Hays Travel is the largest independent travel agent in the country and runs one of the best apprenticeship programmes in the UK
Since the first shop opened in 1980, Hays Travel has expanded steadily from humble beginnings to the huge business it is today. We’re proud to have won the title of Best Large High Street Agency at Travel Weekly’s Agent Achievement Awards this year.
But one thing has stayed the same over the past 43 years – our commitment to delivering great value holidays and exceptional service to our new and loyal customers.
Our business comprises more than 450 shops, 100 Independence Group members, a franchise business, our Sunderland headquarters and a growing network of personal travel consultants.
We have full Abta, Atol and Iata bonding, and our staff can give impartial travel advice as we are independent.
Our in-house training programme has received multiple awards and our apprenticeship programme is ranked the 11th best in the UK – so if you’re new to the travel industry, it could be for you.
Each year, we recruit apprentices into most of our national branches and within each head office department. They then undertake a rigorous programme of study while earning a salary and gaining invaluable on-the-job experience and industry knowledge.
By the end of the programme, they’ll achieve a nationally recognised certificate at either Level 2 customer service practitioner standard or Level 3 travel consultant standard.
Jonathon Woodall-Johnston, our chief operating officer, started at Hays Travel as an apprentice so has first‑hand experience of how well we prepare young people on our programme for successful and exciting careers in travel and tourism.
Hays Travel apprentices can choose to become a personal travel consultant in a retail branch or opt for one of our roles in marketing, commercial, finance, HR, customer services, administration or business development at head office.
Company fact file
Year established: 1980
Number of employees: 3,450
Head office location: Sunderland
Offers remote working?: Yes
Careers website: https://careers.haystravel.co.uk
How to contact us: 0800 215 5045
Why I love my job
“After completing my A-levels and working in a few different roles, I felt stuck in a rut, so I decided to apply for a finance apprenticeship at Hays Travel.
“I joined the apprenticeship programme in September 2022 and I absolutely love it! Travel isn’t an industry I ever saw myself working in, but it’s completely different to anywhere else I have worked and my teammates make it so special.
“The work can be challenging – our foreign exchange operation has grown hugely over the past year, so we’ve had new systems and processes to learn. To help, we have weekly meetings and everyone is encouraged to make suggestions about how we can improve what we do so we all feel comfortable and supported.
“My advice for anyone who wants to join the travel industry is to just do it! There are so many different layers – selling holidays is only one aspect of what happens at Hays Travel.
“There’s also a huge range of roles, so whatever your skill set is, there will be something for you.
“I never expected to be able to use my accounting and finance knowledge here, but I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”
Foreign exchange support apprentice