Innovative partnership between Weston College and Visit Somerset helps students experience the tourism business for real
Visit Somerset has set up a ‘pop-up office’ in Weston College in Weston-super-Mare to give students a taste of real life at the cutting edge of Somerset’s tourism business.
The destination marketing organisation has re-located to the Weston College campus in Somerset and is working from its offices for a week to allow students to get vital experience of a real working environment in real time.
The aim is for the Visit Somerset team to engage with Weston College students and embed key experience and skills. In what’s believed to be a county first, this will include an 'in real time' working week during which, the students will be exposed to a wide variety of new skills including finance, planning, event planning, social media, marketing, macro and micro economic impacts and influences, social inclusivity and disability strategy.
But it will be business as usual for the Visit Somerset team who, while they are engaging with students, will use the benefits of mobile technology to run their pop-up office, using laptops, video conferencing and mobile phones, to continue to promote ‘The Jewel Of The South West’ from their temporary working hub, overlooking the stunning Weston Beach.
“It makes perfect sense for us to set up a base at Weston College,” said John Turner, Visit Somerset’s CEO. “Visit Somerset’s watch word is all about innovation, thinking differently about the world that we live in and using technology to make Visit Somerset more accessible. It is Visit Somerset’s vision to ensure that it is not stuck to its office, but out engaging at the heart of the economy with its members in their own working spaces at the coal face, where Visit Somerset as an organisation should be now and in the future.
“Education is a key part of Visit Somerset’s strategic framework moving forward. As part of our educational strategy we need to ensure that Visit Somerset is playing its part in up-skilling and supporting the next generation through many different facets of Visit Somerset’s work. As part of that, we are about to announce Visit Somerset's first high profile educational ambassador for the County.
“We are also now in what is termed a 'connected economy' where the boundaries of bricks and mortar working no longer apply. There’s been a complete change in the way we live our lives, supported by smart technology. Somerset is also one of the most connected counties in the UK with excellent broadband, so it’s actually very easy for us to relocate.”
Weston College, which is one of the fastest growing Higher and Further Education colleges in The South West, was keen to ensure that their students would benefit from the innovative initiative.
Dr Paul Phillips CBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College Group, said: "We are delighted to welcome John and the Visit Somerset team to Weston College. This will provide our learners with the opportunity to get involved in many aspects of Visit Somerset's working week, with planned engagement amongst our film, business and accounting students.
"We ensure our study programmes enable learners to get involved with everyday work experiences, to enable them to pick up those vital skills that help to get them work-ready."
If this project is successful then there are plans to widen the projects’ development. The experience will be filmed as a case study and sent out across Somerset.