Ali Gets Stuck In At Street Child World Cup

Ali talks about his new placement…

In my last post (which was ages ago!!!) I mentioned that I would be working on the Street Child World Cup. So for those of you who haven’t ever heard of this charity here is a video to give you some background.

It’s a small charity that we can make a real difference to. My involvement comes in the form of an event that we are going to put on at the Indigo at the O2. Save the date in your diary, it will be the 12th April and there will be some amazing entertainment (to be confirmed so watch this space!).

You will all be hearing loads more over the coming weeks and months and we really want TUI employees to be there and enjoy the event! So my first day yesterday was spent getting to know about the charity and visiting the venue for a variety of meetings with different suppliers. This is now my 5th placement so it’s great to be thrown straight into work and to get involved and on with it from the get go.

The last placement went really well, was a great challenge and we were able to implement some really good changes for the business. We also presented our year long Social Media project which resulted in some great discussion.

Look out for more publicity for the event and the charity – and enjoy the run up to Christmas!!!!!

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Sector Sailing

Ali takes some time out for a Sector Review and Team Building Day.

Half way through already!

As part of my Sector placement I was lucky enough to join the team for their Team update down on the coast in Hamble. What followed was an informative presentation about how the different areas of the business and the business and industry as a whole are performing and an overview of upcoming events. It was interesting to see the figures behind the brands that we are all getting to see and work in, as well as getting an understanding into what the effect of global incidents has. The TUI sponsorship of the charity Street Child and the Street Child World Cup in Rio 2014 was also announced, a project that Darren Mee explains more about in the video below. (more to follow in the next blog!!!)

The afternoon was spent sailing with the Sunsail team on their new fleet of F40’s. To say there was a bit of wind is an understatement, at one point our boat was doing over 11 knots. It was great fun and gave an opportunity for everyone to get together and spend some time with one another in a great setting. As a graduate on this scheme it is great to experience the Sector at the different levels, all the way up from the Brands to the central Sector team. After a fine meal, fun evening and an overnight stay on the Yachts it was back up to Crawley and back to work… take a look at the video below, talking about the new ‘Street Child’ Initiative:

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Onwards and upwards… to Crawley!

Hello all. There has been a bit of a break since last posting an entry, reasons for this being the busy times of finishing a placement, a learning and development week, a holiday and starting a new placement! That’s right, another 3 month placement has flown by. Having ended my time at Crystal Ski in Kingston, we headed to a Learning and Development week in Crawley. Another great week with plenty of learning and interesting and informative sessions; we can now expect to go into Marks and Spencer’s and negotiate ourselves a discount on anything! There was also some time for some team building down in Port Solent out on the racing yachts, it was nice that the next intake of graduates could join us and we could all get to know each other a bit and share experiences. It was fantastic to get back to Cornwall after this for a holiday even though the weather was a little disappointing – no surprise there! Still, I managed to get in plenty of surfing and golf and can return to work feeling refreshed. So we are now into placement 4 – it has gone so quickly but at the same time it feels as though we have been around forever! I have now returned to Crawley and am now based in TUI Travel House enjoying my Sector Placement – will keep you updated on how it goes…

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Gone Sailing…

At the end of placement three, the six grads all got together for another useful week of Learning and Development; some challenging sessions nonetheless led to some useful discussions (I still think we should have bought an island as our new product in the Product Development workshop) and time for reflection on the previous months. While some of the sessions were emotionally and mentally tough, everyone would agree that the highlight was probably the sailing session at Port Solent which rounded off the week – thanks to the new grads for coming down to join us! Here are a few photos for your general entertainment…

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Watch. Play. Whatever. Ali loves sport.

Ali whimsical about sport and competition

Sport, sport, sport. With my love of playing, watching, thinking and talking about sport as strong as ever right now with all the major events going on I often wonder which in fact is my favourite. Football, tennis and golf are the main contenders, but then I am passionate about surfing and swimming, as well as a growing interest in the major US sports of basketball, baseball, ice hockey and football, due to my time spent over the pond.

