One of the great things about Travel Counsellors is that our model is completely accessible to everyone – regardless of whether you have any previous experience in the travel industry.
Our Travel Academy is expertly designed for people who have never worked in travel before. We caught up with three of our recent Travel Academy joiners to highlight the variety of different backgrounds our Travel Counsellors come from and to find out why they decided to take the plunge and take their careers in a new direction.
Meet ex-government lawyer, Ruth Inglis
“I’ve been a government lawyer for over half my life. I joined the Scottish Government in 1997. I’ve had a really varied career working across most policy areas, including secondments to the Scottish Parliament as well as the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service. While I loved the law and being at the forefront of the development of new laws, my favourite part has been managing, coaching, and mentoring staff as well as leading large teams.”
Hi Ruth. What prompted you to change careers and to become a Travel Counsellor?
Like for many people, midlife (and all that it entails) has been a very challenging time. For quite some time, I didn’t have a clue what was happening to me! I just thought I was going a little bit mad! It was only after watching programmes like Davina McCall’s “Sex, Myths and the Menopause” that I realised there was an explanation for the really debilitating symptoms I’d been experiencing such as brain fog, migraines, severe anxiety, memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, and a complete inability to make any kind of decision (large or small).
But as if these symptoms weren’t bad enough in themselves, it was the downward spiral in my self-confidence that followed which made me feel the need to take a step back from my career and take a career break. My career break has given me the time to address these debilitating symptoms and get back to my old self. It has also given me the head space to reflect on how I want the next chapter of my life to look. I absolutely live and breathe travel, and I knew I wanted travel to feature in a big way going forward; not just travelling myself but helping bring other people’s travel dreams to life too.
Did you explore other franchise opportunities?
I looked at other franchise opportunities and did my due diligence. However, it was award-winning Travel Counsellors that I kept coming back to as it just seemed such a fantastic brand.
It was apparent to me at the outset from doing my own research and then chatting to several Travel Counsellors prior to starting my induction that it was a real community; a community of people with a shared passion for travel but who really care, not just about their clients, but about each other too.
This was important to me as you can have as many awards as you like, but if there is not this shared endeavour and sense of community then it doesn’t necessarily work.
Travel Counsellors stood out to me because I think it probably has it all – a global, multi-award winning company with leading-edge technology and a community of like-minded people who care about the products they sell - and most importantly, the people they sell them to.
How did you find the induction process?
The induction process was fantastic, and I felt fully supported throughout. Don’t get me wrong, those first few weeks were intense and there will be continuous training for a while to come. However, having other new Travel Counsellors to chat with, as well as the trainers and access to a mentor, meant that most bases were covered. In addition, there are so many opportunities to mingle with local franchisees as well as the wider community that it never really feels like you’re alone as a self-employed homeworker.
A change in the landscape for Garry
Next up is Garry Dicks, who traded in his landscaping business to step into the world of travel.
“I ran my own landscaping business since leaving agricultural college in 1996. I managed a large estate called Glebe House. The estate had been very neglected by the previous owner, and I made a business plan for the estate to utilise the land better. I ended up bringing in farm animals and producing free-range meat to sell. I set up a catering business off the back of that but had to shut it down due to the pandemic. However, I continued to look after the estate.”
Hello, Garry. Why did you decide to trade in the business to become a Travel Counsellor?
Reaching 50 years old, the winters were becoming harder. I was looking at other work I could do, so looked at what I love – which is travel. Back in March, my wife and I rang a lady who booked our honeymoon 14 years ago as we wanted to arrange a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. After getting off the phone, I said to my wife that I’d love to organise holidays and be in the travel industry. That led me to look at opportunities, and Travel Counsellors won me over.
Why did you choose Travel Counsellors?
Out of all the travel franchises I looked at, Travel Counsellors was the best. It was far more professional. I was required to submit a business plan and was vetted to see if I would be right for the business. The New Franchise team were very friendly, and the duty of care was amazing throughout.
From IT to TC
Last up is Jason Savage, who had a long career in law before making a move to an IT software company.
“I worked in the legal industry as a barrister’s clerk for nearly 25 years. For the last five years, I worked as an account and new business manager for an IT software company supplying to barristers’ chambers.”
Why did you decide to switch careers, Jason?
I’ve always enjoyed putting together holidays and weekends away for friends and family, having recently researched and built our own family trip to Orlando. Due to other personal circumstances, I also wanted more of a work-life balance, so decided to take the chance.
Did you explore other franchise opportunities?
Yes, I looked at two or three other franchises, but Travel Counsellors was the most professional. Everyone I spoke to, from the New Franchise team to existing business owners, was so friendly. I also felt like Travel Counsellors would provide the most amount of support for someone new to the travel industry.
How did you find the induction?
It was very daunting to begin with and there is a steep learning curve, but the team who held the training made you feel at ease. By the end, I was building multi-centre trips with lounges, flights, transfers, accommodation, and attractions.
What are you most looking forward to about being a Travel Counsellor?
I enjoy speaking to people and getting to know them. I’m looking forward to the sense of accomplishment when someone has been on a trip that I’ve arranged, and hopefully receiving great feedback because I’ve listened to them and made their dream holiday a reality.
Is a career change on the horizon? Would you like the freedom and flexibility to be your own boss? Join Travel Counsellors and have the autonomy to build your business, your way – whatever your background. Our 2024 inductions are already open, so why not embark on an exciting new venture? Get in touch with our Franchise Recruitment team for an informal chat about your experience.