"I took up a placement year at Teignbridge District Council as a Tourism Assistant where I worked in the tourism team within the Council. I worked on the delivery which involved helping Tourist Information Centres, attending meetings, writing minutes, writing reports and also anything to do with the political side. I helped my manager spread the tourism message across Devon. Although the job description was fairly basic and focused on administration, I was able to make so much of my opportunity – I got to deal with councillors, MPs and other organisations within the local tourism industry and got to promote Devon which was very good for my personal development.
It was a fantastic placement. Most of what I learnt was the practical application of tourism management. I had spent two years in the classroom and this helped me to see the theory in place. This was the main advantage of a placement, getting to see tourism in action.
The placement helped me develop my skills. At that point my writing style was a bit academic and it helped me write for a range of audiences, such as consumers who wanted advice on where to stay and go, and also for a political audience such as MPs. It also taught me a lot about time management; it was here that for the first time I learnt about harsh deadlines. The placement taught me how to manage my time more efficiently.
The placement also gave me a lot of confidence, so that I was able to talk about tourism to senior managers within the council, MPs and the industry. I developed a whole raft of skills that are still of use to me.
My placement was meant to be only for a year but it was extended for a few months. When I graduated I was employed for maternity cover as a Tourism Marketing Officer at West Dorset District Council. I only got this job because of my placement experience, and understanding their systems. This then led me to first VisitEngland and now VisitBritain. Without my placement I would not be working here today, my career would have gone off on a different track – it absolutely helped me get where I am today."
Lucy Leith, Overseas Operations Executive, VisitBritain.