A Student Tells: The 3 Key Benefits of Industry Placements for Your Career in Hotel and Events Management

Perhaps you want to kick start your career in Events or Hotel Management, so you decide to enrol in a course. But, do you know if the university or college you’re about to commit to offers a industry placement program?

You should definitely find out before you make your decision.

There have been a number of studies conducted over the last ten years that are all pointing to the same results. In several surveys following recent graduates, researchers have been finding that ‘employability’ skills, or ‘soft skills’ are just as important as study and training, when it comes to getting a position and doing well in it.

A recent survey of reputed hotel companies, including Marriott, Hilton and Kimpton, found that 66% of employees were hired because they had experience as well as education. 

The good news is that these ‘soft skills,’ (skills such as communication, listening, conflict resolution, working in teams, problem solving and time management) can be learned, just like anything else you study. The difference is that they are learned through hands-on experience and practice, in your chosen field, rather than books.

That’s where work placements come in.

Shinae Sullivan came to the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School all the way from Alice Springs, Northern Territory, following her dream of a career in events management.

“Growing up, I had a keen interest in hospitality, but events have always excited to me. It is a rush, having something different to do each day. No event will ever be the same. There are so many different types of industries where a career in event management can take you. I love knowing that I will have that freedom in my career.

I wanted to get the best experience, so I went to the best school.”

Shinae is now in her third year of a Bachelor of Business (International Event Management). All bachelor degrees include two work placements as part of the coursework. Students can gain valuable experience by  working for some of the School’s highly reputable Graduate Privileged Partner hotel brands, including Hyatt, Hilton, Sofitel, Four Seasons, Marriot, and TFE, among others.

Shinae has recently completed her second industry placement. So, what did she find were the three main benefits of this experience?

  1. A range of new skills (and an inspiring mentor!)

“For the second placement, I was lucky to work with the events team at Torrens University Australia. My manager is amazing at what she does. She always has a solution, and knows how to get things done.

 I learnt so much from her, but the main things included the back end of event planning, such as: budgeting, venue comparisons, contacting clients, action-plans, run sheets… the list could go on.”

  1. Turning theory into experience

“Completing my first Industry Placement at a resort, complete with convention center, allowed me to gain some really valuable experience in event management. I was able to work in various roles, gaining a broad understanding on the business.

 I even had the opportunity to take on a supervisor role, allowing me to take on additional responsibilities. The theory that you learn on campus makes much more sense when you are on placement, you are applying it in a real-life scenario.”

  1. Industry contacts

“I really valued my time with the events team, and the many sales and marketing people I was introduced to. Everyone taught me a lot and were very kind and patient teaching me knew things.

I decided to do it because I knew it was a great opportunity and a big step in the right direction and I would do it again.”

Shinae is working hard to get where she wants to be. She’s already started on-the-job training before she’s even finished her degree.

She is currently being trained as a conferencing and events coordinator at Vibe Hotel, while working as a casual Food and Beverage waitress. With just one semester to go, she can’t wait to get out and start her career.

I am enjoying the work, but I do look forward to finishing my degree so I can get full-time work in an events focused business. My hope for the future is to get a job as an event coordinator, and work my way up to manager.

Watch this video and see what others have to say about a career in the Events Industry

I still have a lot to learn but I am thankful to the people who helped me get to where I am already.”

See here for more information on the Bachelor of Business (International Hotel & Resort Management) at the Blue Mountains School. Or, follow this link for further information about the Blue Mountains Industry Placement program.