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Travel & Tourism for SGS Learners
Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

South Gloucestershire & Stroud College's (SGS) main objective for this mobility is to offer experiential learning opportunities to young people who are studying and would like to pursue a career within the vocational area of travel & tourism. We will target young learners (18 - 19 yrs old) who are currently studying for their Level 3 NVQ in travel & tourism at SGS. We hope to increase their employability and job readiness and broaden their perspective of the labour market in order to best prepare them for sustainable employment in the sector. We plan to recruit 32 participants who will be recruited over a 24 month period. Participants will travel in groups of 16 to undertake a 6 week placement in a range of relevant host companies based in and around Seville in Spain. The UK is 'one of the most important travel markets in the world and it is critical to the lifeblood of international travel and tourism' (Tourism Intelligence International). Increasing customer expectations are driving the need for improved customer service skills and a capable, confident and experienced workforce must be developed to respond to this demand. The learners will work in tourist businesses undertaking activities which will correspond to the mandatory units of their NVQ, so that they can continue to gain course credits whilst on placement.Participants will be based in a tourist businesses, in a range of customer facing roles. They will be involved in activities such as working on reception, arranging excursions and marketing tourist activities in established businesses including a tour company, 5* hotel and a museum. Through structured overseas work placements in a range of established tourist businesses, participants will gain a vital insight into international work in the sector. They will have the opportunity to develop their practical skills, increase their vocational knowledge and acquire industry specific competencies. They will be supported to develop soft skills, such as communication, team work, cultural awareness and customer service ethic. In addition to their professional and personal development, the project will offer language training to increase participants' competency in Spanish. We will work with host organisations to identify suitable Learning Outcomes that are realistic and attainable for the participants and relevant to both the host partner and the NVQ that participants are studying. We plan to target participants who have not previously had opportunities to work or study abroad. We have identified host partners in a range of tourist organisations in Seville who have extensive experience of providing internship opportunities. Through a systematic partnership development process we will work collaboratively to ensure that the placement provides a structured and supportive setting, and that we able to confidently offer the mobility opportunity to those who are less self assured and lacking experience of overseas travel. This is a unique opportunity for these individuals to gain a broader perspective of work in the sector and a strengthened sense of international identity and an understanding of their position in the EU labour market. We hope that this will ultimately raise the aspirations and ambitions of our the participants, equipping them with a keen understanding of the realities of work in the sector and the confidence and competence to pursue employment opportunities in the sector in the future. We feel that 6 weeks is a realistic and attainable duration of placement for the group. It is sufficient time for the participants to adjust to work and life in a foreign country, meaningfully gain from the experience and achieve a set of individual learning objectives in a structured and supportive environment. It also fits in to the existing timeframes of their NVQ. We will ensure that the placement is framed by a supportive pre, during and post placement structure, with group training and individual support offered in order to fully prepare participants for the placement, and to offer them a full debrief and careers guidance on how to maximise their learning on their return. We hope that the mobility will lead to improved motivation and workplace readiness for participants. In the long term, we expect this to translate into enhanced employability and increased employment amongst the young people involved. At an organisational level, we hope the mobility will raise our profile as a centre of excellence, and an institution that invests in its learners by offering an enhanced, internationally focussed NVQ course.The mobility will enable SGS and the hosting organisations to increase their experience and competency of partnership working at a European level. It gives them to opportunity to consolidate principles and processes of partnership working and put them in a stronger position to grow their transnational engagement and networks in the future.

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