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Jet Set

Joining the Jet Set

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Featured in issue 41 – November 2019

He may teach students all about travel and tourism, but it’s not for nothing that Glen Allenby also has a strong background in hospitality.

The Level 3 course leader began his career as a head chef in Cornwall before spending a year in Switzerland, gaining ski chalet experience. He then spent 20 years running restaurants – his eponymous restaurant, Allenby’s in Halstead, Essex, and then the Round House in Thorington in Suffolk – before becoming a lecturer at City College more than 12 years ago. ‘I can offer that link and that experience,’ says Glen. ‘I tend to cover the more hospitality type course units, such as learning how to be a ski chalet host – I teach them how to cook a three-course meal, for example.’

Travel and tourism students at City College get the opportunity to visit places such as Disneyland Paris, and to go on a residential trip to Spain. Glen says: ‘They enjoy all the attractions and visit local producers and restaurants to get a really good feel for the resort.’

The department also works closely with organisations such as Norwich Airport, particularly the new International Aviation Academy. Glen says: ‘One of the new developments this year is that we are forging links with
the academy.’

And they are also working with SaxonAir, the executive jet company based at the airport, which has its own hospitality needs, as Glen explains: ‘They are dealing with first class customers who are wanting a high standard of hospitality, such as knowledge of wines.’ He follows on by hinting: ‘We are putting together a new programme which will hopefully be starting next September.’

Students on a travel and tourism course at City College can expect to wear a smart uniform for that professional look and to get lots of practical hands-on experience – this includes taking part in large scale events. ‘One of the key elements is the annual Hotel Takeover within the three Holiday Inn hotels in Norwich,’ says Glen. ‘The travel and tourism students get involved in the entertainment and gave a fantastic performance last year with the Greatest Showman inspired theme.’ But he adds: ‘They also get involved with the serving of the meal. It takes place again in March next year.’

Before all that, however, there’s something closer to home to organise, as Glen says: ‘Level 2 are going to put on an afternoon tea here in Debut Restaurant just before Christmas.’

Work experience outside of the college is a key component of the course. ‘They have to find themselves a two-week placement,’ says Glen, who adds: ‘A lot of the local employers are in the hospitality industry.’

Although travel and tourism can lead to lots of different careers, including cabin crew, resort reps and travel agents, he makes the point: ‘A lot will go into hotels as well as event management.’

Some students progress on to further study through university level courses. ‘It is really nice to see that progression,’ he says. 

Joe Mulhall, Head of Hospitality, Catering, Tourism and Aspire, adds: ‘I’m lucky and proud to live and work in Norfolk. The region is fast developing into a foodie destination, hence such a large Hotel School at City College Norwich, offering highly responsive catering, hospitality and tourism courses, that have provided and inspired young people to enjoy the region’s opportunities for growth in the tourism and hospitality sectors. The region remains an outstanding place to visit, in all seasons, and with the help and exposure from social media and television shows, people travel here from far and wide. Food tourism now includes the full range of experiences, cooking classes, producer visits, enjoying street food, discovering locals-only pubs, touring dramatic wineries, or diving into one-of-a-kind restaurants.’ 

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