Course Details

This full-time QQI Level 5 course in Travel Agency Practice provides you with the opportunity to qualify and work as a travel agent.

QQI Level 5
Portobello Institute
Course Duration
6 months


Are you interested in becoming a travel agent? Portobello Institute’s QQI level 5 Minor award in Travel Agency Practice is a qualification that will allow you to secure employment in a travel agency. During this 6-month course you will acquire not only knowledge but the skills crucial to your future role as a travel agent. You will attend class three days a week allowing you to fit learning around your working and family life. You will also be required to complete a work placement in semester 2, enabling you to get practical experience to compliment your studies. There is an easy payment plan designed to make this course affordable for you.  These factors, together with the one to one tutorial support, offer you a course that is accessible, affordable and achievable.

Why should I study this course?

With the growth in world-wide travel opportunities, the role of the travel agent has evolved. Where previously, knowledge of the family package holiday in the Mediterranean was the requirement, today’s travel agent is expected to know this and more. Today’s travel agent is expected to provide travel management services to clients undertaking lengthy trips often to the other side of the world. This can include complex air travel involving multiple stop-offs and airlines, short and long stays in hotels, car hire and experience bookings.

Another area of opportunity for those undertaking this programme is the corporate travel business. There has been significant growth of corporate travel among the Irish business community providing another career avenue for those undertaking this programme. Corporate travel specialists manage the travel accounts for companies usually spending in excess of €75,000 per annum. They can have multiple executives flying in different directions at any one time. If a flight is delayed and an executive misses the connecting flight but still needs to be in a certain place for a meeting, the corporate travel specialist needs the travel knowledge and skills to work under pressure and problem solve whilst remaining calm and offering a high standard of customer service to that executive.

Portobello Institute wish to respond to the true needs within the sector by offering a course that will equip you not only with knowledge but with skill crucial to your future role as a travel agent. We have been training travel agents for over 25 years with a strong network of contacts within the sector.

Travel agents are expected to have a passion for travel, good product knowledge and a strong customer focus with the ability to work under pressure. There are wide and varied employment opportunities available from working with well-known package holiday travel agents to corporate travel specialists and Portobello Institute supports students, through this programme and its network of contacts to avail of those opportunities.

Who will recognise my qualification?

Upon completion of this programme you will hold the following qualifications;

  • Portobello Institute Certificate in Travel Agency Practice
  • QQI Level 5 Minor Award 5N4970 in Travel Agency Service Skills
  • QQI Level 5 Minor Award 5N0972 in Customer Service
  • QQI Level 5 Minor Award 5N0690 in Communications
  • Galileo Computerised Reservations System Certificate

Qualifications Frameworks in Ireland and the UK

The Irish and UK qualifications authorities have collaborated on initiatives that promote the transparency, recognition and mobility of qualifications between our respective jurisdictions. The qualifications authorities in the UK and Ireland have agreed the qualifications frameworks in operation, Brexit will not impact this agreement. Further guidance on this framework is available here.

What will I study during this Travel Agency Practice course?

The aim of this course is to prepare students with the knowledge, skills and competence to work as a travel agent in a travel agency or corporate travel company. This programme is designed to give you an excellent understanding of the role of the travel agent, how the sector operates and the travel agency and computer reservation skills necessary.  The work experience programme is a key element of the course – it is designed to give students their first practical placement within the industry and to gain their first reference. Many students are employed directly from their placements.

During this course you will complete a module in Galileo Computerised Reservation Systems. The Galileo Computerised Reservation System is the most widely used computerised reservations system in travel agents around the country, enabling them to check availability and details of every scheduled flight in the world, encode and decode every airport, city, airline and equipment type in the world, sell seats, issue tickets and print out itineraries.

During this course you will complete the following modules;

  1. Travel Agency Service Skills
  2. Tour Operations
  3. Legal Practice in the Travel Industry
  4. Communications
  5. Customer Service
  6. Galileo Computerised Reservation System

Who will I learn from?

Programme Manager

Joanne Power

You can’t start a lifelong journey without investing in a good map of the world!”

“I never tire of hearing people’s stories about where they are from, where they have been and where they want to go to. For me, travel is the most exciting industry in the world and it is a privilege for me to share my knowledge and experience with students who share this passion.”

