With 335,000 job opportunities forecast over the next three years*, the Australian tourism and hospitality industry is set to make a come back in 2010. However, job seekers should take note, the days of rising through the ranks without a qualification are over.
Stuart Wiggins, deputy head of the William Blue College of Hospitality Management, says there has never been a better time to pursue a career in tourism and hospitality management.
“Demand for highly skilled hospitality and tourism management professionals remains high, despite suggestions the industry took a hit during the GFC. And while our sector has suffered in some shape or form, the industry has managed to retain staff and keep busy,” he said.
According to Wiggins the professionalisation of the industry has resulted in employers placing a high priority on business qualifications and all major hospitality and tourism organisations now require graduates and trainees to have a degree qualification.
“Employers are looking for graduates with more than just entry-level skills. They want industry-ready professionals equipped with strong interpersonal and communications skills, a good work ethic, a sound knowledge of food and beverage in addition to business and management skills and qualifications.”
He has also seen a growing number of students studying with the intention of going into business for themselves.
“The professional skills students acquire, combined with a keen entrepreneurial instinct is the stuff business success stories are made of,” said Stuart Wiggins.
“Our students have the skills to start out in hotel management, move into event management or lead tourism operations in the cruise liner or airline sectors all with the one qualification.”
After graduating from William Blue College of Hospitality Management with a Bachelor of Business (Tourism & Hospitality) and Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management, Sara Iravani moved straight into a management position as Assistant Duty Manager at Medina Classic Crows Nest, owned by international parent company TOGA Group.
Sara was the youngest person in the entire TOGA Group to manage a hotel without direct supervision and now works as a Territory Sales Manager for Constellation Hotels Group, an international hotel company.
Bachelor of Business graduate, Matthew Abrahams, says studying at William Blue provided him with a strong understanding of industry operations, and also secured him a position with the Toga Hospitality Group.
Recently promoted to duty manager for Toga, Matthew says he was drawn to hotel management for its diverse and challenging work environment.
“One of my recent jobs involved relocating to Darwin for the opening of the Medina Grand and Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront, a dual-hotel. Working closely with the regional manager I was involved in organising décor, establishing operational procedures and training staff,” said Matthew.
“My role now includes managing staff, overseeing the restaurant and housekeeping, budgeting and dealing with guests on a daily basis. I’m constantly looking for opportunities to improve my abilities to become a better manager.”
“Hotel management is far from just a desk job. Every day is different and you need good people, time management, problem solving and business skills to deliver the best customer experience. At the end of the day it’s all about the guest and making their day, makes my day,” he said.
William Blue courses (with majors in Hospitality Management, Tourism Management and Event Management) have been developed in consultation with leading academics and industry bodies, such as the Australian Association of Hotel Schools (AAHS), AHA (NSW) and the International Centre of Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Education (THE-ICE)
Applications for 2010 study are now open for on-campus and Flexible and Online Learning (FOL) courses. All Australian students can apply for FEE-HELP or VET FEE-HELP. For more information call William Blue on 1300 851 237 or visit their website www.williamblue.edu.au
* Jobs outlook is optimistic, Daily telegraph, 14 December 2009.