Flying high at 60 - Student proves age is no limit to reaching career goals


A NQ Travel and Tourism student has celebrated her 60th in style – by turning her dream into a reality at New College Lanarkshire.

Barbara McMinigal decided to pursue her dreams of becoming a Travel Advisor after reaching the milestone, and took on a Travel and Tourism course at the College’s Cumbernauld campus.

Following completion of the course, Cumbernauld resident Barbara has now landed her dream job at David Urquhart Travel in East Kilbride, after being introduced to the organisation as part of her studies.

A former employee of the NHS, Barbara was inspired to apply for the Travel and Tourism course after a year of retirement in Cyprus, saying: “When I turned 60 I wanted to try something different and give myself a new challenge, and am delighted that it has really paid off.

“Starting the course was quite scary, but it has been very rewarding as I’ve learned so many new skills in a very short space of time, including a bit of Spanish!”

As part of the course, students often visit tourism attractions and hotels across Scotland. In March, Barbara’s class group were invited to David Urquhart Travel to learn about the company and its position in the Travel and Tourism Industry.

Barbara said: “During the visit we were shown around the offices of David Uquhart Travel and introduced to the different team areas and managers. To give us further insight into the company, we were given a presentation, which helped further my knowledge of how Travel and Tourism organisations work.

“David Urquhart Travel is a long established company in Scotland yet I was still amazed by the range of holidays that they offer - from traditional coach and beach holidays, to cruises and European city breaks.

“To give us a real taste of life in the industry, we participated in role plays which was a great experience, and despite being a nerve-wracking, we received very positive feedback.

 “We then had the opportunity to shadow staff in the call centre who help customers find their ideal holiday. While listening in I realised that this was a job I would love to have.”

Barbara’s skills and attitude impressed the managers at David Urquhart Travel and she was asked to return for an interview for a full-time job.

She continued: “During my studies I have not only developed my knowledge of the Travel and Tourism industry. I’ve also enhanced my skills for employment thanks to my lecturer, Angie McCallum. Angie helped every student with CV writing and interview preparation with mock interviews. She helped me prepare for my interview and it obviously paid off as a week later I was offered the job!

“I am absolutely elated that my leap of faith paid off and am so grateful to New College Lanarkshire for allowing me these opportunities and particularly thankful to my lecturer Angie for investing her time and expertise in me. 

“It’s important for people to know that dreams, hopes, desires and ambitions don’t just fade when you become a certain age and there is no reason why you can’t go after what you want in life if you put in the work and commitment.”

Travel and Tourism Lecturer at New College Lanarkshire, Angie McCallum, said: “I wish Barbara every success.

“She is a prime example of how we at New College Lanarkshire have no barriers to learning and we believe that it is never too late to chase your dreams!”

You can find out more about New College Lanarkshire’s range of Travel and Tourism courses and how to apply by visiting:

« Back to News