October 2021

Student lands job offer as University teams up with Attraction World for new internship scheme

By Darren Campbell

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A new internship scheme has given hospitality and tourism students at University College Birmingham the chance to gain invaluable industry experience – with one even being offered a job.

This summer saw four students on the University's tourism, aviation and hospitality courses become the first to take part in the new student internship scheme with Attraction World.

The scheme has been developed jointly between the Birmingham-based firm and the University, in collaboration with the Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) Future You initiative.

Offering work across a range of sectors, the scheme was designed to help students develop a variety of soft skills, from communication and personal effectiveness to presentation, problem solving and influencing.

"Gaining this work experience will give students a competitive advantage over their peers – that's where an internship can make all the difference"

Olly Nicholls Attraction World Chief Executive

Among those completing the three-month internship was International Hospitality Management MSc student Tia Ghai – and she has since been offered a role within Attraction World's product team.

"To be given a job offer on the back of this, which I could never have imagined, is really special," said Tia. "I'm so glad I don't have to say goodbye to such a wonderful team!"

Tia explained she was keen to take the internship in order to gain more hands-on experience in the travel industry.

"With hospitality and travel being intrinsically linked, I felt the flexibility of the scheme around me and my studies meant I could really commit myself to this more than alternative schemes," she said.

"I think being part of a small team really allowed me to get a hands-on experience within the business and get involved as much as possible.

"The team were super friendly and welcoming and made me feel at ease. Seeing their enthusiasm for the restructuring of the business and courage for the reopening of the travel industry made me feel even more enthusiastic and excited for the future.

"They really made me feel part of the team and got me involved with various projects and events. Olly (the CEO) also made a real personal effort with each of us which made me feel really special.

"I'm really grateful to University College Birmingham, Kathryn Hayat and everyone at Attraction World for their support throughout and for giving me this opportunity."

Our 2021 interns at Attraction World

Olly Nicholls, chief executive at Attraction World, said: "As a Birmingham-based business, we have been proud to partner with University College Birmingham this summer.

"I believe that investing in grass roots growth is important at any organisation, and with on-the-job experience now becoming a crucial factor for employers, I believe that gaining this work experience will give students a competitive advantage over their peers. That's where an internship can make all the difference."

Kathryn Hayat, senior lecturer within University College Birmingham's Department of Hospitality and Tourism, said: "We were very excited to promote the student internship programme with Attraction World this summer.

"We know how important it is for students to gain industry experience as they enter the graduate jobs market. By working with the tourism, hospitality and aviation industries, we develop opportunities such as this and embed industry exposure in our teaching.

"Over the last year, we have worked closely with Attraction World with several students performing market research for the company, and with academic staff delivering a bespoke continuing professional development (CPD) package for furloughed staff."

Attraction World's Vanessa Matthews spoke to students at last week's Inspire Conference

Inspire Conference

The partnership with Attraction World has reaped other benefits too, with students receiving expert insight from the company at a University College Birmingham event last week.

Held at the University’s McIntyre House campus as part of Induction Week, the Inspire Conference saw aviation, tourism, hospitality and events students hear from a range of industry guest speakers.

Among them was Vanessa Matthews, head of operations at Attraction World, who discussed her career in the travel and tourism industry as well as the internship scheme with the University.

Also in attendance were Martin Clarke, tourism senior marketing manager at West Midlands Growth Company, as well as Kathryn Montgomery, third party lounge manager at British Airways.

Tourism, aviation, hospitality and events students attended the conference at McIntyre House

Senior lecturer Richard Behan said: "The Inspire Conference was a great success. It represented an excellent opportunity for students to network with industry figures and hear first-hand what it takes to be successful in the tourism, aviation and hospitality industries.

"It was great to hear from West Midlands Growth Company about the upcoming Commonwealth Games, how British Airways are rebounding from the shock of the pandemic and the success of the student internship scheme at Attraction World.

"We really appreciate them taking the time and effort to engage with our students."

University College Birmingham provides specialist vocational training for a wide range of careers within the fields of tourism, aviation and hospitality, with extensive work placement and enrichment opportunities available thanks to outstanding links with industry partners.

Discover our full range of courses within our Department of Hospitality and Tourism.

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