Case study

Tour manager — Will Worthington

Will studied BSc Geography at the University of Leicester and completed the Gapforce Expedition Leader Training Course. He now works for the gap year provider as an expedition leader

How did you get your job?

After passing the training course with merit, I was offered a job managing overseas trips for those looking to embark on a gap year.

What's a typical day like as a tour manager?

Early starts, having to be constantly alert to the whereabouts and wellbeing of your group, complications to the smooth running of your trip can come from any quarter - however, this is all in a day's work as a tour manager.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I love travel and adventure, plain and simple. What's really satisfying is to share that with others, especially those who are getting to see new places and experiencing different parts of the world for the first time. I enjoy seeing the same sense of wonder on other people's faces, which lets you know that you're doing a good job.

What are the challenges?

It's definitely a 24-hour job. You have to be on form both day and night in order to deal with any problems that might arise. As the first to wake and the last to go to bed, you always have to present a cool, unflappable appearance and make decisions on anything as if it comes naturally to you. After weeks on the go, this can be pretty wearing.

In what way is your degree relevant?

I can talk with reasonable confidence about the nature and processes of most environments - sharing facts that help to illustrate and bring to life the physical surroundings.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

With each expedition managed you gain lessons and learning points that hone your skill as a leader. I'm still early on in the process, but hope to progress to working with scientifically focused expeditions - travelling to remote corners of the planet to collect data on the natural world.

How do I get into tour management?

Make sure you get qualified. In the UK, the minimum qualifications are usually the British Mountaineering Council's (BMC) Summer Mountain Leader Award and the QA Level 2 Award in Activity First Aid (RQF).

As with most roles, experience is key. Having an outdoors background is a must, and you should be able to show that you've been involved in a range of expeditions, even if that's just in a participatory rather than managerial role.

It's a difficult industry to enter without plenty of experience. Gapforce's training programme offers a route in to tour management where you can acquire all the skills you need along with the added benefit of work - you get to lead trips if you get a good grade in training. This is really valuable as you can add the all-important work experience to your CV, which opens the door to other opportunities.

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