Lauren Deegan’s career has got off to a flying start after the University of Northampton graduate secured a job at an international airport.
Shortly after graduating from her International Tourism Management course, Lauren was appointed PR Assistant within the busy public relations department at Belfast International Airport, in her native Northern Ireland. The skills and confidence she developed during her time at the University means the sky’s the limit for ambitious Lauren.
“I really found that the University is for students who want to learn and progress – during my studies I achieved the confidence to say ‘I can do that’ and the skills to then ‘do it’,” she said. “I loved my time at the University of Northampton and obtaining a degree in International Tourism Management will be imperative when I want to go for promotion or jobs in other sectors. The tourism industry is so varied, but my degree will cover all areas that I might consider.
“Ultimately, I would love to become the managing director of Belfast International Airport.
“But in the next five years I hope to achieve promotion to manager level and following that I would like to progress to a director’s role in either PR or business development here at the airport.”
For now, though, Lauren is busy learning the ropes of what is a busy and exciting new role. She said: “My key responsibilities include working with schools, overseeing our charitable donations, co-ordinating advertising and trade communication and running the marketing activity for airlines, tour operators, the airport and route launches. No two days are ever the same and I meet so many different and interesting people on a daily basis.
“The marketing skills I gained are very important to my current job – for example, I receive regular calls about advertising and I have to establish what’s beneficial and what’s not, while keeping to a budget.”
Undergraduates at the University are encouraged to seek work placements to bolster their career prospects – a move which has helped the institution achieve a top-five ranking for student employability*. Lauren cannot stress enough the importance of combining study with a work placement.
“It is so important to gain as much experience wherever you can, as this will help you secure that first job,” said Lauren, who achieved a Foundation Degree in Hospitality, Travel and Tourism at South Eastern Regional College in Northern Ireland, before topping up to a full degree at Northampton.
“During my time at college I shadowed a director at the airport, which then led to me securing a four-month placement there in 2014. So that experience really helped me to stand out from other job applicants, and the University is great in encouraging students to get out there and gain real-world experience.”
* The University of Northampton is ranked fourth in the UK for student employability. Source: HESA Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2013/14. July 2015, compared to full university status HEI’s in England, with a sample size over 1,000 students, for full time study first Undergraduate degree leavers.