The Tourism Society Cymru in partnership with the Next Tourism Generation (NTG) Project partner, @CardiffMet came together to plan and create a student competition.

Calls went out inviting students from colleges and universities across Wales to pitch their best experiences of industry engagement, digital innovation and sustainable tourism. The aim of the competition was to help deliver NTG goals which are to enhance:

  •  Collaboration between industry and education
  •  Integration of digital and sustainability skills in education
  •  Promotion of careers in tourism and hospitality

Competition judges as well as higher education (HE) and further education (FE) were asked for their feedback once the competition had finished. The NTG Wales team also came together to reflect on the process. This blog presents a bite sized lessons learnt and best practices of the journey.

Preparation of Competition Guidelines, Marking Scheme and Entry Criteria

Once the competition was agreed with Tourism Society Cymru in line with mutual objectives, the next point of call was to develop award categories, entry guidelines, marking criteria and entry forms. As this was an inaugural event, these tasks were time intensive. Inspiration for building these competition foundations were drawn from UK competitions (ABTA and Institute of Hospitality) and a Cardiff Met “Living CV” video module. All documents were provided online for students to enter.

The competition encouraged students to enter through the medium of Welsh or English. This was the first ever tourism student competition in the UK that enabled participants to enter in Welsh. The promotion of Welsh is crucial culturally for future generations in Wales.

Student entries for the competition required a short video (maximum 3 minutes) and a written submission (maximum 500 words) about their skills, knowledge and innovativeness in the chosen category. Interestingly, judges enjoyed assessing the videos, whereas FE and HE were not so enthusiastic.

“I found the experience very rewarding to see young people showing such clarity in what they hope to achieve.” – Jonathan Jones, Tourism Society Cymru

“The video probably needs to be more about supporting the application – Video is what put students off!” – University lecturer

Preparation of Competition Guidelines, Marking Scheme and Entry Criteria

All important dates and deadlines were set before the competition launched. The competition opened in January and was due to close in March 2020. The deadline for entries was extended for a fortnight to maximise digital innovation entries, although none were received.

On reflection it is crucial to consult many educational providers on when is the most optimum time to hold the competition. It is important to note that the best time window may vary between different providers. A lesson learnt in Wales is that a longer and earlier competition window (mid-September to mid-January) would suit both HE and FE illustrated in the quotes below.

“Start of academic year through until mid-November when students have more time.” – University lecturer

“Just after October half term… timing of the application process was ideal.” Sharon Jones, Programme Leader Travel and Tourism at Coleg Menai

Maximising Stakeholder Engagement

To boost stakeholder engagement in the competition, industry professionals were invited to volunteer their time to judge competition entries. It was challenging to know how many judges to appoint in each award category as the number of competition entries could not be estimated!

Thirty judges were appointed including experts from digital marketing, sustainable tourism and other industry sectors – several were native Welsh speakers. Feedback from judges post-competition was positive. For example, judges were honoured to be asked and the judging criteria was considered easy to interpret. Most judges marked 3 entries but they agreed that 5-10 entries would be reasonable to mark in a week.

To further enhance stakeholder engagement, the #NTG2020 Student Competition sought sponsorship from tourism and hospitality companies. Bluestone Resort in Pembrokeshire, well-known for its sustainability programme, was the sponsor of the prizes. Bluestone donated £100 Amazon voucher to each winner. This sponsorship heightened the profile of the competition on social media and the prizes made the competition more attractive to enter.

A high-profile awards ceremony for students and stakeholders was planned to reward everyone and increase networking between industry and education. Due to COVID-19, regrettably the celebration has been postponed. The ceremony was also going to fundraise for the Family Holiday Association. Industry sponsors donated raffle prizes to help with their work here in Wales – because a little bit of sunshine goes a long way for a struggling family.

Promoting the Competition on Social Media

The twitter campaign promoted the competition throughout the application process, introduced the judges and announced winners. The campaign had over 700 retweets and likes on Twitter and was also promoted on LinkedIn.

Pre and post competition press releases were created, translated into Welsh and disseminated via the media. The competition winners featured in a Welsh and a UK online newspaper. However, post competition feedback recommended that more could be done to maximise engagement and promotion online.

Maximising Student Participation

Every effort was made to contact universities and colleges delivering courses related to tourism and hospitality to promote the competition. This process was via email; followed up by phone, the posting of colourful bilingual posters to course representatives and a briefing PowerPoint for students. As an inaugural competition, this was a time-consuming process to identify relevant educational providers and key contacts.

Every student who entered the competition was sent feedback from their judges. Comments were in depth and encouraging and aimed to inspire continued enthusiasm for their careers in tourism. This expert guidance was received well by educators:

“Very useful feedback, both positive and constructive.” – Sharon Jones, Programme Leader Travel and Tourism at Coleg Menai

The competition successfully awarded four students with certificates. Budding chef, Evan Davies, won the Industry Engagement award and Jenna O’Brien won the Sustainable Tourism award for her inspiring enthusiasm. Lauren Boyce of University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Amy May Evans from Gower College were both Highly Commended for their excellent applications.

Recommendations for Future Competitions

  • Tourism student competition is a great way to encourage collaboration between industry and education, to highlight best practices in the delivery of digital and sustainability skills and promote careers in tourism and hospitality.
  •  Consulting educational providers in the design of the competition is important.
  •  Achieving partnerships and/or sponsors and appointing industry judges maximises stakeholder engagement.
  •  Competitions can be delivered with a minimal budget but it is important to consider administrative demands.
  •  Consider a longer competition window and more promotion on social media to maximise student participation.
  •  Award ceremonies are popular and could be combined with a national and/or international tourism event e.g. Wales Tourism Week or UNWTO World Tourism Day.
  •  Plan to sustain the competition in the longer-term post-project timeline if applicable.
  •  Don’t try and re-invent the wheel, draw on existing competitions and educational resources!

Wales hopes to hold an NTG 2021 but this is challenged by the current crisis. #NTG2020 was welcomed and future competitions would continue to provide a platform to showcase best practices and the future generation of the Welsh tourism industry.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Peter has published a new article: EDHEC and EURECOM Sign Strategic Alliance yesterday
FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 2 days ago

Women Empowerment: How Far Have We Come in Recent Years?: Here in the UK, the past year has been difficult for ever…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page