The sky is the limit for travel and tourism students at Sunderland College according to high-flying businessman John Hays.
John, founder and managing director of Hays Travel, the UK’s largest independent travel agent, met with students at the college’s Hays Travel Academy this week to share his insight and offer careers advice.
His visit formed part of Sunderland College’s ‘Raising Aspirations’ event, designed to give students an overview of the opportunities available to them in the travel and tourism industry.
John, who was born and bred in Sunderland, spoke about his own experience setting up his company – which has grown from one travel agency in Seaham to a business with more than 100 branches and an annual turnover of £650million.
He also offered advice about the careers available in Hays Travel through its apprenticeship scheme, his company’s ethos of upskilling and promoting from within, and the firm’s partnership with Sunderland College.
John said: “Hays Travel has a close relationship with Sunderland College, and as ever I was inspired and motivated by the enthusiastic young people I met. There is so much talent here and we are delighted to be part of the Raising Aspirations campaign.”
The event, which was aimed at students in the final year of their Level 3 Travel and Tourism National Diploma, also featured talks from former students who completed higher education qualifications at the college’s Hays Travel Academy.
Following a long and successful partnership, the academy was launched earlier this year, and offers students high-quality training and relevant hands-on experience.
Students have the opportunity to carry out work experience at a variety of Hays Travel branches in the Wearside area, and those who successfully complete the placements are invited to interview for an apprenticeship role within the company.
The programme of learning within the academy includes masterclasses and workshops from industry experts, and the Hays Travel-endorsed curriculum comprises of practical and theoretical skills training to prepare students for a career in the travel and tourism sector.
Kelly Mounsey, travel and tourism lecturer at Sunderland College, said: “We were delighted to welcome John to the Hays Travel Academy. His talk to the students was very inspirational and encouraged students to think about gaining higher qualifications such as HNDs and degrees to maximise their futures in the industry. Not only did he talk about the industry in general and how it’s changing, but he also explained to the students the part they can play in helping to shape the sector and ensure its success, through hard work and excellent customer service.
“The Hays Travel Academy has enjoyed a very successful nine months, and it was great for John to meet the students again and to witness the great work that is happening at the college.”
The academy will relocate to the college’s new £29million City Campus, which is due to open in September 2016 and will house a range of professional and technical courses, including all travel and tourism programmes, along with City Sun Travel, the college’s commercial travel agency.
Kelly added: “The move to City Campus next year will open up further learning and work placement opportunities for our students. They will be taught in state-of-the-art facilities and have access to skills training in the college’s vibrant city centre travel agency, which will give them a massive advantage when applying for jobs in the industry.
“We will also be introducing a brand new HND course in Hospitality Management at City Campus, in addition to the HND in Travel and Tourism Management we currently offer as part of our higher education provision. This will not only enhance our students’ skills but will make sure we are meeting the training needs of travel and tourism employers in the region.”
To find out more about Hays Travel, click here.