Comment: Future students should have the same opportunities as we’ve had

Students on the level 3 travel & tourism course at Birmingham Metropolitan College (BMet) have joined their lecturer John Garside and others in the sector to lobby for the future of the qualification.

Their calls come as the government is poised to close off an important pathway into the sector by ending funding of some level 3, or further education, qualifications. From 2026, the government will focus on A-level and T-level courses and funding for level 3 travel & tourism courses will disappear.

As A-level, T-level and BTec pupils receive their results today (August 17), BMet students Lily, Gabby, Macy and Evie share their thoughts about how valuable their level 3 college course has been; their plans for the future; and how they hope future students will have the same opportunities.

“I have said it before and I will say it again, choosing travel & tourism as a BTec has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

“It has taught me so much about what I want to do in the future and allows me to explore more about the world of travel and tourism as well as the hundreds of different careers involved within it.

“As someone who struggled with their mental health during GCSE exams, I knew doing A-levels/T-levels would not be a suitable option for my learning after school.

“Doing travel and tourism as a college course has helped me become so much more educated in an area that I am passionate about. I am also able to work in a productive and relevant environment with coursework and a few exams, which suits my learning mindset much better.

“Our tutors always make sure we understand the content we are learning in class and understand that we are achieving our best.

“We are as well as given numerous opportunities, such as work experience and trips to destinations such as Alton Towers and Paris, allowing us to learn more about the attractions first-hand.

“I believe college students in the future should be able to have the same amazing opportunities and unforgettable experiences as we have had.”

“During my first year studying level 3 travel & tourism, I’ve gained a lot of confidence and knowledge about the industry I want to be involved in in the future.

“After I finish college, my goal is to go to university to study International Tourism Management, which will help me in my aspiration to become a hotel manager.

“During my GCSEs, I found I was really struggling with my mental health while doing the exams – so having the option of choosing a BTec in college made me less nervous as I knew I would be getting a fantastic qualification without having to do as many exams.

“My concern for future students is that a lot of people struggle with exams, so not having BTec options available won’t be beneficial for those who don’t deal well with the pressure of exams.

“Overall, this course has helped me in so many ways, not only with my confidence but also in helping me realise how much I want a future career within the travel and tourism industry.”

John Garside, BMet lecturer, with student Macy

“I enjoy studying studying level 3 travel & tourism, mainly because of the diversity of the units. Over the past two years, I have learnt about so many different branches of the industry such as the airport experience, tourism marketing, tourist attractions and the issues and trends in tourism units.

“With each assignment, we can add in our own ideas and thoughts.

“I have also enjoyed various guest speakers from the industry, who have visited us to share their experiences, as well as work experience placements.

“The course has helped me to realise how many opportunities and career pathways there are available to me in the industry.

“It has helped me to refine my goals to build a career in the tourism industry as well as apply to study International Tourism Management at university.

“Some of my favourite experiences include a trip to Disneyland Paris and hearing from guest speakers in the industry.

“The course has made me so much more confident in myself and my abilities. It has also inspired me to seize more opportunities and try new things.

“I would like to go into marketing or possibly account management when I leave college. There will be more opportunities for me with a BTec Level 3 qualification and I will have developed my knowledge.

“For future students, it will be more difficult if the course is not available and there will be less opportunity to explore the industry and prepare for the future.

“Btec is a more flexible way of learning with an interactive approach. I feel A-levels and T-levels are not as inclusive and are more favourable for those students who are more academic.

“I enjoy this course; it has been a great first year. I believe it is already preparing me for my future and increasing my awareness to job roles in the industry.”

Pictures: John Garside, lecturer, with students Gabby, Evie and Lily. Inset: Garside with Macy

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