“At Portobello Institute we strive to open a whole world of possibilities to learners who want to pursue a career in travel, the airlines or the tourism business.”

About Joanne

I have been a tutor in Portobello Institute for 15 years and I am also programme manager for the Travel and Tourism department. I teach Airline Studies, Customer Service, Travel Agency Service Skills, Tourism Principles and Practice and Personal Development. My own journey in the Travel and Tourism industry has been wide-ranging, working in USIT, Failte Ireland and Aer Lingus. I have held positions in customer service, sales, marketing, recruitment and training. It was while working in Aer Lingus Training and Development that I discovered my true passion for teaching and education. My style of teaching is to engage and motivate each individual, encouraging them to become confident in their own skills and abilities. Classes are fun and involve groupwork, presentations and simulations of real-life scenarios. I want to instil a value in the importance of excellent customer service and I am constantly amazed at how much I learn from my students as we share our stories and experiences. My goal for each of them is to have the courage and self-belief to follow their dreams.

Your experience as a Programme Manager.

As programme manager it is so important to me that each learner is fully supported throughout their time in Portobello. Class sizes are small so each tutor can offer individual support with assignments and assessments. We place huge value on getting to know each student individually and we are acutely aware that from time to time they will have personal challenges in their lives. Part of my role as program manager is to support and encourage each student to stay on their learning journey. There are always options available so learners can be assured that the teaching team and I will work through finding a solution to each and every issue.

Why Portobello?

At Portobello we want to help students to achieve their goal of a career in the Travel and Tourism industry – we pride ourselves on creating new experiences for them by visiting tourist attractions such as EPIC, Viking Splash, or The Guinness Storehouse. This also includes trips to Industry Expos, Airports, aircraft simulators and we have informative onsite and offsite guest lectures from industry professionals such as DAA, Aer Lingus, Tour Operators and Tourism organisations. Our tutors are a passionate team of industry professionals who constantly keep us up to date on industry developments. We have established links with many organisations, many of whom employ graduates of Portobello Institute. It is through these links that we have successfully placed students on work experience, internships and in full time-positions. It is always a great joy and personal pleasure to meet a past pupil whether it’s touring around Ireland, checking in at the airport or onboard a fight. We have graduates working with Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Emirates, Sky Handling, TUI, Club Travel, Fáilte Ireland, The Travel Department, Guinness Storehouse and the OPW.


  • Train the Trainer QQI
  • Higher Certificate in Travel and Tourism DIT
  • Advanced Diploma IATA/UFTA

Research / Industry Participation:

  • Involved in Programme validation projects in Portobello
  • Worked on several customer experience projects in Aer Lingus






Personal Academic Tutor

Each student is assigned a personal academic tutor to support you throughout your learning journey. They are available to offer you telephone and email support at any time. You can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance at a time convenient to you.

Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion. Emailing your tutor at any stage during your programme to ask a query or submit a draft of your assessment supports you to achieve your personal best throughout your studies with Portobello.

This level of one to one support is a particular benefit to choosing Portobello as your Institute of choice to complete your studies.

How will I learn?

Course Structure

This full-time course is delivered three days a week, Monday to Wednesday, over the course of six months. During your weekly class your tutor will deliver course content and outline your assignments. You will have the opportunity to engage in class discussions and ask your tutor any questions you may have about your course content and assessments.

The course runs over 2 semesters with examinations at the end of each semester. Practical classes are delivered in a fully equipped training rooms with theory classes taking place in one of the many theory rooms within Portobello Institute.

Interview Preparation

At the end of this course, graduates need to be confident of their presentation and newly acquired skills to secure a position within the travel industry. Over the past 20 years, Portobello Institute has built a strong network of contacts among the travel agents. Ensuring students are fully prepared in advance of an interview is a key benefit of participating on a programme such as this.

Students can book one to one time with our tutors, all industry professionals, in advance of an upcoming interview. A run through of the interview supports students to prepare for their interview. This individual preparation gives them the confidence to present themselves during their interview in a manner sought after by travel agents.

Tutor Support

Portobello Institute recognises that every student learns in a different way and for each and every student to excel, they need support and extra guidance at different stages throughout their learning journey. You can email your tutor at any stage during the module to ask a simple query or submit a draft of your assessment. Our programme management team are always available to offer you telephone and email support and if you need to, you can arrange to meet them for further one to one guidance.