With other sports such as athletics, although I feel knowledgeable on them, find  my interest only really gets heightened at the times of the major events. Each sport offers a different dynamic and as such I simply can’t choose; each provides different enjoyment and emotion. Since I can remember I have always been going to sporting events, and this week was no different getting to Wimbledon a couple of times. The rush of a sporting event is something that I feel and get so excited by, I love watching elite sport and being surrounded by truly successful performers and global superstars. At Wimbledon it’s great to get so close to the players and watch them in action, even if it’s just on the practice courts where they don’t seem so different to you and me, except for the sponsorship deals, global adoration and sporting prowess!

I love the way that sport generates conversation and unity and encourages people to take on challenges and new experiences. With the  fiasco of the Olympic 2012 tickets going on I do feel lucky that I have been to so many events across so many sports – Wimbledon and US Open grand slams in tennis, world cups and T20 in Cricket, Ryder Cups and other international golf events, World Cups, European Championships, Premier League, Football league in Football. World Championships and European Championships in Athletics, Olympic Games where as a youngster I watched Tim Henman bring in the silver medal, and sat in the stadium the night that Michael Johnson ran that race in that time (I’ll never forget the camera flashlights as he came round the bend). Whenever I talk with people about sports and events I am always interested and inspired by people’s stories, so what’s next?! Marathon? Triathlon? Squash? Who knows, as long as it has a challenge but is also a lot of fun then I’ll try it!

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Heidi and the hacks

Ali heads off to Austria to entertain journalists – and discovers excellent Austrian hospitality, some adrenaline sports and finds himself not pedalling very hard on an electric bike.

Firstly, congrats to the new intake of graduates, I’m sure you will enjoy the path ahead.

Last week I took a group of journalists out to Austria to the resorts of Seefeld and Kitzbühel on a press trip for the Crystal Summer brand. In a combined effort between Crystal and the state of Tirol, alongside local tourist offices the trip saw the journalists take part in a variety of activities in some quite spectacular scenery (when it wasn’t raining, or the clouds didn’t get in the way!). I’ll keep you posted about when the articles get published. Canyoning, mountain biking, e-biking, hiking and roller skiing were among the activities experienced. While the trip was hard work in terms of logistics and making sure everyone was where they needed to be, on time, and everyone’s needs in terms of the purpose of the trip and the articles to be written were taken care of, it was a fantastic experience and gave me an opportunity to put into practice a set of skills that I am keen to develop and pursue in the future – event organisation and management. It was insightful to meet the overseas teams and see the work that they do, which can easily be forgotten when you are office based in the UK.

Now back in the UK it is onwards with the commercial project I have been tasked with. It is greatly enhancing my Excel skills! I am enjoying ‘getting around’ the business as it is such a unique brand in the portfolio – learning the roles of all the different departments and how their work creates holidays for our customers is what I wanted to do and it has been great to be given the opportunity to do this. This placement is in a significantly larger team and office in comparison to my previous roles so it has been fantastic to experience the variation and to be able to make qualified judgements on what I would like in the future and what sort of environment I can work best in.

Kingston is a great place to live and work, and lunches are spent by the river! Just yesterday I went to the 20/20 cricket at the Oval. Having said that, when the sun is shining I will always be drawn to the coast and that’s where you can find me this weekend, with my surfboard catching some waves!

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Kings, Olympians and the RAF

King Stunners, Totally Piste, Poles Apart, Davis’s Dollies, Where Eagles Dare! You would be forgiven for wondering what on earth I’m talking about. These are just a smattering of the teams that were involved in the 3rd Annual Skiathon in support of DSUK (Disability SnowportUK). Dispersed to various snow centres across theUK the teams set about their challenge, to ski 666 runs in 6 hours.

In Milton Keynes, the location for King Stunners (a team made up of Flexi Ski and Crystal staff) we got kitted out and had the obligatory ‘just how cold can it be in there?’ discussions that resulted in many of us, and most of the teams, deciding that hoodies would suffice – and of course our Skiathon t-shirts on display to further highlight the cause to any by-standers or interested on lookers! Needless to say the result of the clothing decisions did not last long for most and soon a more traditional ski wear approach was adopted! Alongside the King Stunners were team 667: The neighbour of the Piste and the Kingston Devils from TUI, as well as the RAF Ski team, The British Disabled Ski Team as well as numerous others. Before long the RAF ski team were displaying their expertise with one legged skiing (at incredible speed!) ski jumps and this got the competitive nature going with races and competitions following rather quickly. Supported and encouraged by the fantastic Volunteers and organisers who counted us all in and added to the excitement with various games including ‘chase the fastest skier and catch them for prizes!’ It was great to see such a strong turn out and variety of abilities, both skiing and snowboarding all doing their best for charity.

