Being a student working on the Shaping Newport project

Olivia Cortes Watson

By Olivia Cortes Watson, college industry placement

Born in Spain in 2000, I moved to the Isle of Wight when I was three. I went to Dover Park Primary School in Ryde and then Ryde Academy to where I completed my GCSEs. Throughout my education I always knew that the travel and tourism industry interested me.

After I finished my exams I went on to study travel and tourism at the Isle of Wight college. I am now in my last year to achieve my level three diploma. This year we had to start a one day a week work experience placement which would span the academic year. I was determined to find the best option suited to me and luckily I found Thirty High Street in Newport. The Shaping Newport project interested me greatly, the college then organised my work placement. I started on the 4th October which I was extremely pleased with and excited. I then learnt about the Shaping Newport project on my first day.

My role is to meet and greet the tourists that come off coach tours to Newport, and take them to the minster where they will have a historic tour. I am really excited about this as we are improving the tourists experience when visiting the Island. 

I have finished my first month of work experience here, and I am most definitely enjoying it. Not only have I gained confidence but the environment at the Isle of Wight Council is very friendly. I love meeting the tourists when they get off the coach and speaking to them. I also love seeing their interest in the history of the St Thomas Minster, at the heart of Newport.

As I live on the Island I was worried I wasn’t going to have a good work placement, I didnt want to go to a hotel or holiday park. I wanted something beneficial for me and unique. The Isle of Wight Regeneration Shaping Newport project is exactly that. I’m so happy that I have been given the opportunity to have my placement here. 

This is the start to my career, as in summer 2020 I shall be working abroad as an activities rep with different people. This project is great for me as I am learning so much in this industry as well as building my confidence to speak to new people. I can’t wait for the future and to learn much more and improve Newport as part of the Shaping Newport project team.