TravelWeekly.co.uk 
Picture: Image Bank

Finding the right staff for your business is a constant
bugbear in the travel industry. Whinges from potential new recruits
and employers alike usually boil down to the same thing –
lack of experience.

While school-leavers and students claim years of studying are
worthless without hands-on experience when applying for a job,
company bosses similarly moan interviewees have never worked in the
industry and constantly favour anyone who has dipped their toe in
the trade.

One obvious way to solve the dilemma is to give potential staff a
chance to work in the industry while studying. It may also attract
recruits who have not previously considered working in
travel.

Club 18-30 has taken this route with a student placement scheme,
recruiting three out of seven undergraduates on placements since
1998. All placements are responsible for helping to recruit the
next student.

Parent company UP Trips managing director Andy Tidy said employing
students ensures its youth brand keeps in touch with the needs of
its core market as well as helping improve the pool of potential
new recruits. “We are all getting older and it’s good
to get views from students. You have to be careful not to tailor
the business around your own needs which may be different to the
customer’s,” he said.

Travel Weekly spoke to two Club 18-30 staff who are former student
placements and the company’s current student recruit.

Case study one:
Simon Short took a one-year placement in 1999-2000 in his third
year of a four-year degree in leisure marketing at Bournemouth
University.

Five years on Simon, now 27, is the company’s new media
controller after being recruited in 2001 to work on new media
projects.

“Benefits of the work placement were numerous,” he
said. “I got to experience every aspect of the business which
was beneficial for me. I also went back into the final year of my
course with more discipline and hit the ground
running.”

Simon kept in touch with the company during his final year and just
before his exams heard there was a job vacancy. “They put me
through the same interview process as everyone else and I
wasn’t convinced I’d got it. Just doing the placement
doesn’t mean you’ll get the job,” he added.

Case study two:
Nicky Moody is Club 18-30’s marketing controller. The
26-year-old was on a work placement with the company in 2000-01
during a tourism studies degree at Bournemouth University and
worked mainly in brochure production. Taking the leap from studying
and part-time holiday work was a shock to the system but gave her
experience she could never have gained in the classroom.

“It was a complete switch from studying. I’d had jobs
before but not 9am to 5pm and it was a complete contrast to what I
was used to. But it was easy to settle in, partly because of the
team I was working with, and the fact I was interested in
marketing. Your opinions are also valued and you have input into
the company. “

Nicky went for an interview as she finished her degree and was up
against other external and internal candidates for a job as
marketing executive. She is convinced her placement helped her get
the job. “They had invested a year of time in me and
obviously I knew the business quite well by then.”

She landed the job in 2002 and has recently been promoted to her
current role.

Case study three:
Thea Howden is in her third year of a degree in retail and business
management at Oxford Brookes University.

The 22-year-old said part of the reason for joining Club 18-30 was
based on the fact she recognised the brand.

“I was not specifically targeting travel, I just wanted to
work for a business that would give me different jobs to do,”
she said.

Thea started working for Club 18-30 last July, and had to relocate
to Brighton for the placement. The first eight weeks were hard.
“It was constant learning before you could start honing your
skills. But I’ve learnt to be organised and work to
deadlines.”

Thea has spent much of her time working in the finance, product and
commercial division. “The best thing is just being part of a
company. It makes you feel valued.”

Thea still doesn’t know what career she will take but is
already a fan of the industry. “It’s fast
moving,” she said.

________________

To comment on this story, click here