In the afternoon we were greeted by an Olympian, World Champion, World record holder and one of the all time great British Athletes and now TV commentator (or perhaps to some ‘the athlete from Strictly come dancing’) – Colin Jackson. This gave further awareness to the work of DSUK with the opportunity to try the experience in one of the ‘sledges’ used by those with disabilities – an incredible sight involving a lot of daring!

To see what it is all about and to watch us in action just click the link – thankfully ITV were there to film us!!!

At the end of a long and tiring day, aching muscles joined together to thank the organisers and reward those for their extra special efforts and the winners of the day (naturally it was the RAF team!) before departing the venue with new found friends and stories to tell and talk about for days to come!

If you would like to donate to DSUK it couldn’t be easier – don’t forget the gift aid!

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666 devishly good deeds

Hello all,

As I write this entry we are now into our 3rd week of our 3rd Placement. This brings me to TUI Ski, based in Kingston. With placements wrapped up in the Adventure Division (Sawadee) and the Education Division (Montreal), the Ski division represents a different challenge. The sheer scale of the business means that naturally there is a much bigger team and a different business model, yet similarities exist in that everyone is passionate about delivering an amazing product.

 This week TUI Ski (which comprises of Crystal, Thomson and First Choice – and the branches off these companies also, such as Crystal Finest) are taking part in the 3rd annual Skiathon. This is an event to raise money for Disability Snowsport UK. I have naturally involved myself in this and each team of 6 is committing to raising £666 for skiing 666 runs of an indoor ski slope in 6 hours – towards our target goal of £35,000 for DSUK. Alongside us will be the British Disabled Ski team! The team here at Crystal have been busy fundraising and this has seen cake sales, ‘Skibay’ auctions, music quizzes and raffles as well as many more initiatives. For further information about this wonderful charity see

 The next post will include photos of the day (hopefully we can pull together some fancy dress!) If this is a charity that anyone would like to donate to (it’s very simple just go to the web page given below), or is interested in at all then please visit our teams page and see how much of a difference we can all make!

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Is it really that time already!?

Its come around quickly, but placement 2 is either now over for some of us or drawing to a close. And with that comes moves in different directions around the globe… tinged with sadness at leaving colleagues and newfound friends but also excitement about catching up with old friends and new challenges it’s a strange time! Personally, my time in Montreal has far exceeded any expectations I had – the learning curve that I have experienced has been enormous and I am leaving this placement with enhanced skills and having had a great time. Marketing the European Product, a new product to market, has been really exciting and now that the promotional pieces are out there its exciting to see what the result will be and how it will all progress – hopefully next time we are all in Paris, Madrid or Reykjavik we will see the Jumpstreet and Éducatour groups having a great time!

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Team Building tastes good!

Sometimes unexpected opportunities just present themselves! Last Friday I found myself as a judge on a masterchef style cooking contest… it was all in the name of team building. Over the last 6 weeks I have been part of a group putting together a team building event for the team at Jumpstreet/Éducatours. Its been really good being involved in putting together an event and the build up was a lot of fun, getting everything organised, all the details checked off.  It was all kept secret from the staff in order that it would be a surprise event. Thankfully all the hard work paid off as it was a storming success, fun was had by all and some seriously good dishes were created! And we did it all within the time slot, on budget and gave a donation to charity. So a huge success, a lot of fun and succesful as a team building exercise! Another huge plus point for me that Jumpstreet has displayed, their passion, caring and dedication towards their staff – undoubtedly this is the most harmonious and enjoyable team I have worked in and it makes such a difference to the work day to look forward to going to work and enjoying yourself whilst there! So if you need a better atmosphere in the office – organise a masterchef!!!

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