Thursday 12th October 2023
Showground, Wadebridge

Four star hotel snaps up talented Cornish events graduate

Recent graduate Courtney Chandler is celebrating completing her first week in her first full time role since finishing university.

Courtney, who went to Budehaven Community School in Bude before studying Creative Events Management at Falmouth University, landed the job at the four star St Mellion International Resort after completing a Brighter Cornwall work experience placement.

Brighter Cornwall is a programme run by Unlocking Potential in partnership with Cornwall Council to help young people from Cornwall going to university to make the first steps in their career with paid work experience placements.

Courtney said: “Having a degree in Events Management doesn’t fully prepare you for how stressful and fast-paced events can be. To find that out you actually have to be involved and have a go yourself, then you can work out whether you want to make a career of it or not.”

On her placement, Courtney worked with Unlocking Potential and Plymouth University in putting on their prestigious Connect events, which provide opportunities for businesses to network and hear from guest speakers.

Courtney said: “Ahead of Connect I was helping plan the event, then making sure everything ran smoothly on the day and gathering feedback afterwards. Meeting lots of businesses and working with the keynote speaker, Hilary Devey from Dragon’s Den, was a great thing to be able to put on my CV”

Getting experience and making contacts is invaluable to getting your first job, as many roles in Cornwall never get advertised, as Courtney explains:
“I was advised to send my CV round to a few hotels I was interested in, not expecting to hear anything as they didn’t have any jobs advertised. St Mellion got back to me straight away and I came in for my first interview and they offered me the job.

Ricky Dent, Events Manager at St Mellion International Resort agreed that getting experience and showing initiative is essential to finding your ideal job:
“As an employer we probably get around fifteen to twenty CVs a day, so to get a second glance an applicant really needs to stand out. It could be anything that shows they have done something off their own backs and made the effort to do something others have not. That’s what Courtney’s CV had.”

Making connections and getting experience is essential for students to figure out what they want to do and to gain a full time job when they graduate and Courtney explained how helpful work experience was in getting her ready for work:

“If I had come here without work experience I would have been so lost! I didn’t do a year out in the industry as part of my degree so would have struggled to have gone straight into a role like this one.With events you need to know as much as you can, some of which you can only learn from experience so that was vital to coming into this job.”

“Before getting work experience I wanted to be a wedding planner, now I get to work on weddings, conferences, ladies’ lunches, business events, proms and children’s parties all in one week!”

Brighter Cornwall is run by Cornwall Council in partnership with Unlocking Potential to support young people from Cornwall who are studying a degree anywhere in the UK to gain that much needed experience and benefit Cornwall’s growing businesses through high quality career experience placements.

Nicky Luke, Head of Talent Development for Unlocking Potential, who is leading the Brighter Cornwall project said:

“Courtney is a brilliant example of how securing professional career experience is crucial for being able to demonstrate to employers that you are serious about securing the type of work you want. All work experience is good – but going the extra mile to demonstrate that you have got relevant transferable skills is invaluable and exactly what employers are interested in. We are very proud of Courtney’s success and hope she will be the first of many who secure their dream job, who take part in Brighter Cornwall placements. We have other really good quality opportunities available for placements and networking so I urge degree students to register with the website and go for those roles that appeal to them.”

Individuals from Cornwall about to start their undergraduate studies who are interested in gaining experience in their spare time or holidays as well as businesses looking to take on an undergraduate on a short-term basis to work on a project in their business should contact Brighter Cornwall at or through the website