ITT shows its commitment to careers and education by recognition of good practice, student awards, consultancy and much more.
ITT runs an Education & Training Committee chaired by ITT Board Director Claire Steiner. Claire organises student events on behalf of ITT, such as the hugely popular 'Future You' seminar at WTM.
She also represents ITT on external education/ industry bodies. Educational partnerships are an important part of ITT’s careers and education work.
|The most recent being with the Global Travel & Tourism Partnership, a multi-country educational programme to introduce students to careers in travel and tourism.|
Helina Mengistu was the winner of the 2008 ITT Student of the Year. She studied for a BA (Hons) in Travel & Tourism Management at Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University.
Helina was born in Yemen where she lived for 10 years before moving to Ethiopia for four years and her family now live in Northern Ireland. During her period of study at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, she continuously sought to develop herself and is a classic example of a student who has set herself perpetual goals and challenges.
Her third year, her placement year out in industry, was, as she states herself, “perhaps the best thing that happened to me, as, at the end of completing it, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.” This is not because she fell in love with the job, but was because she “had the worst time ever in my placement at a five star hotel in Belfast, the main reasons being that I was overworked and under appreciated along with the other staff I worked with.” She was astonished at the lack of procedures, training and incentives within the hotel for staff development. This proved to be a pivotal point in deciding her career path.
Helina didn’t originally set out to study at a university; she started her further education by doing an AVCE in Travel and Tourism Management after school and then took a two year gap in order to earn some money and gain life experiences. When she commenced university, like most students, she really didn’t know what she wanted to do as a career ultimately. However, given the experience that she had encountered on her placement and, having studied Human Resource Management as part of her programme at Newcastle Business School, these factors seem to have been the catalyst, and she decided that she wanted to go back into a hotel environment, which, she says she loved, and discover more and face the challenges that hotel management present.
At this point Helina became very pro-active in her career management. She contacted her tutor at the Business School who then contacted ITT with a request for information and contacts. ITT put her in touch with a gentleman who had set up a hospitality internet in the Middle East called ‘The Talent Jungle’ which included job vacancies for all major hotels. Helina contacted several chain hotels and, in due course, she emailed her tutors at University to say that she had landed her “dream job as an HR Management Trainee in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Bahrain.”
Helina did not get this position by chance; it was on account of sheer tenacity on her part. In her first year of study, she was an average student. Her grades improved in second year and then she went on to work in her one year placement in industry. She finally achieved an absolutely excellent First Class Honours Degree in Travel and Tourism Management. Her tutors called her “an outstanding student, having conducted herself brilliantly in terms of research, analysis, and a blend of theoretical and practical learning. She has been an active member of class, continuously popular with peers and tutors throughout. She is an example to future students, at all levels of study and also to the industry in acknowledging at an early age, the importance of training and career development."
ITT created the Centres of Excellence status to recognise leading universities keen on working particularly closely with the Institute.
Universities with Centre of Excellence status will be able to use a dedicated logo, receive support in organising industrial placements, have access to high level industry speakers, have access to senior industry figures for research purposes and will grant an annual ITT Centre of Excellence Student of the Year award to a student identified by the university.