Events students building their brand: professionals behind the scenes
Tuesday, 12 June 2018
When you recall events or functions that you’ve attended, you think of the many memories you have associated with that occasion. What you don’t give thought to or even notice are the professionals behind the scenes who put in the hard work to make the occasion stand out and run smoothly: professionals such as the caterers and events staff, the fixers and the creators, the visionaries who put together the plates of food that make you ooh and aah and reach for another delectable morsel before the wait staff disappear from your sight…
Our students who are starting out in their Events and Hospitality careers are also learning to be professionals in their chosen careers – to become the creators and fixers, dream capturers and memory makers, learning to create and cater for the seamless, perfect event from start to finish so all you see is the wow factor, and not the strategy and planning and many hours of hard work and final touches to pull it off! Organising opportunities to see occasions such as these where the students are able to participate in a work experience capacity is the domain of our very own industry professionals-turned teachers, Brett White and Nikki McIntosh.
A local event such as the Albury Gold Cup earlier this year was just one such incredible opportunity, full of possibilities for our students! Our teachers attended early on the day of the Cup with a rostering of enthusiastic students who are studying either Certificate III in Hospitality or Certificate III in Events at Wodonga TAFE as their starting point into their careers in the services industries.
The first highlight for our students was meeting the CEO of Albury Racing Club, Michael Wighton, who took the time to speak with them about the upcoming event. Students also participated in a site visit with Jackie Morgan, Albury Racing’s Hospitality & Events Coordinator, where they were able to see all that happens behind the scenes and experience the pre-event buzz, with exclusive pre-access to the event tents. Students were then assigned to assist the highly skilled professionals from Fiona Landy Catering where they gained insight into the organised hive of activity that makes such an event flow smoothly. From setting up the Gold marquee, placing dining settings, serving up meals, and cleaning up after lunch, our students were able to be hands-on, to observe and experience the behind-the-scenes buzz - immersed into a real-life event that is a feature of the region’s social calendar!
For our Events and Hospitality students, this experience enables them to build on their involvement at another large local event they participated in earlier in the year, the North East Food and Wine Festival that was held in central Wodonga in March. This enables the students to keep adding to their portfolio of diverse skills and experience.
Wodonga TAFE’s Events Teacher, Brett White, explained how the students also gain a better understanding of how they are building their own personal brand and reputation in their chosen industry.
“These site visits and immersions in industry events are all opportunities for our students to network and work alongside local producers and employers”, said Brett. “Each industry experience for our students is getting their name out there. Even work experience and volunteering at a range of local events is giving them the potential to be the next paid employee, the next site manager that employers are looking for!”