Lia Williams has travelled all over Europe since studying Travel and Tourism at Coleg Menai, and will soon be spreading her wings even further.
The 21-year-old from Porthmadog landed a job as cabin crew with Jet2 last year, after completing her Level 3 course at the Bangor campus in 2021.
Based at Leeds Airport, Lia has enjoyed trips to Spain, Portugal, the Canaries and Lapland - not just with work but for pleasure as well.
In the New Year, she is due to start work for Virgin Atlantic, flying from London Heathrow to destinations such as Barbados, Cape Town, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco and the Maldives.
It’s a dream career for Lia, who enrolled at Coleg Menai four years ago wanting to travel the globe.
“I love it so much - I wouldn’t change anything about it,” she said. “To do the course I had to travel to Bangor which took me about an hour each way from Porthmadog, so I was really committed.
“But I knew from day one that I wanted to work in the travel industry, and the course gave me a broad knowledge and a huge understanding of the industry, and an insight into things like which airlines were successful.
“I wanted to see the world, and I thought ‘I love customer service and sales’, and that’s what the job is - providing customers with a great experience.”
Lia’s working day starts with a short drive to Leeds Airport to meet with crew and do pre-flight checks, before heading off to destinations across Europe.
“We might be going to somewhere like Alicante and staying there for half an hour then bringing passengers back, or we might get to stay over on charter flights,” she said.
“I was lucky enough to do a charter flight to Lapland in December. We took passengers to spend the day there, and we were able to spend time there too. I went to the Santa Claus village and saw the northern lights - it was amazing.”
When she’s not working, Lia is able to take advantage of staff benefits such as discounted travel.
She said: “A shift can be 10 to 16 hours, so you usually only end up working about 10 days a month, which means you often get four or five days off together.
“I’ll often use my staff discount to go away somewhere. Last year I took my nan to Mallorca, I went to Portugal with my grandad, I’ve been to the Canaries, I’ve been to Prague to see the Christmas markets.”
From January, Lia will be going further afield when she starts her new job with Virgin Atlantic.
“I decided I wanted to see more of the world,” she said. “I fancied doing long-haul flights so I reached out to Virgin Atlantic and applied on their website.
“They fly to 30-plus locations across five continents, and with every flight you stay for two or three nights, in places like New York, Las Vegas and Johannesburg in South Africa. I can’t wait to start.”
Asked for her advice to anyone considering following the same path, Lia said: “Go for it.
“It’s not your typical 9-5. You meet people everywhere you go, and everyone’s so friendly. If you don’t do it, you’ll never know.”
The tourism industry is a key sector in North Wales, and Travel & Tourism learners at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai have the opportunity to study from Level 2 through to degree level. Students progress to work for a range of local and national companies, including tourist offices, travel agencies, tour operators and airlines.
For more information about Travel and Tourism courses at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, click here. Applications open in November for September 2024 entry. Open evenings will be held at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s campuses during November - for more information, click here.