Students who want to swap South Cumbria for sunnier climes can get fast-tracked to the holiday resorts with a new qualification at Barrow Sixth Form College.
The college has introduced a resort representative qualification as part of its Travel and Tourism programme – with a guaranteed job interview at the end.
It is endorsed by Thomas Cook and alongside their academic courses, students will now be able to learn the practical skills they need to succeed in the competitive industry.
Esme Taylor, who leads the Travel and Tourism courses at the Rating Lane college and has worked as a resort representative, said the Level 2 qualification is a brilliant way to build customer service skills needed for the role.
She said: “The tourism industry is looking for well-trained staff and this is a useful qualification not only for those who want to get into tourism but for students looking at a career with a customer service element. It’s also relevant to teaching because they have a chance to specialise as a children’s representative, which is great experience and strengthens their CV or they can also specialise as an entertainment representative.”
On completion of the course, students are guaranteed an interview with leading travel company Thomas Cook.
Karl Lloyd, 17, who is studying A-Levels in Health and Social Care, Travel and Tourism and Media Studies, said the course was exactly what he was looking for and hopes it will give him the edge in a competitive environment.
“I really want to get in to this industry and this is the chance to get a head start. My ideal job role would be a resort rep in a destination such as Ibiza. Therefore I am really looking forward to studying this award because it will give me the skills I need to succeed,” he said.
Principal David Batten said Barrow Sixth Form College was expanding its offerings at Level 2 to ensure it has a programme to suit every individual.
“Our resort representative qualification is just one of a series of work-ready qualifications we have introduced to ensure we have the perfect course for every learner," he said.
“It’s really important that we adapt our courses to meet the career needs of our students. Whether you have a string of top GCSE grades or a more modest selection of grades we can help you move on to the next step.”
One student who has succeeded in the industry is Corin Robinson (pictured), who has secured a job at Walt Disney World in Florida.
The 21-year-old will jet out to the United States this summer to take up her role as the world-leading theme park after a successful interview.
Corin, of Barrow, who studied travel and tourism, media and English Language at Barrow Sixth Form College, will join the ‘cast’ of Disney as she works front of house in one of the themed eateries.
Her job is part of an academic exchange programme as she studies for a BA Hons in Marketing at Sheffield Hallam University.
She said: “During my A-Level in Travel and Tourism we had the chance to go to Disneyland Paris and to meet the people in charge of marketing the theme park and I thought ‘I can actually work here’. My tutor, Esme, was really encouraging and supportive.”
“When I got back I researched it and applied for my uni course with the goal of working for Disney in mind.”
During her 12 months there, she will complete three eight-week courses with Central Michigan University and is looking forward to her leisure time exploring the theme parks as well as learning the ropes of customer service.
“It is all about creating magical moments for the guests and interacting with customers and there is no better place to learn. I am looking forward to living in a Disney bubble for a year – I will be smiling all the time.”
There is strong competition for roles at Disney, which former Furness Academy student Corin secured through a company called Yummy Jobs. When she returns she will complete the final year of degree and she hopes her experience at Disney will help her to secure a full-time role with the company.
Subscribe to our newsletter: get a glimpse of what it's really like to live and work in Cumbria.