Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) Future You ‘On the Road’ at Buxton: An ambassador’s role.

Emily B

ITT Future You conference

The Institute of Travel and Tourism (ITT) Future You conference came to Buxton campus on March 10th 2015. It is a travelling conference that the industries top employers attend and they give lectures on the latest trends within the travel industry and about future jobs. It is essential to attend if you are part of a tourism related degree or are looking to go onto such a degree.  It was mine and another student ambassador’s role to ensure the event ran smoothly.  Supported by industry experts, it was a day packed full of talks, speed workshops and networking.  With over 170 students attending from Derby University as well as prospective students from surrounding colleges including Burton and South Derbyshire College, Derby College and Buxton and Leek College, the event was a hub of information and networking.

Student Ambassador Role

As a student ambassador, one of my roles is to make sure that any events or conferences held by the tourism or events department are well supported and a success. It involves setting up the rooms ready for the events, ensuring the speakers are well looked after and making sure the attendees are directed on where to go and what to do. It is a busy time and a long day but the chance to network with the speakers and be involved is well worth it!

The Day

It was an early start because I needed to be up at Buxton for 8am to start preparing for the conference. We arrived at Buxton and were greeted by the College Marketing Manager for Business, Jenny and the Senior Marketing Assistant in Education Liaison, Sarah. Myself and my friend Lydia were assigned tasks for the day by the Event organiser for ITT, Kelly. The first role was to organise the tables for the day and set up the goody bags that each student and lecturer were going to receive upon arrival. There were 170 in total and so this was no quick task! Upon completion, we were informed of the itinerary for the day:

10:30am- Conference- Leading industry experts Guest Speakers educational conference

13:00- Lunch Break

14:00- Speed Group Networking

15:00- Coffee Break

15:15- Speed Group Networking Continued

16:30- Event Ends

At around 10am colleges and speakers began to arrive and it was my duty to check in each visitor and speaker and assign them a group number for the speed dating session. Here, they were also handed a goody bag and informed of where to go. Around 170 students from various local colleges came to the event which including New College Nottingham and Burton College as well as students involved in tourism courses at Derby University. Once everyone had arrived and been allocated their group numbers the conference could begin.

The Conference

The conference in the morning began at 10:30am and consisted of seven speakers. These were:

– ITT ‘Future You’      – Perfect Weddings Abroad           -STA Travel

– BH Mallorca            – Stella Travel Services                 – Derby University

– Chatsworth

Each speaker gave a presentation of their personal background in the tourism industry and how they got to the position they were in. They then spoke about the jobs they were currently in and the potential jobs available within these organisations currently. Some included graduate programmes, internships, summer jobs and straight from college/ university work. They gave a real, honest insight into the jobs and how it is best to apply for these jobs, including some hints and tips. It was great to see how people can progress in their jobs, with some even starting their own business.

There was plenty to take in and the size of the companies and job roles varied from each organisation so there was a wide range of information, which was great. Now it was time for a well-earned lunch break- which was free because we had worked the event- bonus!

The Speed Group Networking

Once lunch was over, the students got into their assigned groups and the speed networking workshops began. The companies that took part in the networking were:

-ITT                    – Perfect Weddings Abroad             -STA Travel

– BH Mallorca      – Stella Travel Services                   – Derby University

– Shottle Hall        – The Co-operative Travel Management

Each session lasted for 10 minutes and allowed students to ask the companies any questions they may have specifically for the company or of the industry in general. It was great to be able to chat to the people that new all about the tourism industry on such an informal level. They gave really useful hints and tips on improving your CV, interview techniques and how to approach applications.

Why the day was such a success

The conference was great as I further developed my skills in hosting and preparing for events but also I got the opportunity to liaise with the speakers themselves on a more personal level and gain a fantastic insight into their industry. It is with events such as these you get to get a real taste for the area of work you would like to be in and also really flaunt your skills to prospective employers.

If you get the chance to become a student ambassador- go for it! Not only do you get paid for your help but the experiences and people that you meet could help further your career in the industry.

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Places around Buxton

Emily B, HRSM

Bakewell

Bakewell is about 20 minutes away from Buxton and is easily accessible by bus or car. It is a beautiful historic town which is the home of the famous Bakewell Tart, which of course is widely available to purchase there! There are lots of shops, restaurants, cafes and things to do and see. It is home to a huge agricultural show which is the largest of its kind in the UK. It has a fair, a food hall and hundreds of competing animals. The town is well worth a visit!

Ashbourne

Ashbourne is a quaint town about 30 minutes from Buxton, it is on the Transpeak bus route and easily accessible by car. It has some lovely little shops, cafes, restaurants, walks and is home to the ‘Shrovetide’ football game which sees spectators play football in the streets over an 8 hour period, with the goals 3 miles apart! A very interesting watch!

Carsington Water is a reservoir just outside of Ashbourne which is home to water sports such as kayaking, wind surfing, canoeing and sailing. There is also a great cycle route around the reservoir, for the keen cyclist and the not so keen! It is a great place to get some fresh air, with cycle hire facilities or water sports hire facilities, it really has it all! There is a café, some shops and a visitor centre to explore too!

