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A group of Derby College students with their sights set on working in the travel and tourism industry have recently returned from Lapland where they gained valuable work experience at some of the area's top tourism venues.
The students are working towards their Level three Travel and Tourism and Aviation qualifications and joined the two-week trip to Kemi under the College's international study exchange programme funded by the European Union's Erasmus Plus programme.
They worked on the Sampo the ice breaking cruise ship which takes visitors on excursions and at the SnowCastle - a gigantic hospitality venue built out of snow and ice which is open to visitors between January and April.
Roles undertaken included housekeeping, reception, hospitality, animation and guiding groups in the SnowCastle and on husky safaris.
They also saw behind the scenes of some of the area's famous tourist destinations including Santa’s Village in Rovaniemi and the Gemstone Gallery in Kemi.
Derby College Travel and Tourism lecturer Ruth Benn explained: "Kemi was chosen for an exchange programme for the students as it has unique tourism attractions which the students would not experience anywhere else.
"This trip has enabled them to work with different languages particularly understanding resources that are all in the Finnish language.
“They have also been communicating with groups from different countries including Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Spain, France and England - enhancing their customer service skills.
"For many of the students, it was their first travel experience without families and a fantastic opportunity to develop their personal skills such as budgeting and taking responsibility for their own shopping, cooking and laundry.
"We made some great links with the local college in Kemi and look forward to welcoming some of their students to Derby in the future so that they too can benefit from international work experience here as well."
One of the students on the trip was Tayla Barnes (18) from Heanor said: "This was an incredible opportunity to learn more about the local tourism industry in Lapland which welcomes visitors from around the world.”
"The Sampo Ship was something I had never seen before. I worked for two days on the ship - shadowing the guided tours and helping visitors with the special thermal swim suits that are provided so that they could swim in the sea in freezing temperatures which I was even able to do myself.
"It was one of the busiest weeks for tourists at the SnowCastle so it was fascinating to experience the high level of customer service that they maintain.
"The work experience that we have done will be fantastic for our CVs and we will never forget this trip organised for us by Derby College.