Many of our past graduates have found it is the opportunity to ask a simple question, seek direction and submit a draft of their assessment that supported them most to successful completion. This level of one to one support is a particular benefit to choosing this mode of study. Portobello Institute has invested in a team of programme managers and tutors who are experienced in the travel industry as well as qualified and knowledgeable educators. They are available to assist you at every stage of this programme.

Real Life Learning Opportunities

Work Placement

Ensuring students can put into practice the skills and knowledge learned in theory is an integral aim of this course. The work experience programme takes place in semester 2 and is usually 2 days per week for the semester. The schedule will depend on the needs of the company the student is placed with and we encourage students to be flexible during their placement. Portobello Institute has a strong network of placements and supports students to secure a work experience placement. The placements are with travel agents and corporate travel companies based in Dublin or regionally as per the student preference.

How will I be assessed?

A variety of assessment methods are used to support students with different learning styles. These vary from written reports to practical case studies to examinations. We encourage you to reflect on your knowledge gain with a number of assignments designed to explore your learning journey. All of these assessment methods are seeking to support you to combine theory with scenario-based learning and how to practically implement these methods into your everyday practice.

Speak to an expert

Choosing a course that will lead you to your career of choice is a significant decision. Understanding the delivery modes, supports available, career opportunities and further study options are all key considerations when making your choice. Our course adviser team are experts in the courses Portobello offers, the employment prospects and possible progression routes to other programmes – they will guide you through the detail and support you with any queries you may have.

It is important you make the right choice for you and choose the Institute and course that will best suit your needs.

Your Consultant

George Boylan

About George

I’m George. I am very passionate about fitness, aesthetics and looking after the body and mind. I love helping people and having this job allows me to guide people in the right direction so they can follow the career they want.

How long are you working in Portobello?

 2 years.

What do you enjoy about working in Portobello?

 Getting to work with like minded people that push to give students and potential students a better education and helping them progress in their professional careers.

What inspires you about working in education?

 Being able to help someone improve and progress to a career they are passionate about.

Have you a story that you recall that touched you/made you laugh/made you cry?

 A student that did not get the leaving cert points to get into Physiotherapy,  so he thought there were no other options for him. He found our BSc Sports Therapy course and when I interviewed him he was a very intelligent young man and he was very passionate about following his dream job to be a Physiotherapist. When I gave him the news that he was accepted to study here he almost cried and it was lovely to see and to be able to help him follow his dreams.

How do you feel when you have helped a student reach a decision on their course choice?

One of the best feelings for me is helping a student choose the right course. Most students are unsure which career they want. Being able to explain to them what exactly the roles involve and helping them make the right choice is amazing. Some people will work in a job for 10 years before they realise it is not their dream, Being able to talk to students at an early stage and helping them get a job in the role they want is very rewardin

Book a consultation

How do I apply?

Entry is by direct application to Portobello Institute and is based on interview selection.


Without a Leaving Certificate

There are no previous academic or experience requirements for this course.

The Interview

Places on this programme are limited. By interviewing all applicants, we can verify each student has the apptitude and personality to secure employment in the travel industry. The interview will take place at a time convenient to applicants and is carried out by the programme manager. Our programme manager is also seeking to understand that applicants have a genuine interest in working within the travel industry, they understand the sector, the requirements of the programme and that this programme and Portobello Institute is the right career choice for them.

Please note places on this course are only confirmed once the deposit of tuition fees have been received.


Course Price

Per academic year.


Additional Fees

Protection for learner fees are due on 25th August 2020. Please note places on this course are only confirmed once the deposit of tuition fees have been received.

Protection for Learners Fee


Full Payment

Total amount payable.


Easy Payment Plan

Deposit of 40% upon acceptance of place. Balance to be paid in 3 instalments of 20% due 25th August, 25th October & 25th January 2021.

Deposit Amount

40% deposit payment, due on application of your course.

Settle final balance (€2,053.20) by 25th October 2020, or by instalments (see below).


Instalments Payments

Deposit payment (€1,368.80), followed by 3 scheduled payments every 2 month(s).

Includes one off instalment fee of €295.00. Payments scheduled every 2 month(s).

  • €684.40 due on 25th November 2020.
  • €684.40 due on 25th January 2021.
  • €684.40 due on 25th March 2021.