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Future You

A driving force S

elf-confessed petrolhead Sam Wrigglesworth has made a few U-turns in his varied career, which has transitioned

through the emotions of a failed start-up to solid business growth with Blue Chip Holidays. He left school with three GCSEs: “But I never wanted to be an academic – I wanted to be a pilot!” After an apprenticeship doing car

modifications, he set his sights on the fast lane. “I’ve always loved cars, and I thought the quickest way to get close to Ferraris was to start my own car club, giving wealthy executives the chance to drive sports cars on racetracks.” He worked hard on the project, taking the idea to TV’s Dragons’ Denbut couldn’t convince them to part with their cash. Undeterred, he researched entrepreneurs on the internet, and sent out blanket emails to senior directors: “It was a desperate hope. I really didn’t know anybody, but I did

Company showcase

Wrigglesworth speaks at today’s ITT Future You Conference alongside keynote speaker, Rob Zajko, director of talent acquisition Europe, Middle East and Africa at Hilton Worldwide. A new careers initiative is

introduced this year which sees companies who want to actively engage with students invited to attend. Following a shorter session of presentations, students will be invited to speak with a range of employers, who include STA Travel, Heathrow Academy (courtesy of SKAL UK), Global Spirit, Real Gap and Hilton Worldwide. It will give students access to these employers to discuss opportunities for their futures. You can follow the action on Twitter at @ITTFutureYou

Last year’s Future You Conference

get one reply, and I signed a deal as a result,” he says. At first, the car club went well, but

the £60,000 membership fee was untenable to corporate clients when the recession hit, and he had to wind it up. “We went from the thrill of a start-up to collapse in six months. That was my uni degree. It was an incredible experience that taught me so much.” He then sold cars to the US military,

who could take advantage of a tax-free scheme, and although the financial rewards were there, he found it monotonous. So he qualified as a personal trainer and spent the next two years running a fitness business. But he hadn’t yet found his niche, and

a light bulb moment on the Tube convinced him to seek other avenues: “Heading to work, all I could see were drained, miserable people, and I wanted to get out of there.” In 2010, he relocated to Norfolk and used a recruitment company to land a job at Hoseasons. “I thought I knew everything, because

Sam Wrigglesworth 32 05.11.2015

I’d had two businesses. I was a flash kid, with money in my pocket, but it turned

The event is set to attract hundreds of students

out I didn’t know much [about business] after all. It was a baptism of fire, and I really owe a lot to then director of parks and lodges Simon Altham [Hoseasons current managing director], because he picked me up and mentored me.” He was promoted from senior account manager to national account manager, then business development manager: “That was when I found my feet. I covered 50,000 miles in a year, and I really enjoyed getting out into the market, meeting owners.” In June 2013, he came to the

attention of former Hoseasons chief executive Richard Carrick, who was looking for a director of business development for Blue Chip Holidays. “I interviewed for it, but I lost out to someone with more experience. It turned out for the best, because they created a role for me.” Blue Chip had launched in 2000 as a

holiday cottage lettings business in the south-west of England, and its bosses were keen to challenge Hoseasons’ dominance in the commercial side of the leisure sector. Wrigglesworth gradually built a network of lodges and resorts – which today numbers 19 locations. For now, the car club is on the back

burner and the automobile industry’s loss is the travel industry’s gain: “I’d love to have lots of cars, but I’m not sure I’ll work with them again,” he says. “I have a few entrepreneurial ideas, but I still have a lot to give to Blue Chip, and it’s humbling to be at the forefront of its growth.”

The Future You Conference takes place today from 11am-3pm in Platinum Suites 3 & 4

As the ITT Future You Conference returns to WTM London for its sixth year, one of the speakers, Sam Wrigglesworth of Blue Chip Holidays and one of TTG Media’s Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders, tells us about his career path to date

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