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Tourism and Heritage

  • Overview of the sector

    The tourism industry in the UK employs 3.1 million people and is the UK's third largest employer accounting for 9.5% of total employment. 

  • Graduate areas of work include:

    Leadership and Management e.g. at a travel company, hotel, agency, heritage site or other attraction; managing operations, budgets and staff.

    Education e.g. developing educational outreach activities, talks and workshops and learning resources particularly in relation to the heritage sector.

    Marketing e.g. promoting a particular attraction or site, hotel or facility.

    Customer Service e.g. providing a positive customer experience by interacting and communicating with customers/tourists/user groups.

    Heritage Preservation e.g. Archivist, Conservator, Curator. Acquiring, developing, maintaining, conserving and interpreting artefacts, art works, documents and records.

    Other areas include Sales, Income generation, Volunteer Management, Event Management.

  • What do I need to gain graduate employment?

    The Person:

    You need to be passionate: about the sector, about the heritage site, attraction or objects you are involved with.  You will need excellent people skills: interacting with customers and user groups is key to this sector. For the tourism sector language skills will always be useful in some roles coupled with business skills and commercial awareness. Additional specialist skills are required for most roles within the Heritage sector.


    Each role and area of work is different. For some roles building relevant experience is really important. This is particularly important for management roles within travel agencies, hotels, or tourist information centres. As an undergraduate you should seek to acquire sales and hospitality industry experience through part time work, consider exchange and study abroad programmes and try to develop at least a basic knowledge of other languages.

    A relevant degree may give you a slight advantage but any degree where you develop some management and business skills will be useful.  

    For roles within the heritage sector a relevant degree is usually required with most entrants having completed further study and often having significant relevant experience as well. 


    Graduate Schemes and Internships

    • TUI Group– International Graduate leadership programme and a Student Placement Scheme. Also has IT and Finance streams
    • Thomas Cook - offer a Future Leaders Graduate programme
    • Expedia UK– Graduate and Internship opportunities
    • British Airways– offer a number of different graduate roles
    • Merlin Entertainments– 2 year graduate programme 

    Typical student jobs in the hospitality sector such as bar work, waiting tables and even shop jobs with their focus on customer service and sales is a good grounding for a future career in tourism. 

    For volunteering experience within the heritage sector-



  • Key Employers
  • Local/ Northern Ireland Opportunities

    On Campus resources–

    • MyFuture– paid and voluntary positions advertised

    Advertised roles 

    • Check local job search websites.
    • Check vacancy pages on tourism and heritage websites.
    • Follow companies and organisations on Facebook and twitter and sign up for their newsletters.

    Unadvertised roles & networking

    • Volunteer to get included on internal communications.
    • Let previous volunteering positions know you’re job hunting.
    • Connect with groups on LinkedIn.
    • Contact employers, industry associations and tourism bodies to show interest.

    Northern Ireland Specific (websites with paid and volunteering opportunities)

    Job search websites specific to Northern Ireland include:

  • UK and global opportunities

    On Campus resources–

    • ‘Going Global’ – MyFuture/Jobs/Going Global – database of jobs and internships, key employers and country guides
    • Opportunities to internationalise your degree (Erasmus, Study USA, EVS, INTO China) Advertised on MyFuture.
    • Graduate Recruitment & Placement Fair– annual showcase of NI and international firms with vacancies

    For further information and jobs in these sectors see-


  • Further Reading and Information

    We have a number of reference materials available in the Careers and Employability Information Area in the Student Guidance Centre as well as some online resources listed below.

    Prospects industry insights and Gradireland sector career guides will help you to search for employment in this employment sector.

    Prospects Job Sectors

    Gradireland Career Sector Guides

    The Job Crowd

    We have lots of really useful information resources in a variety of formats available in MyFuture and the Student Guidance Centre Hub which includes WI-FI, FREE TEA and COFFEE.

    This information is obtained from a variety of sources, including the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS), Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS), Prospects, Gradireland and relevant professional organisations and other appropriate resources, as available.

    We endeavour to ensure that our online resources are current and contain relevant information. However, we cannot accept responsibility for the contents of external websites.