The Tourism Society Cymru in partnership with the Next Tourism Generation (NTG) project based at Cardiff Met held the first ever pan-Wales tourism student competition. Students from colleges and universities across the country were invited to participate and inspiring applications were received from North and South Wales.
Industry experts were invited to judge the entries received as one of the main objectives of the competition was to engage industry with education. Judges volunteered their time by sharing their wealth of professional experience and knowledge. Their comments to all students will be beneficial to them going forward in their career.
Winner of the Sustainable Tourism category, Jenna O’Brien from Coleg Menai said, “This competition has given me the opportunity to express my passion and enthusiasm for the preservation of the environment, culture and language of my area, as well as helping me realise what area of sustainable tourism I would like to pursue. I would like to thank everyone who gave me this opportunity and experience, including my tutor Sharon, as she was a big help in completing the video.” Jenna is currently studying a diploma in Travel and Tourism. Judges highlighted her delightful commitment to her local area, her maturity and professionalism.
Winner of the Industry Engagement category, Evan Davies from Pembrokeshire College emphasised that, “This competition was a great opportunity to aid in my personal growth and further my career in hospitality. It is vital to develop and nurture careers in hospitality as learning a new trade can broadens horizons.” Evan’s ambition is to further his career as a chef through his education and work placement in a leading hotel. Judges highlighted that Evan has a bright future ahead in the culinary world.
Bluestone National Park Resort sponsored both competition categories and will present a £100 amazon voucher to both winners. Marten Lewis, Head of Corporate Responsibility said, “We were very impressed with the high quality of the competition entries and congratulate Jenna for winning Sustainable Tourism and Evan for winning Industry Engagement. They both show exceptional knowledge, skills and aspirations which will be of great value to the future of Welsh tourism.”
The competition promoted the importance of tourism and hospitality in education in Wales. Jacqui Jones from University of Wales Trinity Saint David stressed that, “All education providers specialising in tourism are responsible for developing student’s professional industry skills as well as their academic learning. This can be achieved by working closely with the tourism industry both here in Wales and globally. We therefore welcome the introduction of the NTG Student Awards and sincerely hope that the competition becomes more recognised so more students will apply to gain industry recognition for their achievements. Going forward the awards will encourage the tourism sector to become more involved in collaborative projects.”
Students that didn’t win but submitted excellent applications have been awarded highly commended certificates by the Tourism Society Cymru. Congratulations to Lauren Boyce from University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Amy May Evans from Gower College, who were highly commended.
The award ceremony that was due to take place on the 25th of March in Cardiff has been postponed to the new academic year. At the high-profile ceremony the overall competition winner will be announced and the achievements of the students who excelled will be celebrated.