She has since graduated with a BA(Hons) Festival and Event Management degree and in January 2023 next year, she will embark on the next stage of her education and professional development journey, on a MSc degree in International Event Management at Ulster University.
Caitlin told the students that she had opted to do a vocational course instead of A levels as she had struggled with the pressure of exams at school.
“I could have stayed on at school to do A levels, but felt I needed a break from the stress of exams. With the Level 3 Extended Diploma, the emphasis is on coursework and independent learning. It is a good preparation for university and also a great option for anyone interested in travel and tourism as it gives an overview of the different careers in the sector.”
She encouraged them to make the most of any the opportunities they get to investigate the industry through work placements and coursework.
“The Level 3 course is a great foundation as you get to explore the different areas of the industry to help you decide what you want to focus on.”
Caitlin said her time at university was challenging because of the restrictions imposed by Covid.
“It was certainly a strange time to be studying event management as so many events were cancelled but I still managed to get valuable experience working at different events and a variety of projects, including as Assistant Event Manager at Southampton Mela festival; working in production at Liam Gallagher's comeback at Knebworth in May 2022; and most recently developing an events calendar for Revolucion de Cuba bar and restaurant in Belfast.
Caitlin was awarded a prestigious JP McManus Scholarship and received £5,500 a year towards her university fees and other expenses for the duration of her undergraduate programme.
She admitted that the scholarship was a ‘real lifesaver’:
“It helped ease any financial worries and meant I was able to focus on doing well at university.”
Tourism and Sport lecturer Richard Hasson, who co-ordinates the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Travel and Tourism said he was delighted to welcome Caitlin back to the College:
“Caitlin was an exemplary student who achieved the Level 3 Diploma with triple Distinction*. She is a wonderful ambassador for the College and gave an inspirational talk to the students. I hope her success story will help them realise what they can achieve with hard work and determination.”