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Careers in leisure and tourism

Whether you’re more comfortable in T-shirt and shorts or a shirt and tie, you’re sure to find a career that suits you in leisure and tourism. Read on to find out about the many exciting places studying the subject could lead you.

From hotels to health centres, restaurants to rollercoasters, leisure and tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, employing over two million people in the UK alone – and that’s before you consider all the opportunities for working abroad. And the range of skills you need for this industry is almost as wide as the range of careers available. You can learn all the important things about management, finance and the ins-and-outs of the industry with a qualification in leisure and tourism, but just as important are good people skills and finding something you enjoy. After all, it’s a lot more rewarding helping other people have fun when you’re having fun yourself.

Travel and tourism

You could work as a ski instructor in Canada, a holiday rep in Ibiza or behind the counter in a travel agent, to name just some examples. It’s a good idea to try and get a summer job as a guide, instructor or rep if you want to work in those areas; they might be low-paid at first but will give you the connections you need. Travel agents normally need good GCSEs in English and maths or an apprenticeship, NVQ or HND in leisure, travel and tourism, and having a bit of travel under your belt wouldn’t hurt. But whether you want thrills and spills in far-flung locations or something more sedate closer to home, putting the customer first is an absolute must.

How much could I earn? The salary for travel agents is normally between £12,000 and £20,000 per year depending on experience, although you could earn more than your basic salary selling on commission. Holiday rep work sometimes pays as little as £600 per month, but you could also earn more on commission and your accommodation will normally be provided abroad

Bars and clubs

clubIt helps if you like late nights, but you don’t have to be completely nocturnal for a successful career in bars and clubs. During the days managers could be managing accounts or dealing with suppliers and staff, all things that a HND, NVQ or degree qualification in leisure and tourism or hospitality management will set you up for. Or if you’re just as outgoing as you are organised, maybe a career in club promotions is for you. This could begin with giving out flyers and eventually lead to booking big DJs and getting corporate sponsorship for your parties.

How much could I earn? Bar managers and promoters earn £22,000 on average, rising with experience. Many club promoters work on a freelance basis, taking a percentage of the profits for parties, meaning you could either make a fortune or a loss depending on how many people turn up!

Events management

If you think organising a birthday party is complicated, imagine trying to look after thousands of people at a festival or corporate conference. That’s what events managers do, and is why they need excellent multi-tasking skills, since they’ll be responsible for everything from booking the venue to arranging the catering according to what the customer wants. Event managers could work in-house for one venue, for an events management contract firm, or maybe as freelance ‘party planners’. Many universities and colleges offer degrees and other courses in event management covering everything from project management to marketing.

How much could I earn? The average salary for events managers is around £30,000, although high-powered jobs with big venues or companies could pay £40,000 or moreBar managers and promoters earn £22,000 on average, rising with experience. Many club promoters work on a freelance basis, taking a percentage of the profits for parties, meaning you could either make a fortune or a loss depending on how many people turn up!