On Tuesday the ITT Future You Roadshow finally made its way to UCB. There has been an exciting build up over the last few months with lots of flyers around the campus, a huge buzz about it on social media, and of course our lecturers making sure we had all registered. Like a lot of students I was really hyped up for the day, especially having had a taster of what to expect from being at the World Travel Market back in November. The roadshow certainly didn’t disappoint!
WHAT IS ITT FUTURE YOU?
Future You is an annual event organised by the Institute of Travel & Tourism (prestigious membership body for individuals, educators and students in the travel and tourism industry). The conference is one of the highlights of the World Travel Market (WTM), where hundreds of students have been attending since 2009 – making it the largest attended event of the whole week at WTM! Due to its incredible success, ITT decided to take the event on a road trip. For UCB to have been one of the universities hosting the event this year has just been incredible. Whats even more amazing is UCB is one of the ITT’s Centres of Excellences! How awesome are we?!
WHAT HAPPENED ON THE DAY?
As well as being in attendance at the conference I was also working as a student ambassador, so you might have seen me around in my fluorescent yellow hoodie (and eyeing up the macaroons). Arriving at uni I could feel the excitement in the air, similar to what I felt at WTM, but even more special because this event was taking place at our uni. It was a real honour for me to be introduced to the lovely industry professionals once they had arrived.
By 10.30am our biggest lecture hall was completely full! We had 185 students in attendance, and 7 industry professionals to give presentations. Each speaker gave us all an insight into their lives, how they started in the industry leading up to where they are now. Every one of them was wonderful, they are funny and professional and just really lovely people! We were thoroughly entertained from Birmingham City Football Club and inspired by Emma (Business Development Manager at Attraction World), Claire (ITT Director Board and Education Chair), Georgie (UCB alumni and now manager at the new Park Regis), Joe (Institute of Directors), Robin (Dorchester Hotel) and Kimberley (InterVenue).
In the entrance of McIntyre House we also had an employment exhibition organised by hired@UCB. This provided students with even more of an opportunity to meet employers from industry. Some of the companies included Ackers Trust, Hogarths, Virgin Trains and Holidaysplease – where postgraduate tourism student Heather works!
After a spot of lunch it was time to kick off the speed networking sessions. If you’re not sure about what speed networking is like, I’d describe it kind of like speed dating but without the chat up lines (just to clarify I’ve never done that before just saw it off movies). With speed networking you’re more likely to swap email addresses and LinkedIn details than digits… Having an abundance of interesting people around and wanting to make the most of the day, I made a few notes of some of the things I picked up on to reiterate back to you!
I remember from being at WTM the one word everyone used… network, network, network. Claire and most of our speakers highlighted the importance of networking for students, pointing out how it can bring opportunities. Events such as ITT Future You, WTM, and the employer recruitment days put together by hired@UCB all, provide students with a great chance to meet lots of people from the travel and tourism industry. This is why it’s extremely important to start attending these kind of events now rather than later! Set yourself up with a LinkedIn profile, search around for the latest travel trade shows, and get yourself over to hired@UCB. You never know who you will meet or where it might take you!
Holidays and travel experiences are something that we take for granted now that technology, faster transport and cheaper destinations have enabled us to become globetrotters. However, there are people in the world who have no idea what a holiday is. Some have never even seen a beach or the ocean before, let alone have been on a plane. The amazing people at the Family Holiday Association charity help to bring valuable breaks to families who have never had the chance of a holiday before. I’m going to be writing a blog solely focused on the FHA soon because I really think what they do is so inspiring. A lot of us go away for short breaks and think nothing of it. For the families who the FHA help, it’s everything. There is so much I want to write about regarding this so I’ll be bringing you a post soon.
FAILURE IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD
This is an extra point but it’s something I’ve learned a lot about myself lately, but thought about more after the presentations. I’ve met failure so many times it’s like we’re old buddies. But haven’t we all? It can feel like the world has literally ended if certain aspects in your life (such as studies, work, relationships etc) do not seem to be going well. Being a student and still young, its easy to take a hit on yourself and have a ‘giving up’ kind of attitude. In my experience the most important thing is to just take everything as a learning experience. Failures often bring out the best in you, it contributes to who you are now and shapes the person you will be tomorrow. If you get rejected or fail something, so what? Dust yourself off, push past the struggle of giving up and have a positive can-do attitude. Say ‘yeah I failed at this thing, but I’ve learnt from it and now I’m even more determined to achieve’. The future you will thank you for it!
BE YOURSELF AND TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY YOU CAN
It was a happy moment to have seen everyone in attendance making the most out of the event. Everyone I spoke to – students & industry professionals – all told me how much they had loved the event. It was a privilege to have met lots of wonderful people and help out as an ambassador. The events students and lecturers who helped work on the conference did such a fabulous job! I’m one proud girl to have had the ITT be at my university and I know from talking to my friends that they all feel the same way. The whole day was incredible, I hope we get to host it next year!