WOMEN IN BUSINESS: Travel industry veteran launches her own school

TRAVERSE CITY – Tammy Ensman saw a niche and decided to fill it. That’s how the Great North Travel School came into being. Located in Traverse City, the school will open on Sept. 13, and already has potential students from Pakistan, Oregon and northern Michigan.

A 14-year veteran of the travel industry, Ensman decided to start a school with an extensive program because the travel schools she’s familiar with, she says, aren’t totally filling the need.

“I see a need for a travel school that is very comprehensive and teaches people exactly what they need to know to gain employment in the field,” she said. “I know of several programs being offered that are very general and students leave without even knowing how to make an airline reservation.”

Starting the school required a bit of research on Ensman’s part. She investigated what other schools and travel programs are offering and then used that information to put together a complete program. Once she had the curriculum formulated, she had a designer put together a Web site.

Ensman has recruited students through her site and most of her correspondence has been conducted via e-mail. While Ensman has big plans, she doesn’t want the school to get too big, so that students can still get individualized attention.

“I don’t want to be a huge travel school; I hope to have 2-4 classes per year with 6-12 students per class,” she says.

Once students have finished the five-week, 200-hour course, they will have a certificate to prove they have satisfactorily completed the training and are qualified to work in the travel industry. Ensman has no doubt that her students will find work. “Immediately after the Web site was available, I started getting calls and e-mails from airlines and agencies looking for possible employees,” she said.

Ensman plans to share this information with students in an effort to facilitate their employment.

Even with all the work involved, Ensman is excited about her new venture.

“I enjoy training and love the travel business so I felt this was a natural for me,” she says.

For class schedules and tuition costs, visit http://greatnorth.bitsystems.com or contact Ensman at greatnorth@bitsystems.com. BIZNEWS