Agent, 67, finally lands job after five-year search

By Harry Kemble
Home » Agent, 67, finally lands job after five-year search

A 67-year-old travel agent with 46 years’ industry experience has finally landed a job after a five-year search.

Jim Clarke, of Southampton, says he is ‘chuffed’ to be joining Director Harry Lightfoot and his team at Fusion Holidays on 22 May as they prepare to open a second store at Stansted Park Garden near Rowlands Castle in June.

Since leaving Cruise 118 five years ago because he didn’t like working shifts, he has applied for between ‘30 or 40’ jobs and blames the ‘age thing’ on his struggle to find another travel agent job.

Harry contacted Jim through the Travel Industry Recruitment Opportunities Facebook group and asked him if he could help build his Fusion Holidays team.

Jim (pictured) said Harry wanted someone who listened to customers rather than just selling from a brochure.

Looking back over the past five years, Jim said: “Sometimes I did not even get to the interview stage and the companies would say that I am not suitable for the job over email.  

“It was obviously the age thing. It’s the lack of honesty which is frustrating. They would say that I’ve not got enough experience. I’ve got experience in cruising, long-haul…everything.”

He added: “I know travel people of a similar age on Facebook who are having trouble getting back into travel.”

Jim has worked at 10 travel agencies since landing his first job at 17 in 1972, working at Solent Travel.

Since Solent Travel, Jim has worked at Bellingham Travel, WH Smith Travel, Pickfords Travel, Javelin World Travel, Rapid Travel, Bath Travel, Cruise 118 and had two stints at Safe Travel.

He said a career highlight was when he was manager at the Bath Travel branch in Eastleigh and over nine years his team increased the annual turnover from £750,000 to £2.56 million.

In between travel jobs, Jim has worked as an NHS volunteer and a taxi driver ferrying children to and from school.

“I’ve had two travel companies over the last five years who wanted me because of my age,” he added. “That was Cruise 118 and Harry Lightfoot. It’s been their gain and everyone else’s loss.”

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