Sheffield College alumni inspire students to fly high

Two Sheffield College alumni have shared their industry expertise with air cabin, aviation and travel and tourism students to inspire them to aim high in their careers.

Friday, 1st June 2018, 12:01 pm
Updated Friday, 1st June 2018, 12:07 pm

Jorja Rhodes, 20, works for British Airways, and Lillie Taylor, 19, works for Virgin Atlantic. Jorja and Lillie secured cabin crew jobs.

Jorja completed the City and Guilds Air Cabin Crew Diploma in her first year and then joined Lillie on the BTEC Extended Diploma in Travel and Tourism at the College for the following two years, with both gaining distinctions. They both left the College last year.

Both high flyers returned to talk to current students completing Air Cabin Crew, Aviation Operations, and Travel and Tourism qualifications, about their career journey. Their jobs involve international travel to countries including Africa, America, Australia, Singapore and South Africa.

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Alison Chapman, Aviation Lecturer, The Sheffield College, who previously worked at Virgin Atlantic for 19 years before moving into teaching, said: “It’s fantastic to see our students succeed in their careers and very inspirational for our current learners. Jorja and Lillie were exemplary during their time at the College and a pleasure to teach.”

Lillie said: “I am loving every minute of my flying career, which began at The Sheffield College. I knew from an early age that I wanted to be cabin crew and so after leaving school, I applied for the Travel and Tourism Level 3 course. During my second year, we were given the opportunity to study air cabin crew. I loved it and knew that this was meant for me.”

She added: “The course was amazing - from doing theory work in the classroom to practicals – and included residential visits overseas where we gained experience working with the public. The tutors all came from different industry backgrounds, which included aviation and travel, and were very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.”

Lillie continued: “After gaining distinctions throughout, I then left college and joined Camp America for three months travelling to New York and across the USA. I then applied to a couple of airlines - Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook - and was offered both positions! I decided to opt for Virgin Atlantic as this was my preferred choice.”

Jorja said: I loved my time at the College. I made amazing friends and got through the coursework, managing to get distinctions at the end of it. Going to college isn’t a requirement for the job, however it helped my confidence levels and enabled me to learn more about the industry and the job.”

She added: “I have been in my current role almost a year and I’m still thoroughly enjoying it! The highlights have been travelling to Singapore and Sydney. Cape Town is another favourite as well as, practically, living in America for my first few months. The job has so many perks I would recommend anyone who has a love of travelling to give it a go!”

David Morris, Travel and Tourism Lecturer, The Sheffield College, added: “Jorja and Lillie really do deserve every success that comes their way. All the staff in Travel and Tourism are very proud of them and would like to think that, hopefully, we have contributed in some small way.”

The talk was held at the College’s Silver Plate Restaurant at City campus on Granville Road on Wednesday, May 16th. For more information on courses starting this September, visit or call 0114 2602600.