A teenage travel agent from Linlithgow won the Next Gen Talent award at the Advantage Big Celebration Lunch, held recently in London.
Linlithgow Travel employee Olivia Newby (17) picked up this UK-wide award, which recognises the achievement of a single individual under the age of 35, who goes beyond what is expected and exceed the company’s objectives.
The former Braes student started at Linlithgow Travel as the ‘Saturday girl’ when she was 15, before going full-time a year ago after leaving school.
Speaking about winning the award, a year after finishing runner-up, she said: “The whole experience was quite surreal, it was quite over whelming being surrounded by such influential people from the UK travel industry.
“But there was a real buzz about it and it has made me realise that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Nothing should be out of reach for young people today. I am so excited for what the future holds for me.”
Olivia was nominated by her employers and judged on feedback from customers and Scottish tour operators who have dealt with Olivia.
Linlithgow Travel is a fully independent travel agency, based on the High Street and set up by former employees of Thomas Cook.
One of the managers there, Jo Black, spoke of her pride at seeing Olivia grow in her role.
She said: “I’m really proud of Olivia. It’s just great to see someone so young show so much promise. The customers really trust her.
“The Scottish travel industry is a relatively small industry and I think for someone to be so young and show so such confidence and maturity, it means she could achieve anything in travel she sets her mind to.
“She is a real asset to the Scottish travel industry as well as to us. We don’t want her to ever leave but then we don’t want to hold someone back.”
The awards ceremony on September 28 came at the end of a bad week for the industry, with the collapse of travel giant Thomas Cook.
Jo added: “It was just such a bad week. I don’t think people realise how much everyone is affected. We are all part of the same family.
“So this was the perfect end to what had been a terrible week. It’s massive, it’s such a big achievement.
“Olivia is a shining example of everything a travel advisor should be. She is loved by both her colleagues and customers. And as her manager I am thrilled that the hard work she’s put in during the last year has been recognized on a national scale.”