Former Travel students return as staff in student engagement roles.
It's not unusual for former students at MidKent College to return to campus once in a while and share their experiences with the current crop of young people and adults preparing for work - particularly those who progressed into the Travel and Tourism industry. But at the start of this term it took on a whole new dimension…
15 students who had previous gained their 'wings' on the College's popular Cabin Crew programme re-joined in September, this time as staff.
Covid-19 has brought significant challenges to most business sectors, and unfortunately some of the College's previous students who secured highly-prized roles with the world's top airlines have found themselves in extended periods of furlough or even redundancy.
Recognising the exemplary customer care skills ingrained in Cabin Crew staff, and an opportunity to support students who have acted as fantastic ambassadors for its training programmes, the College has employed former students to help new students across its Maidstone and Medway campuses settle into College life. They have joined the college's Student Engagement team as mentors, and are highly visible around the campuses providing support and advice to students.
Speaking about the initiative, Principal Simon Cook said "The last six months have been really unsettling for all of us, but in particular for young people who didn't really get a proper 'end' to their time at school before joining us. The disruption to their education, along with the challenge of finding themselves in a new learning environment is significant. We knew that our former crew students had the perfect skills to help our students, so by employing them it has helped our new students feel comfortable and confident at the start of their time with us, and lay down the roots for a successful few years preparing for their own careers".
Lisa Russell, Lecturer in Travel and Tourism added "Every year we're so proud to see our students progress into their dream jobs. We're so grateful that they take the time to come back and speak to current students about their experiences of being recruited by major airlines, and the ways that they put their skills and knowledge into practice supporting customers on flights. While it saddens us to see the impact that Covid-19 has had on their careers, it's really encouraging to see that the skills they have developed with us, and in work, are helping them to secure work in other sectors at the moment. We’re delighted to have them back with us, but look forward to seeing them back in the air again soon."
Reece Brookes, a former student who has returned to the College as a staff member, said "MidKent College was a very important part of my education - it was an experience I’ll never forget. This new role has given me the opportunity to give back by being there to provide support and encouragement to students from all walks of life.”
Paige Collins, another of the new Student Engagement Mentors, said "I was a student here so I can relate to some of the challenges that students face, and am really pleased that I can make a difference by supporting them. I know how important it is to have a friendly face around College. I leave work every day with a smile, and meet so many amazing students that it really brightens my day"
Despite disruption to the Travel and Tourism industry, the Colleges programmes have recruited strongly again this year with confidence high that the sector will enjoy a strong recovery post-Covid.