Studied: Level 3 Travel & Tourism, Level 3 Extended Diploma, HNC & HND Hospitality Management
Progression: Hospitality and Tourism Management TOP-UP degree at University College Birmingham
Zara’s interest in the business side of travel was sparked by her studying the subject at GCSE. Travelling around the UK and to parts of the Middle East has also bought the subject to life.
Her further studies are enabling her to become even more aware of the importance of giving and receiving good customer service. And she has a better understanding of how essential it is to create positive memories for tourists and guests.
“It’s about making people feel valued,” said Zara. “If people are made welcome in a venue or location, they will remember it for the right reasons.
“But if there is poor service then the whole atmosphere is affected.”
Studying hospitality management towards degree level is providing Zara with more confidence to pursue a front of house career.
Eventually she would like to own her own travel agency. She also has an interest in travel writing.
“I’m keen to be involved in tour operations,” said Zara. “Possibly trying out a few different roles or working in different places, so I can find my niche.”
“Self-belief used to be an issue for me,” she continued. “I was happy to stay in the background when I was involved in group activities in class. This changed when I became involved in events at college.”
Zara has been able to develop her professional skills during a placement at the college’s restaurant, The Littleton.
“I spent time as bar staff,” said Zara. “It helped me get used to talking to customers.
“I also worked at events hosted at the college’s venue, The Hub and during Open Days. Serving refreshments and seeing how things were set up and shut down really opened my eyes up to what makes these events run smoothly.”
As a higher education student, Zara came even further out of her shell. A course module on organisation management was key to this.
“It’s a module where you can’t escape from being in a leadership position,” explained Zara. “I wasn’t too sure about this. Then my tutors encouraged me to come out of my comfort zone.
“They told me to believe in myself. And I did.”
Zara continues to be in no doubt of where her dream career lies.
“Hospitality and tourism management is definitely the area for me,” said Zara. “It’s about me being able to enjoy what I do and also knowing what kind of professional and personal lifestyle I want to lead.
“Supporting my main job with travel writing is just one of the ways I’d like to benefit from the variety and seasonal nature of this industry.”
Zara is happy to share her optimism about the hospitality industry bouncing back after the pandemic. She has already seen vacancies on sites such as caterer.com
And she encourages school leavers hoping for a career in hospitality and events not to give up on their dreams.
“Have faith in doing what your heart desires,” she said. “You’ll be opening up a world of new skills and the chance to mix with a range of people from all walks of life. Every day is a new challenge, an exciting one at that!”