“I came to Southampton Solent University (or Southampton Institute, as it was then) with the aim of owning my own airline. Having spent my school work experience with a couple of airlines, then working on check-in at Gatwick, I was convinced that the aviation industry was for me.
“I am now an intern with People and Planet, a student campaigning charity, leading one of their climate change campaigns. They offer internships annually. If any current students are interested in an internship for next year, we’ll be advertising details from April, but in the meantime, there is a bit about them on the website: http://peopleandplanet.org/careers
“It doesn’t sound the most likely career outcome for someone who originally wanted to work in one of the most carbon-intensive industries in the world. However, my course at the University actually put me in good stead for my change in career path.
“I chose to study BA (Hons) Tourism Management as it promised an understanding of the whole industry (not just airlines) and the option to focus on marketing. This struck me as a perfect combination for where I wanted to go and I was proved right: I was offered a job with the Tourist Board before I even received my results.
“After a year or so of working on online marketing projects and various other tasks, I was having second thoughts about my beloved industry and, having already turned down a lucrative job with First Choice Holidays, I knew something had to change. I headed out for a bit of travel and soul-searching and while I was away I slowly began to realise that I didn’t quite agree with some elements of what I was being asked to do. I could recall supporting big businesses in the marketing of their products at the expense of the small family-run businesses which make up the life-blood of the industry. This was when I realised that I had a conscience.
“I began volunteering with a small environmental consultancy in Southampton and was lucky enough to be offered a job there. I was again supporting businesses, but this time to make them more sustainable and reduce their impact on the environment. This was good, but didn’t go far enough, so I headed back to the family home in order to work with Friends of the Earth. I was lucky enough to be taken on as a volunteer by the Food and Farming team, helping out with anything and everything that needed doing: from writing policy briefings to stuffing envelopes. I learnt alot about the NGO sector and national campaigning organisations and I quickly realised that the marketing skills I had learnt at the University were invaluable for campaigning.”