In the second of our National Apprenticeship Week blogs, we focus on Hays Travel staff members who started out as apprentices and worked their way up. As one of the UK’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers, we’re experts at training apprentices and offering them wonderful career progression. Last year, our in-house training department received a glowing OFSTED report, as well as scooping the Large Employer of the Year award at the North East Training Awards. The deadline for applications for this year’s programme is 15th March 2013, so there’s still time to apply. Wondering where a Hays Travel apprenticeship could take you? We asked these three employees, who’ve all come a very long way since they started as apprentices…
The Independence Group Support Manager
Name: Emma Drury
What is your job title? Independence Group Support Manager
Tell us a bit about what your job entails… I look after the Independence Group (IG) support team based at head office in Sunderland. The Hays Travel Independence Group is a consortium that gives independent travel agencies Hays Travel’s support, backing and systems. Day-to-day, I offer advice to our IG members, working to resolve any queries they might have. I help new members to set up, making sure they’re ready to trade, as well as issuing and monitoring IG member contracts and managing insurance applications. A really important part of my job is making sure that the regulatory bodies such as ABTA and CAA are kept up to date with any amendments or new members. I also organise our conferences, both in the UK and overseas.
When did you join Hays Travel as an apprentice? July 2003.
What department did you work in when you were an apprentice? I started out in retail, at the Hays Travel Chester-le-street branch.
What qualifications did you work towards? NVQ Travel services.
How did you work your way up from being an apprentice to where you are today? I moved around departments to gain as much experience as I possibly could. I also covered for two managers while they were on maternity leave, giving me experience of different areas of the business. Whilst I was covering for maternity leave as a Retail Support Manager, I was able to complete my NVQ in Management.
What made you decide to apply for a travel apprenticeship with Hays? I had previously completed my school work experience at a Thomas Cook travel agency and loved it. The following year, when I was leaving school, Hays offered the apprenticeship programme. I liked the sound of it, so applied direct to my nearest branch.
What is your favourite memory about the apprenticeship? I loved being able to go to work and study at the same time – and make money! Plus there was a conference in Blackpool for all apprentices to attend, which was fab!
What do you love most about the job you have today? Managing my happy, bubbly team and working with the IG members on a day-to-day basis; no two days are the same.
What advice would you offer to anyone considering a career in travel? Go for the Hays Travel apprenticeship – you’re encouraged to move around different areas of the travel business, which will enable you to gain the skills you need to progress in your career.
What would be your ultimate job in travel? I’m not too sure at the moment – business changes so quickly!
Where’s your favourite holiday destination? Cyprus.
What three items can you never leave at home when you’re going on your holidays? My phone, make-up and bikini.
The Assistant Branch Manager
Name: Harriet Grainger
What is your job title? I’m the Assistant Branch Manager of Hays Travel’s Houghton shop.
Tell us a bit about what your job entails… Booking people’s dream holidays whilst delivering exceptional customer service., assisting with the management and running of the branch, finding new ways to maximise sales and completing admin and branch duties on a day-to-day basis.
When did you join Hays Travel as an apprentice? August 2006.
What department did you work in when you were an apprentice? I started off in retail, in our Sunderland branch.
What qualifications did you work towards? NVQ in Travel and Tourism, Level 2 and 3.
How did you work your way up from being an apprentice to where you are today? Hard work and determination!
What made you decide to apply for a travel apprenticeship with Hays? Job security at the end of the apprenticeship, along with the excellent reputation Hays Travel has.
What is your favourite memory about the apprenticeship? Training days, as I got to meet the other apprentices from different branches.
What do you love most about the job you have today? The fantastic team I work with in my current branch and the dynamics of travel; it has changed so much during the seven years I’ve been in the industry.
What advice would you offer to anyone considering a career in travel? Go for it, it is an enjoyable industry that is constantly changing.
What would be your ultimate job in travel? Regional Sales Manager.
Where’s your favourite holiday destination? Mexico, which is why I am going this year for the fourth time!
What three items can you never leave at home when you’re going on your holidays? iPod, Pringles, bikini.
The Head of Operations
Name: John Milburn
What is your job title? Head of Operations
Tell us a bit about what your job entails…I oversee a number of support and service teams within the company. The biggest part of my job is looking after the day to day support and operations of our Independence Group Members. No two days are the same; it can vary from setting up a new tour operation to designing documentation!
When did you join Hays Travel as an apprentice? 7th July 2003
What department did you work in when you were an apprentice? Tour Operator Payments
What qualification did you work towards? Business Administration NVQ Level 2
How did you work your way up from being an apprentice to where you are today? I completed my NVQ and decided to move around the business. First, I moved to Customer Services and after six months, I decided I wanted to pursue my career back in Tour Operator Payments. After a further six months, I was completing my Team Leader NVQ and at the age of 18, I was given my first Team Leader role. From then on, I built on my knowledge and progressed into other areas of the business. Over the next five years, I covered many roles including: Customer Services Supervisor, Acting Customer Services Manager, Acting Administration Manager, Hays Beds Customer Services, Agent Support Manager and Isell Systems Support Manager. Over the last four years, I have been heavily involved in the development of Isell (our in house selling system). As this covers almost all of the business, it has given me the opportunity to build on my knowledge further and get me where I am today!
What made you decide to apply for a Travel Apprenticeship with Hays? I liked the idea of working whilst gaining a qualification and had been recommended to Hays Travel via a friend.
What’s your favourite memory about your apprenticeship? I really enjoyed coming to work and learning something new each day; a lot of the time you can use your work to help you in your NVQ.
What do you love most about the job you have today? I love the people I work with and the fact that after almost ten years, I still learn something new nearly every day!
What advice would you offer to anyone considering a career in travel? Do it! It’s really diverse and gives you so much opportunity to learn and progress.
What would be your ultimate job in travel? Operations Director (some day!)
Where’s your favourite holiday destination? Ayia Napa
What three items can you never leave at home when you’re going on your holidays? Bottle opener, paracetamol and Hawaiian shorts.
Thinking of applying for our apprenticeship yourself? The deadline is next Friday, 15th March 2013. You can find out more or apply online here. Or why not pop into one of National Apprenticeship Week open days? The dates are below and you can locate the Hays Travel shops where they’re happening here.
Monday 11th March: Newcastle (10:00am – 4:30pm)
Tuesday 12th March: Stockton (10:00am – 4:30pm)
Wednesday 13th March: Durham (10:00am – 4:30pm), Malton, North Yorkshire (10:00am – 12:30pm), Pocklington, North Yorkshire (2:00pm – 5:00pm)
Thursday 14th March: Ripon, North Yorkshire (10:00am –12:30pm), Northallerton, North Yorkshire (1:30pm – 4:30pm)
Friday 15th March: Sunderland, (10:00am – 4:30pm)