Theme Park, Amusement Park and Attractions Industry News

Fresh from campus, straight into the industry

Written by Rick Spring in ‘t veld, marketing & acquisition, P&P Projects

Hi! My name is Rick, I’m 22 years old and I work at P&P Projects in the Netherlands. For those who don’t know, P&P Projects is a company that designs and builds immersive experiences for world renowned theme parks, zoos, museums, visitor attractions, resorts and more. What sets P&P Projects apart is its expertise in delivering projects that exceed both client and guest expectations. As a so-called ‘one-stop shop’, P&P can take the smallest idea, concept or theme and develop it through all phases of design and production into a fully-fledged experience for guests to enjoy.

Having graduated in July of 2021, I immediately rolled into my current place at P&P. I’m sure you can understand I feel very lucky to be a part of an innovative organisation that operates at this scale; especially since, ten years ago I was still dreaming about an opportunity like this.

So, where did it start for me? It’s safe to say my passion for this industry originates from theme parks. As a kid, my parents would take me and my sister to theme parks every year. These quickly started fascinating me: places that are centred around top-notch hospitality, where everything has been taken care of, where guests can leave everyday life behind to fully focus on a simple but crucial thing: having fun. I was captivated by these parks’ abilities to immerse guests in worlds grounded in pure storytelling. My ambition for experiences like these grew with my age.

It didn’t take long for me to realise what I dreamt of doing in the future; I suppose endless hours of playing RollerCoaster Tycoon were an early sign. As much as I enjoyed experiencing themed entertainment for myself, this was followed by a desire to provide those experiences to others; to be a part of that process.

At 18 years, I started studying International Tourism Management at Breda University of Applied Sciences. I knew I wanted to get into this industry, so I enrolled on a course called Attractions & Theme Parks Management. I was taught about a great variety of things: feasibility studies, hospitality research, storytelling, operations management, finance and accounting, marketing and change management. These topics were all tailored to our industry. With so many different subjects to tap into, you’re able to get a taste of all specialisms. This is particularly helpful to those who are still searching where exactly their passion for the industry blooms the most. Combined with three years of working at the Efteling theme park resort and an internship at Walt Disney World, specialising in Attractions and Theme Parks Management helped me gain lots of experience in learning the inner workings of our industry.

A project in ‘Storytelling & Experiences’ for Vekoma Rides Manufacturing allowed me a deeper insight into the ‘supplier’ field of our industry. This led to me applying for a graduation internship at P&P Projects, where I ended up spending the final months of my study. Researching internal processes, I was able to take a deep look into a company that plays a key role in bringing to life the experiences I’m so passionate about. After graduating, I was lucky to be provided with the opportunity to stay and work full-time at P&P – which brings us back to today.

When it comes to challenges, I would say finding my ‘niche’ in the industry was something that took a while. My passion for this industry is continuously driven by the creativity it all is rooted in, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. Still, ‘being creative’ is not a simple function you can apply for at every other organisation. One can be creative in any job – especially in THIS industry. Of course, this makes you think: what do I have to offer? What is my place? How do I differentiate myself from others? Luckily, my internship at P&P Projects gave me a fascinating look into the process of bringing to life unique, mesmerising projects for people to experience. Exactly where my passion for the industry stems from. Then, I was provided the ability to try out working for the Marketing & Acquisition department. Having experienced business to consumer marketing and sales in school, I was interested to find out what the business-to-business prospect had in store. As you might have guessed from my job title, this is still the role I’m in today.

What fascinates me so much about this aspect of the industry is the way your function fully revolves around the core selling point of an organisation: your ‘brand’. In my team, we are constantly tasked with preserving our company’s brand and developing valuable relationships with our clients and partners. As we ‘market’ our brand, we also handle new requests for potential projects. Here, we serve as ambassadors for P&P Projects and everything our company stands for, while we build and maintain relationships in our network. As a team, we are responsible for establishing P&P not just as any vendor – but as a true partner for turnkey projects throughout the entire themed entertainment industry.

Looking at the future, I’m eager to grow in my current role and explore it further. I love learning about commercial strategies and the organisational development that follows. If anything, I’m looking forward to further developing myself at P&P Projects and gaining more experience, which is something extremely valuable. Fresh out of school, my colleagues at P&P have granted me with an opportunity to play a meaningful part in the organization and to put my passion to use.

If I would have to give any advice to young professionals like me aiming to work in this industry, I would say: be your boldest self. Connect with people, make yourself known. Try things out! Gain knowledge and experience as much as you can – let it broaden your network, your horizon and your ambitions. Pinpoint your talents and let your passion be your main driving force. If there’s one thing I now know for sure, it’s that even if you have left school, you NEVER stop learning.

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