Alumni

UCLan is recognised for its outstanding course provision which gives students the skills, knowledge, and personal attributes necessary to succeed at the University and in their future careers


Lucy Hodge

BA (Hons) International Tourism Management 
Now: Business Development Manager for Merlin Entertainments Ltd. (Blackpool Cluster)

What made you choose to study your course?
"I was born and raised on the Fylde Coast where tourism featured very strongly in the local economy. I always worked in the local tourism business part time and discovered my passion for the industry. It was a natural step to study the industry in further education." 

What did you do after graduation? 
"I went straight into full time work post study. I secured a job with Devere Hotels as Guest Services Manager at their Blackpool property. This role was a combination of Guests Management but sales also, which was something I enjoyed and discovered my natural ability and relationship management in this professional Sector. It spurred me to further delve into the industry and I interviewed and secured a role with BT as an Area Sales Representative, which also saw me graduate from 'BT University'. This was a very challenging course that armed me with a strong incite and skillset for a challenging sales role. This role was great for development but I did miss the industry. 
A job role was offered combining the two and then saw my step into a different chapter of my career, in hindsight, this was my first opportunity to grow in a field that I am very well suited. I moved to a catering company as Sales and Marketing Manager at venues, I was involved with the Rowley's at Blackpool Football redevelopment. 
An opportunity with a different company was then offered, The Villa Group as Marketing and Business Development Manager, which I jumped in the deep end at. This was company takeovers, rebrand projects and repositioning venues into the industry, it was fast paced and demanding. My experience and personal development was flying. An opportunity presented itself to move to Merlin Entertainments Lts in Blackpool, one of the leading providers to the local industry and UK Attractions Provider, with a huge corporate company backing. This is where I currently am as Business Development Manager for the Blackpool Cluster of attractions. Never would I have imagined growing up that I would be working for such iconic attractions in the role I am. Every day is challenging but fun and I am lucky to say I love my job!." 

Job title, company name and brief description of you duties:-
"Business Development Manager, Merlin Entertainments Ltd, Blackpool Cluster of Attractions (The Blackpool Tower, SeaLife Centre and Madame Tussauds are in my venue portfolio). 
I am tasked with positioning and selling our incredible and iconic venues to private clients out of general trading. This may be to private celebration events, filming and television, live music events, VIP venue takeovers, weddings, awards and corporate events." 

Please tell us about the journey that brought you to this position - including any previous work or relevant life experience:-
"I always worked in the industry, from kids club (even dressing as a 6ft Bear 'Ivo') to bar, restaurant and events waiting on service and some promotions work. I enjoyed to work and felt it gave me a good grounding from a young age of the importance or working and development. 
During my time at University, I experienced a 'placement year' - which I would recommend to everyone. Experience really is key upon graduation. I lived in Austria and France, it gave some personal, and working challenges, I was proud of my achievements and work ethic on return." 

What are your lasting memories of your time at UCLan?
"During my time with UCLan I was fortunate enough to go to Cambodia on Voluntary Work to the Green Gecko School, this was the most emotional and inspiring two weeks, the children's strength and positivity was astounding, as cliché as it sounds this was a life changing experience. I have a great gratitude to the tutors at UCLan; they provided a respectful adult learning environment and were very supportive and motivational. The university allowed me to tailor my degree, presenting modules that I knew I wanted to learn more about and eventually focus my career on to. 
I really enjoyed the industry leaders that came into speak with us, this gave me the motivation and dedication to push myself, and the realisation that I would one day be in a successful leading role. At UCLan was when I realised how much of a career I wanted and the tutors supported my drive, I valued their advice and still keep in touch with them." 

What is your greatest achievement since graduation?
"I interviewed for my first two roles since university (Devere and BT), since then I have been headhunted for each of my career moves and promotions. I graduated 6 years ago and it has been a total whirlwind of hard work since, but I am now working for an amazing company in a role I love. Hard work really does pay off!." 

What advice would you give to graduates wanting to do something similar, or what message would you like to give to those thinking of taking up study?
"Get as much experience to back up your degree as possible! Be prepared to work hard and make the most of every opportunity. Be focussed and tailor your education and experience - have a plan and have the belief you can achieve it!."

Has your degree, or your experience at UCLan had any particular impact on your current employment or your life in general?
"My degree absolutely gave me the upper hand alongside my experience over other candidate for job roles. The theory side of the industry is vital to have and I believe will have had an impact of the fast track of my career. I realised at University what motivated me in life and the success I was hungry for in the first decade of my professional career, UCLan was an incredible start for this, I honestly believe you get out what you put in. You have to do it for yourself but with the support or professional tutors and a university with a great reputation, the world is your oyster!" 

Sasha Francesca Kaalman

BA (Hons) International Tourism Management with placement
(Graduated 2016 – 1st Class with Distinction)


Now: Sasha is currently partaking a 4-month internship at the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute (NZTRI) in Auckland, New Zealand.NZTRI – “Our research enables business, community and government to develop profitable and sustainable industry outcomes.”

She has taken the time to tell us what she's up to since graduating and what her plans are in the near future!

