Name: Hayley Doherty
Type of Rep: Children’s Rep
Tour Operator: Thomas Cook
Countries worked in: Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Ibiza
“My first season was nothing I had anticipated. The 2 week induction was hard but fun and eventually Rachel and I settled into our roles.”
In the beginning
After leaving school I knew that working as a holiday rep was the job I wanted to do and had looked into courses at local colleges. I set straight off for South Trafford College in Manchester in the September to firstly do the Leisure and Tourism course then followed by the Overseas Reps Course. To be honest, if I would have been old enough to go straight on to the latter course ( you had to be 18 before the March) I wouldn’t have bothered with the Leisure and Tourism course, but I am glad that’s the way it worked out as it gave me the chance to mature a lot and learn loads about the industry and the other roles available.
I chose the Intermediate course even though I had got the G.C.S.E grades to do the higher course as it was only a year long rather than two. The sooner I got onto the reps’ course the better!!
The Overseas Reps course was part time for 6 months which gave me the opportunity to work part time and save up to go away. As I wasn’t 19 by the time I was to apply, I was told I would have to be a Children’s Rep rather than mainline and gain 40 hours experience working with kids.
I spent a full day at the interview with Thomas Cook. I was so nervous although I had experience in presenting Welcome Events and Transfers at college in front of a group, I just couldn’t stop shaking when it came to standing up in front of 10-15 strangers to get my dream job!
I had forgotten my props i.e. visual aids I had prepared for my presentations. When I arrived to see the other people there with huge hand made treasure maps and swords etc it totally threw me. I spent the next hour watching everyone get up showing off their ‘here’s one a made earlier’ specialities whilst my heart was thumping so hard with pure dread of getting up without anything….when I did get up I thought I’d be honest and just said ” I’ve forgotten my visual aids in a mad panic this morning so you will just have to use your imagination!” I then continued through the presentations ‘pretending’ to hold up swords, maps and treasure chests!!!! How embarrassing!!!
After doing various team work activities and role plays through the day. I got the opportunity to say what I thought had gone well and not so well in a one to one interview. I took this as an ideal opportunity to explain that it had knocked my confidence without my props but was pleased with myself in how I had handled it. It worked, and the following day whilst in the changing rooms in Topshop I received a call telling me I was on the training course!! After laughing hysterically and screaming down the phone I went to buy loads of clothes to celebrate!!
The induction course
Luckily for me I had been placed on the same training course as my friend Rachel, who I had met at college on both courses and who had gone to the interview with me! The course was 4 or 5 days long in Blackpool, it was great!!
I shared a house with 5 others, all a lot older but were aiming to be kids reps as well. I felt a little left out as I thought it a good idea to get the en-suite double room downstairs and they all shared upstairs but we had a laugh.
The course was quite intense but fun and I learnt a lot, my nerves were still getting the better of me and all I could do was hope the trainers would see past that. They did, and on the last day I was told I would probably be placed in Majorca or Ibiza. My trainer was lovely and said she had seen right through me, she knew I was bubbly and where I would be best placed. She advised me the best thing for me to do was to try and come out of my shell on the induction in resort so I wasn’t mistaken for being shy and quiet and placed in the wrong area, as I would be unhappy in a quiet resort.
When back in Manchester I think it was about 2 weeks later when Rachel called me to say she had been placed in Lanzarote. I crossed my fingers and my prayers came true when I got a call later that today saying I had been placed in Lanzarote too!!!
Working as a Children's Rep
My first season was nothing I had anticipated, the 2 week induction was hard but fun and eventually Rachel and I settled into our roles. We each had our own apartments but thought it a good idea to move in together and have a spare apartment as she didn’t like being alone at night, and I struggled to get up in the morning! Ideal! We were inseparable and if it wasn’t for each other we probably would have gone home within the first 6 weeks but after that we got used to the home-sickness and started to enjoy ourselves!
My 2nd season Rachel and I were placed in Lanzarote again with a few others we knew. I was so pleased but after arriving I was told there had been a mistake…2 days later I was sent on a ferry to Fuerteventura and said an emotional goodbye to Rachel. It was probably the best thing that could have happened looking back, I became more independent and more ambitious. I made it aware that I was interested in promotion and started to work towards a Team Leader role.
Whilst there I met my boyfriend Paul and we applied as a couple to go to Ibiza the following summer. Ibiza was amazing! I was given more responsibilities to go for Team Leader and met some really cool people. After a long, tiring summer in Ibiza both Paul and I made the decision to leave a week early and to return back to the UK. Now I have been back 6 months and although I don’t regret my decision to leave, I am contemplating returning after this year out…it was my dream job and I miss it. Especially working with the kids.
Moral of the story
No matter how hard you find it, give it at least 6 weeks or you will regret it. Find out straight away who you can and can’t trust and don’t get involved in the bitchiness! Take as many home comforts as you can. Keep in touch with friends whilst away or you will have a nasty shock when you come home!
Try and get as many people to visit whilst you are away, it’s something to look forward to. Most of all…don’t burn yourself out, but you are only young, you’re in the sun and the envy of all your friends, have an amazing time and make the most of it!!!!