Thomson and First Choice partner with college to provide high-flying career routes for the unemployed

Five Gateshead College students are jetting off on an adventure overseas thanks to a scheme with holiday companies Thomson and First Choice, which helps unemployed people into work. 

Megan Hoare, Nicole Pope, Jacklyn French, Sean Southern and Amy Turnbull have secured employment as childcare holiday representatives at Thomson and First Choice’s resorts overseas.

Nineteen year-old Megan from Birtley will be employed in Spain; Nicole, 21 from Gateshead, will be based in Tunisia; and Greece will be the destination for 22-year-old Jacklyn from Jarrow. Meanwhile, 24-year-old Sean and 19-year-old Amy, both from Gateshead, will be employed in Majorca.

The students will work, initially, for a period of six months and will be responsible for hosting welcome and departure meetings, greeting new guests at the airport and hosting daytime and evening entertainment within the kids’ clubs.

It’s a dream come true for Megan, whose previous work experience was limited to a one-month stint as a telesales advisor at a telecommunications firm. She has been unemployed since leaving the company last August.  

She said: “This is a great opportunity for me because I’ve always wanted to work with children. Now I have the chance to start my career at one of the most reputable travel companies in the country.

“To prepare for the job I completed childcare level two and paediatric first aid courses at Gateshead College. As part of my studies I also enrolled on a two-week pre-employment course which taught me how to create an eye-catching CV and prepare properly for an interview.

“It certainly helped me as the interview went well and I got the job.”

For the past two years, Gateshead College has been working in partnership with Thomson and First Choice and Jobcentre Plus to provide skill-specific training that has helped many people to secure employment in the travel and leisure sector. The partnership is helping the college to deliver a Government-backed scheme, Skills Support for the Unemployed (SSU); through this initiative the college has helped more than 1,000 people find work.

Liz Carlucci, business growth manager at Gateshead College, said: “This training model is unique in that it provides training in partnership with an employer, with a direct job opportunity for students at the end of it. Through our partnerships with Thomson and First Choice and Jobcentre Plus, we are delivering bespoke training that leads to meaningful employment for students.

“Congratulations must go to all five students who secured the roles as they now have an excellent opportunity to launch an exciting career in the fast-paced travel and leisure sector.”

Sue Chatfield, Head of International Resourcing at Thomson and First Choice, said: “This model of recruitment works well for us. Our partnership with Gateshead College has given us access to work-ready employees with the skills, knowledge and aptitudes to make a really positive impact on our business.”

For further information on Gateshead College courses, visit or call 0191 490 2246.