For the 2nd year running, students took part in a work placement project in Italy, as part of the Opportunities to Work & Learn in Europe Erasmus+ KA1 project. Following a rigorous application and interview process, 16 students from Travel & Tourism, Business and Hospitality & Catering departed England for their two week, work placement opportunity.

This year, the experience enabled students to experience even more of the opportunities Italy has to offer, being based across three separate locations. Students started their visit in Sorrento, where they enjoyed a boat ride along the Amalfi coast, ate some of the world’s best pizza and visited the famous city of Pompeii to top off their cultural experience.

They then moved north to the Vasto region of Italy where they arrived at their own private villa, complete with outdoor swimming pool, BBQ area and a stunning view down the coast.  Students planned and organised all meals for the group, with each group creating a theme to base their food on, from American pool party to around the world in one day the students worked really hard to create an amazing atmosphere on their day.  All groups contained students from all three courses so communication, budgeting and skill utilisation was key to the successful events. 

As the villa was being used to host a wedding during the middle weekend of their stay, students decamped, following a thorough and extensive clean of the villa that impressed the owners so much the students were nearly all employed to do this after every event, and moved down the coast to the stunning town of Vieste.  There, they enjoyed another breath-taking boat trip to visit the sea caves and have a stay on a remote beach before hotfooting it back to the hotel to watch England thrash Panama 6-0 in the World Cup game, where even if the residents were unaware of the score our students kept them up-to-date with their celebratory cheers.  The following day they visited the town’s food markets where all the local produce was available to try.  A very enjoyable time was spent there tasting everything in sight which gave the catering students a better understanding of the food of the region and how they could best use the ingredients in their next culinary challenge.

Back on the road again, they headed back to the villa, but not before a stop off to visit one of Italy’s Michelin starred restaurants, La Bandiera, where the Hospitality & Catering students were in their element. Travel & Tourism students were also able to understand that knowing the region and all the highlights a place has to offer is the best to way to promote it most effectively. Business students analysed the marketing, value added and unique business opportunity that the restaurant has to offer.

All this cultural and theme night experience was the preparation events for the final event where the students had to plan, resource, organise and implement a garden party evening as part of a dissemination meeting for the project, with around 50 guests attending.  Each group was tasked with creating a menu and food, decoration and entertainment to match their theme, and all themes had to promote and develop the relationship between England and the Abruzzo region of Italy.  Students worked hard to understand how they could use the ingredients they had seen, promote cultural similarities, and decorate effectively on a tight budget to ensure their table was busy all evening with guests.  In addition, Andrea Nepa, a chef who trained at La Bandiera and who now works in London spent the 2nd week cooking with the students, teaching them how to take the fresh, local ingredients and turn them into showstopper dishes for their event. 

The event was an amazing success and there ended up being over 80 guests attend and the students worked tirelessly to promote, host, greet, cook, serve, clean and tidy for the event and everyone who attended commented on the professionalism and high quality event they had attended, far exceeding the expectations of the small garden party they were expecting.

Hospitality & Catering student, Elle Wright, who has recently started working at Northcote under the watchful eyes of executive head chef and former student Lisa Goodwin-Allen, said, "Going to Italy with the Erasmus + project was one of the best experiences of my life. It has opened so many doors for me and allowed me to take on so many opportunities. My confidence and independence has grown and I have met so many amazing people."

The trip leader, Sarah Armstead said, “I am so proud of the students, they undertook and embraced this placement opportunity with positivity, dedication and commitment as well as lots and lots of humour.  Constantly developing their team working, communication and customer service skills, they were a credit to LMC and themselves, impressing everyone they worked with.”

Lancaster & Morecambe College is involved in several Erasmus+ projects that often culminate in students and staff exchanges, as well as work experiences abroad. For more information visit www.lmc.ac.uk/the-college/european-learning

Panorama shots taken by our students... 

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