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How to Get Your Career in Tourism Kick-Started: Sonam’s Flight Centre Story

This article is brought to you by Torrens University.

When Sonam started her Diploma of Travel and Tourism in September 2019, she wasn’t sure exactly where she wanted her career to go.

She only knew she loved to travel, and that she wanted to get an education and make a career for herself in something she was passionate about.

“Travel has always been a hobby for me,” Sonam explained, “I have been to over fifteen countries so far, but my only aim then was to expand my horizons. I never thought to pursue this as a career until I looked at the course.

I have always wanted to gain a tertiary level education, and so to combine such an accreditation with my passion for travel was a huge bonus.”

Sonam’s diploma was developed as an exclusive collaborative partnership between Torrens University Australia and the Flight Centre Travel Academy. Course content for this diploma has been co-created, and is co-delivered at Flight Centre headquarters in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.

Not only does this give students the opportunity to learn directly from professionals working in the industry, it also provides them with work experience and networking opportunities throughout the diploma.

When they graduate, students are also offered direct entry into the second year of a Bachelor of Business (Tourism Management) at Torrens University. Another perk of this unique diploma is that Flight Centre also directly hires students straight out of the diploma program.

By the time she finished her course in July 2020, Sonam was able to launch straight into a graduate recruitment program with this global travel corporation.

“The Flight Centre brand is known internationally, and the Torrens University Diploma of Travel and Tourism was partnered with Flight Centre Travel Academy.

This partnership provided me with the tools and networks I needed to enter the industry,

whilst still allowing me to continue studying, and to develop a better understanding of and appreciation for the industry,” said Sonam.

As a graduate of the diploma program, Sonam received exclusive job listings for positions with Flight Centre Travel Academy, before they were listed online.

That’s how she heard about her current job as Content Lead and Enrolments Sales Consultant at the Flight Centre Travel Academy. She applied, and was thrilled to be quickly hired.

“Having studied through the Flight Centre Travel Academy, the partnership allowed me to develop networks in the industry,” she said, “Plus, being a part of the Flight Centre Travel Academy student alumni allowed me to find out about roles being offered at the academy before they were advertised to the general public.

The skills learnt from the course are very transferable and can be applied on a global scale.

The industry has many different career pathways within itself, such as cruises, hotels, airlines or tours. Thus, the possibilities are endless.”

Having had such a great experience of studying for her diploma, Sonam decided to continue with further study at Torrens University, while at the same time continuing to work in her new graduate role.

“After finishing the Diploma of Travel and Tourism during the start of the pandemic, I decided to continue studying and started the Bachelor of Business (Applied Social Science), and I’m due to graduate in 2023,” Sonam explained.

The same curiosity about the world that attracted Sonam to a career in tourism continues to drive her to understand the industry better, through the lens of social sciences.

“As an industry, tourism drives economic growth,” she explained. “What we have learnt most recently is that the industry is always changing, with new trends, global impacts, such as the pandemic, and the new opportunities and improvements that are constantly being made and which pave the way for the future of the industry.

Trends in tourism are always seasonal, and it is very interesting to monitor how trends are shaped by internal and external forces, both positively and negatively.”

Sonam has found that the knowledge, experiences and skills that she has gained through her education directly feed into her working role, making the study complementary to her work.

“My role involves sales and strong stakeholder management. I love being able to talk to a wide network of people in my role, from students, to facilitators, to senior leaders.

Having been a student and part of the customer journey, it has come full-circle, and I am now the one who is now initiating conversations with the students.”

Sonam started her education journey viewing tourism solely as a way to personally experience different places. Her diploma reshaped how she views travel, the tourism industry and the possibilities for a career within it.

“When I previously thought of travel, I had just thought of travelling to beautiful places,” she explained. “The Diploma of Travel and Tourism course allowed me to view the travel industry in a way I had not noticed previously.

The diploma taught me that travel is so much more than that. There are so many different aspects of the industry that the diploma can become a pathway to, such as airlines, hotels, cruises, travel agencies or business support.”

Change is constant in the hospitality and tourism industry. Over the past few years, COVID-19, calls for more diversity and growing concern over climate change have all fuelled changes in the market. There is one particular change that Sonam would personally like to see more of.

“The industry is always changing and adapting to new ways of living, as we have seen with the pandemic.

The change I would really like to see happen in the industry is in how it incorporates environmental sustainability into regular operations, while still providing customers with exceptional experiences and life-long memories.”

Someone who has travelled as much as Sonam always has recommendations when it comes to the best holiday destinations. So, what are some of her favourites?

“My personal favourite travel experience so far has been in Europe. I have been there to experience the history and cuisines of Italy and the beautiful beaches of Greece. These two countries are part of the same continent, but offer very different tourist experiences.

I highly recommend going more than once. Try experiencing these places in the peak seasons and the off seasons; the experiences are very different and positively memorable both ways,” she said.

Sonam has come a long way since she started her diploma. At first, she had just an idea that she’d like to make some kind of career with an education in tourism. Now three years later, she’s already qualified, working in the industry and completing her further studies.

What’s next for her career and her big dreams, in the short term and for the future?

“I am very passionate about two aspects of my life,” she explained. “Firstly, I want to grow in my career at Flight Centre Travel Academy and one day be part of the senior leadership team. Secondly, I would also love one day to start a non-profit organisation to support those who have been affected by, or know someone who has been affected by Lupus.

If you love travelling and are curious to learn more, studying tourism is the best place to start.

You will learn what the industry involves, all the new ways the industry is changing, and how to grow your talents and your career.” 

See here for more information about the Torrens University Diploma of Travel and Tourism in partnership with the Flight Centre Travel Academy.

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