St Mary’s University, Twickenham offers all Tourism Management BA students an industry work placement and second year Emma Hoskins has recently been on a seven-week placement with tour operator Iceland Traveller, she tells us more about it below.
Tell us more about the placement.
I worked in a small team at the company’s office in Esher, Surrey for one day a week across seven weeks and found the placement through the University’s Centre for Workplace Learning.
How do you feel the placement has helped you and given you valuable experience?
It’s been really valuable. I’ve managed to get tourism work experience on my CV and I actually feel I got more out of it with it being a small business and workplace because I received one-to-one feedback on the work I was doing and was able to ask for advice so easily.
What were you doing on a day-to-day basis?
I was doing price comparisons between Iceland Traveller and its competitors and also the suppliers. I was also diary planning the networking events and tours and holidays to Iceland. I collated feedback from those who went on the tours, sorted out the vouchers that people get to pay for hotels and dinners on the trips, learned how mail merge works and also updated the company’s social media channels.
How does the placement set you up for what you want to do in the future?
It’s actually opened my eyes to potentially having my own business. It’s not something I’d considered before but seeing the day-to-day life of a small business and how it all works has changed that. I’ve also managed to gain some invaluable experience which will set me up well for the future.
What advice would you give to other students about placements and how to maximise your opportunities while you are there?
Just grab the opportunity with both hands, you get great experience and it breaks up the semester nicely, giving you something else to focus on for a bit. It also helps you learn new skills or hone ones you already had before. I would basically say to anyone doing a placement that you should ask as many questions as you can while there and be as prepared as you can because you really get out what you put in.
What are your aims and ambitions for the future and for when you graduate?
The placement has really opened another door for me tourism-wise because that’s not something I was sure I wanted to do before and then there’s the other side where I’m now thinking about starting my own business.