Three South Eastern Regional College (SERC) Foundation Degree Hospitality, Tourism and Events students have returned from a rewarding five month work placements in Leuven, Belgium.
Emma Murphy, Callum Hannah and Hannah Morrison who study at SERC’s Downpatrick campus, were placed with the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe, an institution which designs and delivers high quality, customised, residential programmes for all sectors on the island of Ireland.
As Hospitality Trainees, the trio performed a range of practical operations within the organisation in food service, housekeeping and front of house.
The students received funding from Erasmus+, supported by the European Commission, for their placement which is part of the degree programme. Although they found the busy work environment and living away from home challenging, the students really feel that they developed their professional skills and increased in confidence, and can see how much they improved over the 5 months. Christina Geary, Operations Manager, commented positively on the students’ good work ethic, team working ability and initiative.
Student Callum Hannah said: “My traineeship abroad has taught me a lot about myself and my chosen area of work. I found it quite hard to get used to my new surroundings, but after the first few weeks I settled in and made friends.
“It will help me in my career as I am now a lot more confident in dealing with customers, thinking on my feet and taking decisions. If I had the chance to do it over again, I definitely would.” It wasn’t all hard work as on their days off the students had the opportunity to travel and visited Amsterdam.
International Project Officer, Sharon Browne, said: “Callum, Hannah and Emma have taken full advantage of the opportunities that living and working abroad brings in terms of learning and improving industry skills and personal development. A placement in Belgium will be a great asset when applying for jobs.”
The trio will now be graduating in September and are looking forward to putting the skills they have developed into practice.