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Hunt is on for tourism and hospitality graduates


Brigid Veale
31 August 2007
School leavers are being encouraged to consider a career in tourism and hospitality as demand increases for university graduates throughout the industry.

Representatives from one of Australia’s leading hotel groups, Marriott International have been visiting Southern Cross University’s Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Tweed Gold Coast campuses over the last week to educate the university students on the internships and graduate program opportunities available within their Australian hotel properties.

“We need to be attracting talented and service orientated professional students to join the Marriott family as we are looking for our future Marriott managers,” according to Tom Fitzgerald, human resource manager for the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel.

“The Marriott chain of hotels is expanding rapidly and there are lots of career opportunities. Southern Cross University is an untapped market for us.”

Natasha Rasheed, area director of human resources for NSW and Victoria, said they had developed an 18-month graduate program which gave the participants experience in a range of hotels and across all areas of the hotel operation.

“The industry is growing and everyone is looking for talented staff, not just in operational disciplines such as food and beverage and rooms division but also in sales and marketing, human resources and finance,” Ms Rasheed said.

“We really want to recruit the best qualified and talented people for all our positions.”

Grant Cairncross, a senior lecturer in Southern Cross University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, has been researching employment trends in the hospitality sector.

“The industry has been suffering from skills shortages, including middle and senior manager positions,” he said. “If you ask employers in the industry what their main concerns are the first ones are usually about getting the right staff.”

Mr Cairncross said the buoyant job market and the traditionally high turnover rates of employees were contributing to the skills shortages.

The issues facing the industry have also been highlighted in the report ‘Current Vacancies: workforce challenges facing the Australian tourism sector’ presented to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Workplace Relations and Workforce Participation in June of this year.

The report looks at how best to support continued employment growth in the industry and ensure Australia remains a top tourist destination, supported by well trained staff.

“The tourism and hospitality industry offers fantastic career opportunities, but we need to ensure we can attract top students into this field and provide the necessary conditions to provide long-term career paths,” Mr Cairncross said.

Photo: Human resources manager for Sydney Harbour Marriott, Tom Fitzgerald and area director of human resources for NSW/VIC Natasha Rasheed have been visiting Southern Cross University campuses in Lismore, Tweed Gold Coast and Coffs Harbour looking for applicants to join the Marriott family.