Five lessons from the current Grads

Over the past couple of months, we’ve been helping out with recruitment for the Class of 2014 TUI Grads. Naturally, we all got a little nostalgic and quickly realised how far we’ve come in 10 months, and the sheer amount that we have learnt (as well as recalling a few work socials and ski trips).

So we thought it best to share a bit of this knowledge and put out our top 5 lessons, both for the lucky newbies who’ll be starting in September and to anyone who just wants a bit more of an insight as to what the grad scheme has to offer.

Lesson 1: Be open-minded

It’s easy to come into the scheme with a bit of a preconception how the business will be, what departments you might like, or which areas you’re keen to avoid. Although there is absolutely no harm in having an idea of what interests you or where you’d like to end up, it’s best to stay open minded.

Within our intake, we ranged from one person who always knew what their dream department would be and others who had very little idea (i.e. none) about exactly what they wanted to do.This is where the rotational nature of the scheme has come into play, allowing us to be part of a huge variety of departments and helping us figure out where we might fit.

So whether you know that your heart lies with the airline or have no idea whether you’re a trader or a tech geek, remain open-minded and be ready to be surprised.

Lesson 2: Be curious

We all found it easy to fall into the trap of not wanting to look like the newbie and thus we might keep questions to ourselves, particularly in the first few weeks. It’s important to put this aside quickly – we move around the business a lot, encounter new people and new acronyms weekly, and work in areas which we had little or no prior knowledge about. So, ask questions, even the ‘silly’ ones, be curious, and take an interest in what’s going on around the business.

Lynsey for example, was lucky enough to find herself sat in the OC (the operational hub of the airline here in Wigmore), so made sure to keep an ear out as to what was going on around her and learn about the unique roles that are vital in keeping the airline running smoothly and efficiently.

Lesson 3: Be challenged

Don’t shy away from work or projects that look daunting. We all have our natural strengths and we all have our development areas, and it’s only natural that we lean towards experiences where we get to showcase our abilities and crack on to produce an excellent bit of work. However, that’s really not in the nature of things on the grad scheme…

The emphasis is on development, and it only really works if you find yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time and accept the challenges that may make you want to run away at first glance. For example, I remember telling our HR manager that I’m not the strongest with numbers and next thing I know, I’ve been placed in Yield and Trading dealing with numbers, numbers and then some more numbers. Oddly enough, it’s the best thing that could have been thrown my way, and I took a million and one lessons away from those 3 months.

Lesson 4: Be realistic

I think we would all agree between us that we have had days thinking “I LOVE THIS JOB” and others thinking “What on earth is going on?”. We were warned about this roller-coaster on our first day, but when you’re having a bit of a down day it’s easy to forget that this happens to the best of us, and realistically it’s a pretty standard part of working life.

At times like this, it’s best to call on your fellow grads and maybe grab a chocolate muffin. It’s a given that they’ll have felt the same at some point, so advice is always nearby. Furthermore, all of us were assigned a mentor, as well as a buddy (a grad from the year above), meaning we’ve always had someone to talk to about how our placements are going or to get some advice.

Lesson 5: Be involved

Getting stuck in from day one is important: go along to work socials, build relationships with your teams, utilize your networks and get to know people. Not only does it make work more enjoyable, but it’s 100 times easier to ask people for help, advice or collaboration if you’ve already met them!

Most importantly, I don’t think we can underestimate how central we have been to each others’ experience. Having a ready-made network of fellow grads, both in our own intake and those before us, makes a huge difference to our time at TUI, both socially and professionally. It’s great to have such a variety of contacts from early on, and it has also provided a strong support network and a group of genuine friends. So, when one of us is having the aforementioned downs there’s always a mate nearby to go for lunch or a coffee.

There are plenty more pearls of wisdom which we could all call on to share, and we could talk for hours about our favourite placements, best nights out, and biggest achievements. So, we look forward to sharing these with the newbies and passing over the flame come September!

Laura Howard (UK&I Commercial Graduate)

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