"I’ve always wanted to do a Masters degree, with my final year of my undergrad motivating me into wanting to do a ‘Masters by Research’ degree instead of a normal taught Masters. But I’m unsure as to whether I actually have enough skills for this degree just yet, and I also don’t even know if I will enjoy going down the path of research in the future! So, I decided to do a 4-month internship at NZTRI in order to gain some experience before signing up for my Masters at UCLan.
I started at NZTRI in March 2017, so have been here for just over 2 weeks now, and I’m really enjoying it! It took a while to get used to being in an office 9-5pm but the topics keep me busy, and at least I get weekends off so I can go and explore the country.
I am mainly assisting with a New Zealand domestic tourism research project on motorcaravanning – creating business, community and social media databases, looking into media/news coverage on certain parks and the ‘freedom camping’ side of things. I am also starting to help with projects related to the Cook Island International Visitor Surveys, which the institute have been doing for a number of years now to help the islands. As well as these, I have also received training in research software, such as NVivo, Qualtrics, SPSS, Piktochart and Mapping.
I am using this time at NZTRI to think of possible ideas in which I could research as part of my Masters by Research degree and, at the moment, I am enjoying looking into the freedom camping within New Zealand, so this could be an idea!"


Adam Smith

Since graduating, Adam Smith has kindly taken time out to tell us about his new career.

In addition to securing a First Class Honours Degree, Adam was awarded the Merlin Entertainments Prize 2014 for exceptional academic performance.

He said: "I chose UCLan because they provided the opportunity to do a 48-week international work placement. I was impressed the course involved management sector modules as well as tourism ones, as this helped open doors for me in my career.

"The course offers great international trips and I've made some amazing lifelong friends. The class sizes are smaller than other universities, so I felt like I wasn't just another number but a person that all my tutors knew and I could go to them for help in any aspect of my university life which wouldn’t have been the case at bigger institutions.

"As part of my degree I undertook a placement at Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida. This enabled me to gain invaluable industry experience to complement the theoretical content of my course. During my final year of the course, I also worked and volunteered for Merlin Entertainments in Blackpool.

"My advice to other students is to take full advantage of the opportunities available at UCLan, go on as many trips as you can and see the world. I think choosing UCLan was the best decision I've ever made, as my degree helped me secure a job with World Travel Holdings and partner group Cruise118."

Hayley Bartholomew


Hayley: "I knew I wanted to study Tourism at university and I selected UCLan as the course stood out. They provided the opportunity to do a 48-week international work placement which led to me securing a job with British Airways.

"I've progressed from cabin crew to a position at Head Office, working on projects which look at ways of enhancing service on our most prestigious routes.

"I made some amazing lifelong friends at UCLan; took part in all the international trips, completed a fantastic work placement at Walt Disney World in Florida and learnt about the Tourism Industry from a business perspective from supportive and knowledgeable tutors.

"I recommend students take full advantage of the opportunities available at UCLan, such as going on work placement and utilising the knowledge available within the department to achieve your full potential."

"My degree was paramount in attaining a job at British Airways, as it provided me with tourism industry knowledge, employability skills and allowed me to gain invaluable work experience through my placement year."

Emily: "I graduated from UCLan in 2013 with a First Class Degree in International Tourism Management. After completing a one-year internship with Disney, I sealed a full-time role as a Petty Officer. The internship was invaluable, as it gave me the skills I needed to secure the position.

"In June 2014 I became a co-ordinator for Guest Services. It's basically front desk supervisor (I get to wear whites!) and I’m in charge of all the training for my team. I’m really loving my job and learning everday.

"I get loads of great privileges during my free time, including being allowed in all guest areas such as pools, jacuzzis, sun loungers and movie theatre. I also get to watch the amazing shows we have on board, such as Disney's Believe and the amazing firework displays we have."

Natasha: "I’d always wanted a career in the Travel Industry and after studying a similar subject at College, it was a natural progression for me to study the topic at University.

"After graduating I decided to travel to Australia and New Zealand for six months before finding my first career role as a Junior Sales/Account Manager for a luxury travel company.

"The role is very varied but its main focus is to support existing business accounts and to create new business wherever possible. Some of my favourite memories of UCLan were formed on our group study trips.

"I was very fortunate to go on all three trips throughout the degree; Barcelona, New York and Cambodia. All the trips were made relevant to our studies at the time, but they were also a brilliant way of getting to know people on your course and other courses within the University School.

"As part of my degree course I undertook a 48-week placement at The Co-operative Travel's Head Office in Manchester. This enabled me to gain invaluable industry experience to complement the theoretical content of my course. I feel this experience greatly enhanced my performance in my final year as I was able to contribute real life experiences to my work."

Cara Roberts

"I’d studied Tourism at GCSE level in and achieved an 'A'. I found the studies exciting and fresh and I always knew I wanted a job within the industry.

"Whilst studying at UCLan I’d taken on a part-time job at Premier Inn which I loved, so when I graduated I went up to full-time and soon after became a Team Leader."From there I progressed into managerial roles at Blackpool, Chorley and Bolton, before becoming New Openings Operations Manager at the new Premier Inn in Preston.

"I had some great tutors whilst studying at UCLan who really engaged me within the classes including Carley Sutton, Peter McGrath, Peter Cave and Martine Middleton. They really helped me get to where I am today."

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