Network, network, network!
by Danielle Westbury on 21-Dec-2023 10:00:00
When I returned from living in the UK for 2 years when I was 22, I really wanted to come home and ground myself before jetting off to Canada and doing another working holiday visa. So, I came home to the Sunshine Coast and felt like I needed to keep myself busy with something. I had tried studying before and I just never enjoyed it enough to prioritise it and wanted to earn money and travel instead. Then I came across an advertisement of studying a tertiary diploma that was only 9 months full time. Perfect length of time for me to figure out what I wanted to do without a 2-year commitment, and it was business & travel and tourism, 2 things I already had an interest and experience in, so it seemed to have fit perfect for me at that point in my life.
After I enquired, it all just sounded too good and the enrolment process was seamless, it felt like it happened overnight. I was comfortable with my work experience in hospitality and events, but I felt like this was the kick start in my career that I needed to open me up to more options and develop new skills. The hours worked perfectly while I took on an Au pair role and the subjects really sparked my interest. Flexible learning with hands on experience with great support from the educators - sounded perfect!
During my studies, I met so many likeminded people! I was emersed amongst a wide range of people with a diverse range of travel, professional and educational experience. Not just other students, but the facilitators too! Everyone was just your biggest cheerleader.
Before I started the diploma, my dream job was to be a travel consultant and I was really interested in taking my qualification overseas or working for a boutique agency in Australia.
By the time I finished my diploma, I decided that I wanted to work with Flight Centre, but I knew I didn't want to be a travel consultant anymore. It just didn't appeal to me, and I really didn't want to work in sales, but I had my sights set on 275 Grey Street (Flight Centre Head Office) and I just needed to get my foot in that door.
A month before completing my Diploma I ended up securing a role with Flight Centre Travel Academy in the sales team and packing up to move to Brisbane! I really like talking about that experience because it really proved to me just how quickly life can pivot and that was only the beginning of my professional journey.
I decided to change what I was doing (working in hospitality) to fit study into my everyday life. I knew I could cut down my hospitality hours, but I knew I wouldn't be able to give my studies my full attention and efforts if I was doing something that kept me out of the house a lot with no routine. So, I took up an Au pair role (essentially a live-in nanny, sometimes paid gigs, sometimes not), this was so great though. I would have school hours free to study, I had accommodation, and I was earning some cash as well. I found myself getting a bit of cabin fever some days, so I joined the gym and nailed some fitness goals too!
If you are planning on studying with Flight Center Travel Academy, here are a few tips I learnt on my journey:
Remember/save those handy resources and completed assessments! You will wish you had some of them to refer back to at some point in your career!
- Network network network, get your name, your brand, get yourself out there! Remember that ol' sayin' 'It's all about who you know'. The bigger your network the more opportunities you may be exposed to.
Find a mentor and soak in all that wisdom! It's great to have friends and family you can chat to but if you want to get paddling into the corporate world faster, find someone who you really connect with, who may have had similar goals as you in the past and that you can trust to lead/guide you in the right direction in your professional environment. I literally googled 'how to approach someone to be your mentor' 😂, but the best thing to do is just ask them!
- Most important one HERE! Listen up - DO NOT let your geographical location prevent you from taking up opportunities and trying new things! Get out there and live your life, travel, work, learn, listen, speak up, GROW! The best thing I have ever done and will continue to preach upon people is keep trying new things until you've found your thing!
Although I am no longer working in the Travel & Tourism industry, the experience with Flight Centre Travel Academy and obtaining my diploma, really set me up with a successful foundation of industry knowledge and business skills that I have since put into real world situations. After I gained my qualification, I took on a sales role (which I thought I would never ever do! This was my first corporate job 😰), so my knowledge and learnings of sales skills and CRM systems really came in handy (literally most companies have these, and I would have had no idea or context and it certainly would have slowed down a lot of the onboarding processes).
But, in hindsight, I actually think most importantly it gave me a clear idea of my interests, how to identify my strengths and how I can work on upskilling. It taught me how to work collaboratively, the importance of cultural awareness and just that I can actually do great things if I put in the time and energy to make it happen.
After her experience with the Program and her time working at Flight Centre Travel Academy, Danielle took on a role as Partnership Manager with a company called Year13, where she managed their corporate partners engagement strategies with youth, who were needing that extra bit of support navigating their final years of high school and life after school. Danielle says that this was something that was never on her radar, but she wouldn't change it for the world. She says that if it wasn't for her experience studying and working with Flight Centre Travel Academy she never would have found and had the opportunity to explore her passion for youth career education. We are excited to hear what Danielle gets up to next!
Do you want to do a course that you will enjoy and will set you up for success in the future? Check out our different Study + Jobs pathways.