Leandro Addivinola, 32, secured a job with the airline in February 2022 during the first year of his Travel and Tourism Level 3 Diploma and undertook four weeks training in May.
He joined the cabin crew for Euroflyer, a subsidiary of BA based at Gatwick airport, and is now working on long-haul flights out of Heathrow while completing the second year of his course.
Leandro, who was born and raised in Italy, said: “I’m really happy and proud of myself because when I think back seven years ago I could barely speak English, and now I’m working for BA, the national carrier of the United Kingdom. It’s a big achievement for me.
“I’ve flown to Turkey, Morrow, Greece and Cyprus. I’m still very excited and hope to stay in BA and grow. This is just the start for me.”
Leandro was born in Naples and grew up in Perugia where he studied for a degree in social sciences at university before coming to UK in 2015.
“After my degree, I looked for a job for around six months but didn’t find anything because the economic situation in Italy was not good, so I decided to come to the UK and find a job,” he said.
Leandro worked in a restaurant making pizzas and then as a waiter as his English improved before an eight-month spell as a pastry chef in Ibiza in 2018 and then returning to London.
“I wanted a better career. I didn’t want to work in restaurants for the rest of my life, so I decided to restart,” he said.
“The travel sector had always fascinated me. I liked the idea of travelling and working at the same time and I also wanted to improve my English. I also knew about hospitality from working in the restaurant.”
Leandro, who now lives in Wood Green, enrolled on a Travel and Tourism Level 2 Certificate in September 2020 and progressed to Level 3 the following year.
He applied to BA in November 2021 after seeing an advert for cabin crew on Instagram and was offered a job after an interview and assessment day held virtually due to COVID.
“It’s a very gratifying and rewarding job. You get paid to travel the world and meet lots of people from different cultures and learn a lot every day,” he said.
Leandro praised his teachers at CONEL who had not only taught him about the industry but how to apply what he had learnt to real situations.
He further recalled being inspired at college when former Travel and Tourism student Richard Coelho-McErlean shared his experience as a flight attendant for BA.
“The course work is designed to give you the skills you need to apply in the job every day,” said Leandro.
“The teachers are really supportive. Every time you have the issue or don’t understand something you can ask them for help. I have learnt so much, and I’m still learning.”