Matlock Bath

Matlock is a really fun place to visit and is best described as the seaside in land! Easily accessed by bus or car, it has fish and chip shops, amusement arcades, a mini aquarium, a mining museum and its own version of Blackpool’s illuminations that run for a couple of months in the year. It also has the ‘Heights of Abraham’, cable cars which take you up a cavern system, a fossil display and of course a lovely tea room! Matlock also offers some English heritage in the Form of Masson Mill. Richard Arkwright built it in 1783 and it is still a working textile museum today with shopping village and restaurant. Matlock is my favourite place in the Peak and I would recommend a visit!

Derby

Derby is the closest large City to Buxton and is home to an Intu Shopping Centre, with over 190 shops inside and outside, along with a food court, cinema and tons of restaurants to choose from. There is also a darker side to Derby as it is reported to be one of the most haunted cities in the country! Ghost Walks around the centre and the Derby Gaol are popular and an exciting experience. If ghosts and the paranormal aren’t your thing, The Assembly Rooms is host to plays, pantomimes, live acts and stand-up comedians regularly.

There is plenty to do for free in Derby too; there are lots of great outdoor spaces to explore such as Darley Park, Markeaton Park and Locko Park. Derby Museum is an interesting place to visit as it covers WW1, the Egyptians and Derby’s own heritage such as Joseph Wright.

The night life in Derby is a really good night out. There is somewhere for every type of music lover. From Mosh, for the indie, rock and drum and bass crowd to Walkabout which plays pop, current music and some classics and many more places to choose from. Both host student nights in the week and offer discount on the night out with drinks offers and reduced entry! There are loads of other great pubs and bars to choose from. There are independent places which brew their own beer or chains such as Revolution and Wetherspoon’s.

Alton Towers

The UK’s largest theme park is less than 25 miles away and can be reached in around 40 minutes by car. During fresher’s week, a trip to Alton Towers is arranged for free, transport included! If you have never visited before you are in for a treat as it is home to amazing roller-coasters, the log flume, a mini sea life centre, a 4D experience and live shows. A day out not to be missed!

Getting around Buxton

Emily B, HRSM

There is so much to explore in the Peak District it difficult to know where to start! Buxton is in the heart of the Peak and does have a reputation of being difficult to get to and from- but this is not at all true!

By Car

If you are bringing a car to University and staying in Buxton, you won’t need to use it that much as all the amenities you would need are in Buxton itself. If you want to explore the surrounding area however, it is easy to do so by car. Manchester is just over an hour away and so is Derby Centre; it really is a central location! There is plenty of parking on the streets around the University but there is no official parking for the Uni itself. I have never had an issue getting a space and the on-street parking is only a few minutes away from the campus so is no bother at all- and most importantly- it’s free!

By Bus

The buses are a really useful way to get around if you don’t have a car. They take an hour and a half to get to Derby Centre and an hour and fifteen minutes to get to Manchester. The bus route also stops at the smaller destinations such as Bakewell, Matlock and Stockport. They are about every hour and run till late.

By Train

There is also a train station right next to the Uni. In my year there are a few people who commute from Stockport and Manchester by train. From Manchester it takes around an hour and from Stockport it takes 45 minutes. There are several stops so you have plenty of choice as to where you get it from. The Derby route takes a little longer, around 2 hours and requires changes.

However you are travelling to Buxton, the views along the way are an absolute pleasure so enjoy 🙂

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ERASMUS- student exchange programme

Emily B

Derby Uni students are lucky enough to have the chance to take part in a student exchange programme called Erasmus. It allows students who are studying at the University of Derby the opportunity to study abroad in a choice of 33 countries! It is an ideal experience for a Tourism student as it will broaden your knowledge and gain some really great cultural experiences. Two girls from my course have just gone to Hungary for the semester to study for a couple of months and they love it! If I didn’t have prior commitments I would have loved to have jet off to study abroad!

Why take part in ERASMUS?

  • Money won’t hold you back! You receive an additional grant allowing you pay towards your accommodation abroad whilst still paying for your tuition fees in the UK. You don’t pay anything extra to the hosting university, it’s all covered. All you will need is the flights and some spending money whilst you are there to enjoy the country and go out with your new friends.
  • It is open to ALL students! You can take part in ERASMUS no matter what your degree or whether you are in your first or second year. You will take identical or similar modules to your course in the UK so there is no need to panic that you will be missing out or delaying your course, you will receive the same amount of credits!
  • All lectures are taught in English! You won’t have to brush up on your French or German, as the lectures that you attend will be in English, and all lecturers will assist you in English. Phew!
  • You have a choice of 33 countries to choose from in the EU! From Poland to Hungary, Cyprus to Italy, there is a broad range to choose from!
  • It looks fantastic on your CV! To boast that you have studied in a foreign country looks great to future employers as it shows a range of skills and experiences. It demonstrates that you are not afraid of a challenge or getting out of your comfort zone.
  • It is available for 12-24 weeks! Whether you want to try it out for a little while or a bit longer, the programme is flexible so you choose how long you want to study abroad.
  • There is always someone to talk to! You will have full support from the International Student Advisor up at Buxton and will have access to talk to your faculty coordinator whenever you like to answer any queries.

