John Hays helps East Durham College open travel agency

Hays Independence Group founder and director, John Hays with East Durham College students
Hays Independence Group founder and director, John Hays with East Durham College students

THE staff at a new travel agency are looking more youthful than you might expect.

For the employees at EDC Travel are all students of East Durham College, in Willerby Grove, Peterlee.

Hays Independence Group founder and director, John Hays was on hand to help open the college’s very own travel agency.

At an event attended by staff, students and their families, featuring a performance by The Academy at Shotton Hall’s calypso band, Mr Hays cut the ribbon on the new EDC Travel store.

EDC Travel is a fully ABTA Bonded travel agency set up by the college in partnership with the Hays Independence Group.

The store will be managed by Julie Heath who has great experience in the travel industry having worked for Thomson for 20 years, with a number of those years in the role of assistant manager.

But importantly, EDC Travel will also be staffed by the college’s travel & tourism students, with the aim that the store will provide the students with valuable work experience, which will help them learn the necessary skills to get ahead in the industry.

Students at the college’s Peter Jones Enterprise Academy will also benefit as they will assist in the running and marketing of the shop to gain experience about how a real commercial business is set up and ran.

College lecturer in travel & tourism Mandy Sert said: “EDC Travel will provide students with the opportunity to develop the three most important skills required for successful employment in the industry – the ability to sell, the ability to provide good customer service and great product knowledge.”

Mr Hays said he was proud of the new partnership that will enable the college students to develop key skills and gain hands-on experience in the travel industry.

He added: “The travel industry is a fun and rewarding environment to work in, I have been hooked since 1980, and I wish EDC Travel the best of luck!”