. He said: "There were some good facts, which were easy to listen and to understand". The event also assisted teachers in encouraging their student's. Adam Webster from Imberhorne School believe it was "an excellent event that provided my students with an interesting glimpse into the travel industry".

The day was co hosted by the University of Brighton with the ITM, reflecting the importance that the university places on making the degrees it offers both relevant to industry whilst educating professionals of the future. The University of Brighton and the ITM have been in partnership in education for the past two years. The ITM accredit the university's International Travel Management BA(Hons)degree, the only such accreditation in the country.

Simone Buckley, ITM's CEO said: "bringing new talent into this industry is of the utmost importance to the ITM and we are proud of the work that we do with Brighton University in order to help make this happen."

Senior lecturer Janet Woolley said: "It is very important for us to have strong links with local schools alongside industry organisations such as the ITM. Links with industry ensure our courses are relevant and our graduates are fully prepared for a career in the travel and tourism industry."

 

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