Student inspired at Annual Conference

Hugh Baird College student, Sean Kelly, was one of only five student volunteers selected to work at this year’s Association of Colleges (AoC) Annual Conference and the experience has inspired him to consider a career in the event industry.

The three day conference took place at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham and Sean, who is studying on the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Travel and Tourism, joined the team of workers helping behind the scenes. As well as learning the crucial health and safety and organisational processes behind the large scale event, Sean was meeting and greeting delegates, helping with room set up and distributing event programmes.

In total, Sean took part in helping at 56 sessions throughout the three days and said afterwards:

“The event was brilliant, I feel privileged to have been chosen. I honestly think that I have learned so much from this experience. I would jump at the chance to work at it again. I am now seriously considering a career in the event industry and have changed my UCAS application accordingly”.

Providing feedback after the event, Agi Witaszczyk from AoC Create said:

“Sean is a fantastic student, with a great attitude. He’s very confident and keen to learn. I would not hesitate to recommend him for future work experience opportunities and employment in the future.”

In his free time at the event, Sean rounded off his AoC experience by winning a competition! Randstad Student Support, who work with colleges to drive innovation in how support is delivered to students with a learning difficulty or disability, also sponsor one of the world’s leading Formula 1 teams, Williams Martini Racing. They were testing the delegates driving skills on a Formula 1 simulator and Sean managed to record the best lap time, winning the prize of a t-shirt as worn by the Formula 1 team. He also made a good impression on Randstad’s team in the process and their Further Education Manager, Jonathan Ratcliffe said:

“We are pleased Sean won the competition. He came across so well to all of my colleagues on the stand, including my Operations Director. We even tried to tempt him with another go on the simulator, as we really wanted to see him go faster, but he politely declined as he had other conference duties to attend to.”

Having put forward several of her students for the opportunity to work at the AoC conference, Programme Leader for Travel and Tourism at Hugh Baird College, Francesca McArdle, said:

“The AoC Conference offered Sean a perfect opportunity to put what he’s learning on his course into practice. Working at the event gave him the chance to use his customer service skills, but also to get a real insight into the types of career he can aim for. He made the most of the experience and has come back with a new outlook on what he wants to do. We’re proud of the positive feedback he had. He was a great ambassador for both the AoC and Hugh Baird College.”

If you are interested in a career in Event Management, Travel and Tourism or Hospitality, why not visit the course pages on our website to find out how we could help kick start your career.

Submissions for 2016 work opportunities at the AoC Annual Conference will open in early May.

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