European Placements give Students Work and Life Experience

04 April 2017 | Business & Enterprise, Hospitality & Catering, Travel & Tourism

City College Plymouth students have been getting a taste of the world of employment with work experience and placement opportunities across Europe. Funded by Erasmus+, the VET (Vocational Education and Training) and CHASE (Consortium of Hospitality, Accommodation through Schools in Europe) programmes have given the students the chance to not only put their training into practice but also to gain invaluable life skills.

Ten travel and tourism students have just returned from the trip of a lifetime to snowy Lapland. The month-long experience saw them working in Santa’s post office and the incredible Snow Hotel, as well as taking tourists on northern lights tours and snow safaris.

Abi Sturge worked in the Snow Hotel. “I mostly worked in the ‘warm’ restaurant, which we ran in time slots. By the end I could run it on my own. On the last night I got to stay there so I could see what the customers experience – it was cold but amazing!”

Meanwhile five business and three engineering students spent two weeks in Germany working for MVV Energie in Mannheim. Buddied with MVV apprentices, the students completed a project to design, manufacture and market a clock. The project included a final presentation to MVV’s senior management.

Sophia Warner, a level 3 business student, said: “This was a great opportunity to see behind the scenes of a real business. We were set a series of tasks to test our skills and had to review financial reports and analyse data. It really taught me the value of team work. I enjoyed being part of a different culture and definitely want to go back. It has inspired me to learn the language too.”

France, Finland, Belgium, Germany and Italy were the destinations for hospitality and catering, and travel and tourism students. Working in hotels and restaurants, the students spent five months gaining practical knowledge and getting hands-on experience. Language lessons were also part of the CHASE programme, which has been running for 26 years and includes 18 partner countries.

“I actually deferred my place at university to take up this opportunity,” said hospitality student, Ellis Webber. “I worked as a waitress at Hotel Kamp in Finland. I mainly handled room service, which gave me the chance to meet a lot of famous faces and get a taste of working with high-end clients. Being thrown into an alien environment where the highest level of professionalism is required really teaches you quickly. This experience has clarified where my career path is heading.”

“We live in an increasingly global society,” said Cat Shepherd, European Partnerships Officer at the College. “Our European placements help to broaden our students’ horizons and in doing so, improve their employability skills. Getting students work-ready is a key aim of the College and giving them industry experience is at the heart of what we do. Not only do they get hands-on experience, but living away from home and exposing them to different cultures gives our students a real competitive edge when entering the job market.”

To find out more about the College’s overseas opportunities while learning, come along to the Open Day and Spring Fete on Saturday 29 April, 10.00am to 1.00pm at King Road. Information will be available about the College’s wide range of full and part-time courses and Apprenticeships. Please visit or call 01752 305300 for further details.

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