At 22 years of age, her drive and enthusiasm had already propelled Allison through a variety of educational experiences and tourism-related jobs. However, a life changing opportunity came with the discovery of OTEC, the Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC) and the Tourism Career for Youth (TYC) program, offered through Georgian College in her hometown of Barrie, Ontario.
The TYC program, now commonly known as the Ready to Work (RTW) program, is a national youth internship program, which helps to prepare people for jobs in the tourism industry. The program follows emerit training, as put forward by the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council and its provincial and territorial partners. It features a mix of classroom and on-the-job training, which provides people with the skills, knowledge, attitudes and experience necessary for long-term stable employment in tourism – one of Canada’s fastest growing industries.
“The TCY program has confirmed all of my thoughts and ideas, that a career in tourism holds endless possibilities. It has given me the confidence to pursue my goals and drives home a message, that any level of success is possible in tourism.”
For now, Allison’s journey is taking shape with the tourism skills she’s building here in Canada – skills acquired working in food services with a Barrie catering company, along with team skills acquired working on both the maintenance crew and on the dining staff at an international children’s camp in Haliburton. However, a Travel and Tourism College Diploma from the Toronto School of Business will mean she can work in a travel agency almost anywhere in the world – a long way from Barrie’s small dot on the global map.
Eventually Allison hopes to settle down, working behind the scenes with a team in a leading edge eco/adventure tour company. When asked where that may be, she replies “They say home is where the heart is.” The way she says it, there’s no doubt this new face in the tourism industry has the heart to discover exactly where in the world that place might be.
Allison Pitcher, Student, Ready To Work, Georgian College, Barrie, Ontario