Jobs course off of a flying start

Sky’s the limit for students in new roles.

Local girls Gemma Carrington, Huma Sahdia and Shara Walters are flying high, securing dream jobs with holiday companies Thomson and First Choice, after completing an employability course at Birmingham Metropolitan College’s Black Country Skills Shop based at the Merry Hill Centre.

Working in partnership with Black Country Jobcentre Plus, the staff at Skills Shop helped seven local people prepare for interviews with Thomson and First Choice. Thomson and First Choice’s new overseas recruitment drive launched in November to fill seasonal vacancies in overseas roles. The holiday company has more staff based around the world than any other and was looking to recruit holiday advisors, children’s reps, entertainers, swimming instructors and more to be based in short haul and medium haul destinations overseas.

Huma Sahdia, 24 and from Stourbridge, had successfully completed courses in Childcare at Birmingham Metropolitan College’s Stourbridge Campus and was looking for work when she was pointed in the direction of the Thomson and First Choice vacancies for children’s reps by a Jobcentre Plus Advisor. She said: “I’ve been actively looking for work with children and was really pleased that these vacancies were pointed out to me when I visited the Jobcentre. The course at the Skills Shop really helped me prepare for my interview and I was so surprised and excited to have been successful in getting one of the jobs! After some further training in May, I will be starting my job probably in a holiday resort somewhere in Europe for the summer season.”

Alison Mains, Employer Advisor at Stourbridge Jobcentre Plus, commented: “Jobcentre Plus Districts have worked with Thomson and First Choice before to help the companies fill vacancies and we were pleased that we managed to attract seven unemployed local people to the Information Day which was held at the Skills Shop during the recruitment campaign for childcare reps. All of the girls who were successful in getting jobs fulfilled all of the criteria in terms of qualifications such as Level 2 Childcare and Paediatric First Aid and their determination to succeed as well as their positive ‘can do’ attitudes really contributed to her getting the job.”

Tina Dalzell, Manager at the Job Skills Shop at the Merry Hill Centre, added: “We put together a course designed to help candidates prepare for the application and interview process. The course included customer service and employability training as well as presenting information and paediatric first aid. We’re delighted that three local people have been successful by landing jobs abroad and wish them luck for the future.”

Ian Chapman, Director of Holiday Experience for Thomson and First Choice said: “The travel industry has long been a big employer in the UK and it’s a fantastic sector to work in, offering people exciting career paths for a rewarding future. We have very specific criteria for all our overseas positions and therefore need to work with organisations that are willing to assist us in finding the right candidates for the roles. It’s been great to get the support of Jobcentre Plus and the Birmingham Metropolitan College’s Skills Shop, who have helped to up skill unemployed candidates so that they are trained to the level required for our overseas roles.”

Gemma Carrington, 21 from Stourbridge, and Shara Walters, 19 from Tipton, were also successful candidates. Shara said:“The course at the Skills Shop really helped me through the interview process and I’m really looking forward to starting work with TUI in June.”

For more information about job and career opportunities at Thomson and First Choice or to apply, people may visit