Rita Paulino Loggali Leggie studied a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Hospitality Management at St Patricks College in London. We sat down with Rita to ask her about her experience and how her studies have helped her progress in a career she loves.

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Starting out in hospitality

One of the things that Rita enjoys the most is helping others, and this motivation has steered her career towards the hospitality sector. During her time completing charity work and volunteering to help refugees, Rita landed a Hospitality Apprenticeship which enabled her to build a foundation of knowledge about the sector, alongside the opportunity to travel and visit a wide range of different tourist sites and locations to learn how to apply her knowledge.

“Volunteering has helped me to gain skills and network with amazing people from different backgrounds and walks of life; I have volunteered for asylum seeker campaigns and became a trustee for the Refugees Council for two terms as well as one term with the community charities in Camden.”

Whilst at the GoodEnough College, she excelled so much so that she was offered the position to become Duty Manager. After this, Rita found a position working at the Barbican Centre in central London. This then sparked her interest to persue her career in hospitality even further, and gain additional academic certifications by studying a HND.

Arham Ali Sultan

Taking the next steps

Rita was over the moon when she discovered that her application to study a HND in Hospitality Management at St Patricks College was accepted. Starting the course in 2018, she worked hard over the course of two years to complete the qualification, studying full time.

“The qualification has strengthened my skills and knowledge in the industry; it’s a way to change profession all together and obtain practical skills with support from teachers and staff in the college. The college was great place to meet people from different backgrounds and exchange insights of experiences and skills. I appreciated the e-books, libraries and contents online for students with educational tools to support, especially in the beginning for areas like citations, academic writing, ICT basics.”

Furthermore, she also utilized a variety of resources available to her throughout her studies. Using the HN gobal platform, Rita took the opportunity to use materials for personal development (such as building your personal brand) to help with her professional development alongside her academic studies.

Topping up with the University of Sunderland

Adding to her success, Rita wanted to push herself further and decided to top up her qualification by completing an additional year of studies in order to gain an undergraduate degree. She admits it was a difficult process to narrow down her options and choose a university to continue with, but after careful consideration, Rita decided to continue her learning with the University of Sunderland in London. In 2021 she was awarded a BSc International Tourism and Hospitality Management undergraduate degree. There were several deciding factors, however Sunderland soon became Rita’s top choice due to its smaller size and close commuting distance.

Did you know...

You can use the Degree Finder to explore courses and institutions where you can top up your Higher National qualification

Further adding to her achievements, Rita completed her studies whilst also juggling the challenges of being a new mother. However, she was able to continue her studies in a flexible online format to work around her life. The majority of her studies were taught online using platforms such as Canvas and Microsoft Teams as a result of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

“The qualification was an immense journey. After working in many zero contracts jobs that promised nothing, the Higher National Diploma was rewarding, both personally and on a professional level by helping pave the way to top-up at university.”

New prospects

Since graduating, Rita has also completed a short course in project management and is currently considering a postgraduate qualification too. She has found that her qualifications have helped her to become more confident. She hopes to inspire and motivate others as they too can partake in opportunities to advance their career.