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Scott's a teacher who's walking the walk

Scott Edmonds is a hospitality teacher with a passion for sharing his knowledge and experience with others. A regional finalist for VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year at the 2021 Queensland Training Awards, this TAFE Queensland teacher adopts a flexible, five-star approach to training.

Prior to starting his teaching career Scott worked at several well-known luxury hotels and destinations including Sheraton Mirage, Peppers, The Crowne Plaza, and Hayman Island.

Scott's journey into hospitality started just like many of his students, completing a Diploma of Hospitality Management (SIT50416) at TAFE Queensland. From there, he got his first job as a bar person following excursions to local hotels with his graduating class, organised by his TAFE Queensland teacher. Within 10 days of visiting the Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas, and after commenting on how wonderful it would be to be work at the Pool Bar, Scott was employed.

His dedicated work ethic quickly saw him promoted to manage all of the hotel’s bars. He was then asked to develop and deliver internal short courses to his colleagues which is when Scott developed an early taste for his eventual career in teaching.

Fast forward to now, and just like his original TAFE Queensland teacher, Scott maintains positive connections with local tourism and hospitality sector operators, and prides himself on his ability to connect his students with employers.

“People come to TAFE for a job, not a certificate to put on the wall. Walking past a venue and seeing a current or graduate student working in a role they're interested in is a fantastic feeling and keeps me motivated,” he said.

In fact, Scott’s strong connections see local operators calling him regularly with offers of work for his students. For example, one single hotel took on seven TAFE Queensland students in 2020 — a significant number for a business in the area.

During the industry-wide shutdown at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Scott used the opportunity to reinforce his relationships with industry, such that when local businesses eventually re-opened, thirteen of his fourteen Certificate II in Tourism (SIT20116) students were offered and completed their work placement requirements.

Being based at TAFE Queensland's Whitsundays campus, many of Scott’s students are international students who've come to the region hoping to get qualifications to assist them to live in Australia. Teaching students whose first language is not English can pose a challenge from both a language and cultural perspective, so he works closely with the AMEP (Adult Migrant English Program) teacher to ease the process.

Scott has also risen to the challenge of delivering training to students from a variety of different backgrounds and abilities.

“I introduced rolling starts for qualifications as a way to take students on at any time in the semester. This means we take students when they have the energy to enrol, grab them while they’re absolutely focused on what they want to do and then make life interesting in their studies, so they remain engaged," he said.

“I also teach all qualifications in the one class. This sees students learning off each other, working on different assessments and activities. But it also ensures they get a well-rounded understanding of how the industry operates, how all roles come together and how they can complement each other,” Scott explained.

If Scott sounds like a teacher who's incredibly dedicated to his cause, that’s because he is. Throughout 2020, in addition to teacher, Scott worked for three different employers on a casual basis.

“You know that old saying ‘Those who can do, do, those who can’t…’? Well, choosing to continue to work in your industry shows you can ‘walk the walk’ to both students and employers. It ensures currency, relevancy, and my abilities demonstrate to employers what I’m teaching my students. This in turn will increase my students' chances of vocational placement and subsequent employment,” Scott explained.

For anyone thinking about making the switch to a career in hospitality, especially as we begin to emerge from the ongoing effects of the pandemic, Scott is very positive.

“I've always enjoyed the interaction of people in the hospitality industry. I also really enjoy the great feeling in a group of people working together in an instant team. There's always time for some laughs before, during and after service. Absolutely go for it!”