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Stephanie’s charting a course for career success

The former Coleg Menai student is making waves as she targets a career as a deck officer, with the ultimate aim of one day captaining her own vessel

Stephanie is on her way to becoming a deck officer on a cruise ship following her time at Coleg Menai.

The 20-year-old from Holyhead studied Level 3 Travel & Tourism at the college’s Bangor campus, before gaining a place at Solent University in Southampton.

She is now in the second year of a Higher National Diploma in Nautical Science.

A career sailing the globe beckons for Stephanie, whose ultimate ambition is to become captain of her own ship.

She has been gaining plenty of seatime, including working at Seagreen Windfarm off the coast of Scotland, and Burbo Bank Windfarm in Liverpool Bay.

“During phase two of my course, I was sent to sea where I worked in two different wind farms around the UK,” said Stephanie. “I had an amazing time - I’ve learnt many new skills, along with meeting some great people and making new friends, and have also had many hours of sailing experience.

“The highlight of my seatime was completing my first ‘push-on’, which is basically safely putting the vessel on a turbine so we can transfer the technicians onto the turbine.

“I was also lucky enough to be invited to the naming ceremony of one of my company’s vessels in London back in February. It was an amazing experience and such an honour to have been invited.

“Now I’m back in college studying about 10 different subjects, including different types of ship operations, manoeuvring, emergency response, navigation, stability, chartwork and more.

“I’m having an amazing time and really enjoying myself. I'm looking forward to going back to sea in phase four in March.”

Asked about her future plans, Stephanie said: “The first thing I wish to do is complete my course, pass my orals and become an Officer of the Watch Unlimited and start working on ships as an officer.

“I would absolutely love to work on cruise ships, sailing the world and meeting loads of new people. One day far in the future I hope to qualify as a captain and have my own vessel.”

Stephanie studied Level 2 Marine Engineering at Coleg Menai before progressing on to her Travel & Tourism course, which gave her a strong understanding of the career she wanted to pursue.

“Doing the Travel and Tourism course has helped me by giving me a much bigger insight into the cruise and ferry industry,” said Stephanie, who won the Catering, Hospitality, Travel & Tourism award at the college’s 2022 Achievers’ Awards Ceremony.

“The course can give you an insight into any part of the industry all around the world, so no matter which sector you are interested in, you will learn about it.

“Also it taught me about the professional world - how to talk to colleagues and clients in the right manner, and different ways to deal with situations and problems in the workplace.

“During my first year we were in and out of lockdown due to Covid, but in the second year we were lucky enough to go on trips and learn about different tourism sectors, how they operated, what qualifications were needed for jobs, and what they do to improve the experience for customers and clients.

“I really enjoyed travelling to Spain with the college for work experience at the end of my second year, in June 2022.

“We were in a tourism and hospitality college in Mostoles. It was good to put what we’d learnt in class and through our assignments into hands-on experience after Covid, and that was the last thing I did with Coleg Menai.”

Stephanie praised her former lecturers Sharon Jones, Hilary Jones and Cath Skipp, saying college had made her more confident she could achieve academically.

“The tutors were amazing and always happy to help, whether it was with the coursework or helping me on my path to university and my application and interviews,” she added.

“I doubt myself a lot when it comes to coursework and things like that, and I was worried I wouldn’t finish the course on time or that I wouldn’t get the grades required to get into university.

“But after finishing the course and getting my grades, I was very shocked and very happy with myself. This definitely changed my expectations about myself and made me more confident in my coursework.”

Want to study Travel & Tourism with Grŵp Llandrillo Menai? For more information about our courses, click here.