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Lizzie Ribble Valley

As part of my Work Based Learning module, I have spent the past four weeks working alongside an experienced tourism officer for Ribble Valley Borough Council. Like other students, the thought of attending this work experience was daunting, although I quickly realised that this is exactly what I was needing! 

Having spent a large part of my university studies working from home, only leaving the house to participate in face-to-face lessons, my part-time job, and the occasional night out here and there, it was getting back into the routine of full-time work that was part of the challenge. Whilst living at home in Lancashire has allowed me to attend much of my placement in the office, as opposed to remotely, this did mean I had to consider the forty-minute commute in the mornings before and after work. Although I was more than prepared for this as it is something that I can expect once I’ve graduated and started my full-time career. With the job role being public-facing and having to often deal with members of the public, the sleepy mornings were more than justified by the high level of social interaction.  

The highlights of this experience for me were attending meetings and events. In my first week, I attended ‘Daish’s Group Travel Event’ at Samlesbury Hall. Not only was this a beautiful setting but I was able to meet lots of people within the industry and some lovely potential customers. I was expected to represent the region and provide knowledge and advice on the best group travel facilities, catering to the different needs of each individual. It was also the perfect networking exercise for me, which gave me the confidence to know I can succeed in my placement and industry.  

Another exciting day at work was attending a Ribble Valley Tourism Association meeting with my colleagues at Mrs Dowson’s Farm, otherwise known as ‘Scare Kingdom’ in the spooky season. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lancashire, and I was lucky enough to meet the lady herself and learn about what she has in store for the future. The research I had taken prior to this meeting further developed my knowledge of tourism planning and management, some of which I didn’t know before this placement. Some of my other duties included copywriting for a local magazine about summer in the destination, managing websites and social media accounts, and completing work for the destination guide. All of which I felt comfortable doing as it matched with the skills I had already gained from my university studies.  

In general, this placement was an excellent way for me to see what the job role of a tourism officer/destination manager is all about. Moreover, I have realised the importance of having good local knowledge and networking skills in this job role, and have been able to develop my own knowledge of Lancashire and my community. Which I believe will stand out to employers if I apply for a similar role in places like Blackpool, Morecambe, and Fleetwood.  

One piece of advice I would give to students who will undertake this module in future years is to communicate with your lectures and WBL tutors to find a placement to suit you and your chosen career path. My lecturer Colin Potts helped me to secure this placement, along with the Work Based Learning Team, realising the opportunity this was for me to develop my industry knowledge and skills further. He was just as excited as I was that I had obtained this role. Trust that the staff at Chester Business School have your best interests at heart and are there to help and support your learning development. This is certainly true from what I have witnessed from all my lecturers.  

To find out more about International Tourism Management or International Tourism Management with a Language visit the course webpage or why not follow the Chester Business School Instagram for news from the course?

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undergraduate Work Based Learning