By anyone’s standards, the past twelve months have been hectic for the 21 year old Ballymoney student. As well as juggling coursework with her Students’ Union commitments, she got engaged and plans are well underway for the wedding in September 2019.
Kate admits that while it was challenging to fit everything in, her College experience, both as a student and working as an advocate for other students, has been invaluable and will really help with her future career.
“The Level 3 Diploma in Travel and Tourism is the equivalent of three A Levels but the emphasis is on coursework rather than exams which suited me much better. We did a lot of practical projects and assessments were based on realistic but fun travel, tourism and aviation scenarios which really helps prepare us for working in the industry.”
Kate continues: “Although I love to talk, I would never have dreamt of speaking in front of a group of people before I got involved in the Students’ Union but as president, I had to attend a lot of meetings and speak at different events. I even proposed motions which were subsequently passed at the annual NUS NI conference so I feel a lot more confident in my own ability.”
Having thoroughly enjoyed her time at Northern Regional College, Kate says she would encourage other young people to make sure they consider all their available options before making important decisions about where and what to study.
“There is a lot of support available to help make the best choice but you should make sure to talk to the right people and have all the available information before making such an important decision. Hopefully you’ll be able to study a subject that you’re really interested in and will enjoy learning about.”
The former Ballymoney High School pupil admits that because she didn’t know all the options available to her when she left school after GCSEs, she took the scenic route to completing her Travel and Tourism course.
“Travel and Tourism wasn’t my first or even second choice of course because I didn’t realise it was available. When I left school, I started off doing Child Care at Northern Regional College but didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t realise I was dyslexic and because I struggled to do the coursework, I dropped out towards the end of first year.”
Kate then went on to complete Level 2 and Level 3 Diplomas in Hairdressing before deciding that she wasn’t cut out for the hair industry.
It was only then that she found out about the Travel and Tourism course at the College’s Coleraine campus.
“The course really appealed to me so it was a case of third time lucky. My dyslexia was picked up by the tutors at the start of the course and I was able to get help from the Education Support Officer which was a great help.”
Kate has since returned to Ballymoney High School to speak to pupils and her former teachers about the Travel and Tourism course and the career opportunities it can open up.
Kate says that for her the most enjoyable aspects of the course were the practical role plays and learning about different cultures from around the world.
“I love meeting people so I’m really looking forward to being able to put what I’ve learnt into practice dealing with customers in my new job and helping them explore different holiday destinations and opportunities for travel.”
The BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Travel and Tourism is an ideal stepping stone to a career in the tourism sector. It is highly regarded by employers so it can lead directly to employment or alternatively it can be a progression route to study for a degree or a Level 5 BTEC Higher National Diploma in Travel and Tourism Management, Tourism and Hospitality, Event Management or other related areas.”
Former students who successfully completed Level 3 Travel and Tourism Level at Northern Regional College are now employed in a diverse range of careers including: Tour and Travel Operations; Travel Agents; Airline and Airport Operations; Hotel Management; Conference and Event Management; Customer Services; Holiday Representatives; Adventure Tourism; Visitor Attractions; Public Sector Tourism; Heritage; Entertainment and Leisure; and Transport.