Our colleague Scott has kindly taken the time to tell us more about his childcare career at TUI.
‘In 2009 I made the hardest decision of my life, I was 20 years old and looking for something new. I wanted adventure, to see the world but also continue with my passion of working with children. 7 years later I think the word adventure is an understatement.
I applied online and 2 months after I had somehow got through the interview, I was so nervous but they had spotted something in me. I completed my weeks training, said goodbye to my crying Mum and Sister (very embarrassing) and headed to Mallorca. Everything I would need for 6 months packed into 2 cases weighing 40kg. It was most definitely hitting 50kg!! The amount of unnecessary stuff I had was ridiculous coats, hoodies, jeans, toiletries to last for years. I soon found out they have shops abroad plus the extra clothes just in case it was +30 degrees nearly all season. All my other possessions I owned left in a loft which is where they have remained, funny how quickly things lose their importance when you are having fun. Who needs a DVD collection when you could be scuba diving on your day off?
That first season in Mallorca I met the most amazing lifelong friends, saw Pirates of Mallorca and went to Magaluf a few times. I also quickly learnt a lot about myself, I have always been cautious and quiet at first but willing to have a go. I knew working with children was something I could do, I’m good at that I thought, but standing on stage and dancing not a chance! Let alone speaking!! My manager supported me and gave me training and with a little push in the right direction I was doing welcome meetings and mini discos. My confidence had grown so much I even started to ask to use the microphone. I loved it, seeing all the families having a fantastic time on holiday plus the feedback they give you, you turn into a mini celebrity constantly having photos with families for their holiday memories. Before, I had always seen working as something you have to do to pay the bills. It is true the hours are long but I loved it, so much fun, every day was different with a new challenge to face and my day off was no longer watching repeats of TV programmes as it rained outside. No let’s go on an adventure or just chill on the beach with a cocktail and send pictures to my friends and family in the UK.
At the end of the season I knew I wanted more of this lifestyle and my manager spoke about doing a ski season. I have never even been on a mountain let alone skiing. I left the flip flops and shorts in the loft and kept the coat and hoodies, finally a reason to use them. As the coach reached the top of the mountain and a helicopter flew below us I knew I was in for another special season overseas. Midway through the season my performance got recognition and I was asked if I would like to look at furthering my career. I have always been keen to better myself and face new challenges but I never thought I would be ready for promotion, once again the company had seen something in me. I had to do a work book to support my progression then pass an interview. That summer I was Children Rep in Charge, I had my own small childcare team in Ibiza! I had come so far already. I had a successful summer hitting all my targets plus seeing Dizzie Rascal, David Guetta, Calvin Harris and watching the 2nd best sunset after Hawaii nearly everyday. The following year I was given the opportunity of opening the newly built 5-star hotel in Kos, they were literally painting the walls still as we were welcoming the first guests. Stay calm I thought everything will be alright, I had a much larger team plus a crèche to look after as well. Once again TUI had looked at my skill set and given me the opportunity to further my career. I also visited Nisyros island and stood in the middle of a volcano!!
Over the next few seasons I continued to grow and now started my steps to moving towards Childcare Team Leader. I sat down with my line manager and put together a plan which outlined what I needed to develop on and what I was good at. Then I started the step into programme which is a brilliant training tool the company has created so that you can develop into a successful manager. It supports you in how to deal with difficult situations as well as learning more about who you are and the style of manager you might be, plus how this will impact positively or negatively on your team. Finally, I had to do a presentation of how I was going to impact my team in the first 6 weeks of season. I only had 10 minutes to speak, I had gone from being unable to speak for more than 30 seconds at a welcome speech to now reducing all I wanted to say down to 10 minutes! It ended up being 12 minutes and felt like I had only been stood there for 2. That summer I was given the region of Antalya in Turkey to be the Childcare Team Leader. It was only a few years ago I was a nervous wreck trying to do the cha cha slide backwards whilst dressed as a clown! Now I was smartly dressed, confident that I had been given the right guidance and tools to succeed.
The following year I went to Mainland Spain. I now had to fly to and from work to see my kids club in Costa del Sol. I felt so much responsibility but I had gained the tools and experience to manage my time effectively to ensure I could support all my team but still go and visit Barcelona, see the football team play at the Nou Camp after having a stadium tour. It is important I continue on my adventures and do as much as I can alongside a job I love. Work hard, play hard they say and that’s what I have always tried to do. I went for Childcare Team Manager, the top position for childcare overseas that summer and after my interview in November they rung me whilst I was on holiday in Jamaica (company concessions) to tell me I was successful. I was going back to manage the whole of turkey, I had 9 kids clubs, 2 creches and a team of 40 staff covering an area larger than England.
So I’ve learnt a lot about myself on my journey through TUI and developed further than I ever thought possible. I have spoken in front of over 400 people. Created training scripts and continue to help train and develop my staff in the hope they will better themselves and maybe take the journey I have been on. And yes, sometimes I still put my kids club t-shirt on and deliver one of our fantastic sessions.
What next for me? Well there is still a world of opportunities with TUI. I still love working with children but enjoy developing and identifying the next talent for TUI.
I can’t see this adventure ending any time soon.’