Internship at Thomas Cook ends after two days

He had worked there for two days when the travel agent Thomas Cook went bankrupt. Now Master of Aerospace Engineering student Brent Kool is looking for a new internship.

He had worked there for two days when the travel agent Thomas Cook went bankrupt. (Photo: Brent Kool)

The bankruptcy of Thomas Cook has put tens of thousands of employees on the street. Among them is the TU Delft Master’s Brent Kool. He had just started when his internship came to an abrupt end after two days.

What an awful situation. Were you prepared for this?
“Not really. My supervisor explained the situation before my internship started. I knew that Thomas Cook was in financial trouble, but I also knew that there were investors who could bail out the company. I never expected such a big company to topple. In the two days that I was there, plans were even being made for 2021. On Friday 20 September we heard that it could all end badly. In the night of Sunday to Monday, my supervisor sent a message saying that Thomas Cook had filed for bankruptcy.”

What was your first reaction when you heard the news?
“I first thought about my colleagues. It doesn’t affect me personally that badly. At the most it will mean studying a couple of months longer and covering the costs of accommodation and flights. For my colleagues it’s much worse. Some of them have worked for the company for more than 20 years. They all received me so warmly that, even though I only worked there for two days, I feel really bad that they’ve lost their jobs. I hope they get back on their feet soon.”

‘I wanted to gain experience abroad’

How did a student of Aerospace Engineering end up at Thomas Cook?
“Diederik-Jan Bos, an Aerospace Engineering alumni who worked at Thomas Cook, called for interns through the Faculty’s internship agency. I wanted to gain work experience abroad and applied immediately. I was accepted in mid-August and could start in September.”

What were you going to do at Thomas Cook?
“I was going to work on crew pairing. This is a process where you link personnel’s work times to flights. You then make a roster. This allows greater flexibility and you can take the preferences of the cabin crew into account. The company had bought a new software package and I was going to help optimise and expand the software to make the crew pairing more efficient. I was also going to be involved in further automating the process.”

What are you going to do now?
“While I’m in Manchester I’ll try to find a new internship. If that doesn’t work out I’ll pack my bags and move back to Delft and start looking again.”

What kind of internship are you interested in?
“I really want international experience. I’m looking for a challenging job with responsibility in operations, logistics, optimisation or data science, preferably in the aerospace industry.”

Brent Kool (24) is a Master’s student of Aerospace Engineering – Control & Stimulation. During his studies he worked as Secretary of the VSV “Leonardo da Vinci” student association and as student assistant for the Mentor Alumni Programme.   

News editor Marjolein van der Veldt

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