So if travel and new cultures are a passion of yours, why not give ERASMUS a thought and have a chat about it with someone when you arrive at Derby University!

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Tourism students trip to Malta

Emily B, HRSM

One of the great things that drew me to the tourism course at Derby was the inclusion of a residential trip to Malta in the 2nd year, which was all part of the course fees!

Specifically organised for Tourism Management students, this gave us an opportunity to jet off with two of our lecturers, Peter and Iride, for a 4-night stay in St Julians to really experience what we have been studying.

Time for a quick snap!

Time for a quick snap!

We stayed in a lovely hotel in the heart of the main shopping, restaurant and nightlife areas of the town, which was a perfect base for our stay. Here we had the use of a great swimming pool and even a Jacuzzi – this was a welcome sight for everyone! To help us explore, we were also given a free bus pass making getting around really easy. In the evenings we were given free time to go out, explore and really got to know everyone on our course.

But this wasn’t just a free holiday!

The university had plenty for us to do to ensure, at least from an academic perspective, that we were really making the most of the trip. This included things like local sight-seeing trips and a more in-depth venture into the capital, Valetta.

This beautiful and historic city impressed us all for a few reasons:

  1. It was a vibrant and buzzing place, with breathtaking buildings and some fantastic restaurant and shopping areas.
  2. The shopping experience was great, with plenty of souvenirs and more traditional local gift shops around Valetta.
  3. Last but by no means least, we got to see where some scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed! As a Game of Thrones fan, it was amazing to be able to see some of the sets form the series. There are a few places in Malta that were used in the series, including Mdina and Gozo, both of which we visited.

    On the boat trip

    On the boat trip

Next we visited Gozo, a little island just off the coast of Malta, only accessible by ferry. It had some beautiful beaches and buildings, it was a really picturesque place. We had our own personal tour guide for the day and were transported around by mini van, giving us a great insight into the area. From here we had took a boat trip to see some caves and a place where blue coral grew under water, which made the sea look a vibrant tropical colour. Of course we couldn’t miss the opportunity to stop at the beach for a dip and some time to relax and unwind.

Peter had organised for us to visit the University of Malta, to meet students studying the same course as us, which was a really interesting opportunity. The University was great and we were given an all access tour of the campus by the students there. Later on, we met them back near where we were staying for some drinks so we could ask them questions about Malta and studying there. We got some great inside info from this!

Having dinner with the gang

Having dinner with the gang

The last day saw us attending the Mediterranean Tourism Forum, a conference hosted by top industry experts and even was even attended by the President of Malta. The event gave us a real insight into the tourism industry in Malta and we got a preview of the latest technology making its way into the tourism sector in the future, we felt like VIP’s!

What was great about the Malta trip was that there was a perfect balance between visiting places, meeting people and getting some free time to explore and hang out with our friends. I would recommend the trip to anyone as you get to know your classmates and lecturers on a more personal level and ultimately have a great time in the sun!

What more could you want from your degree?!

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My 6 top tips for assignments

Emily B, HRSM

1.   Start early! I know it is tempting to leave it until 3am the night before it is due in, but you’ll be in a much better position starting your assignment as early as possible. This will give you time to come back to it later to improve it for a better result!

2.      Send a draft copy to your lecturer! I initially never sent my work for feedback because I was scared that I’d have done it wrong or gone in the wrong direction. I know it’s hard to let someone review your work but they are there to help after all. This feedback can be essential as it allows you to improve your work before you send it in officially. It improves your confidence getting some feedback, trust me.

3.      Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get the grade you wanted! You’re not going to get 95% on every assignment, sad but true. Uni is supposed to challenge you and build your character so sometimes getting a lower grade can spur you on for the next assignment. Whatever you do, make sure you speak to your lecturer for feedback if you can.

4.      Proof read and then proof read again! You’ll never catch every spelling or grammatical error, but it doesn’t hurt to try. It doesn’t harm to proof read, or better yet, get someone else to read it for you. Ultimately mistakes like this could cost you marks, so take the time to read over assignments.

5.      Pick what you are interested in! Yes the general assignment will have to be on a certain area but where you go from there is up to you. Don’t pick something that your friend is doing or you think there is lots of research on, be brave and pick what interests you. You’re the one who is going to be writing about it and reading about it and it will flow much better if you are genuinely interested in the subject and it will get your lecturer interested too.

6.      Referencing! It may not be the most enthralling activity but referencing your work is a vital part of academic life. It is a big part of the assignment as it is used as evidence to back up your work so getting it right is essential. There are some great books out there or ask your lecturers if you are unsure about the correct way to do it. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier to do and less of a nightmare. Promise.