When I graduated school in 2012, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. It wasn’t until after a two-year gap and a family holiday that I decided I wanted to work on a cruise boat. TAFE Queensland didn’t exactly have any degrees which catered specifically for cruise jobs, but I decided that I would give a Certificate III in Events a crack. I completed this in the first semester of 2015 and decided, with my teachers help, that it would be a great idea study hospitality in the second semester. After completing two certificate III's which I loved, I wanted to develop my knowledge further. At the end of 2015 I decided to enrol in the Diploma of Events and the Diploma of Hospitality, and now I've got four qualifications!
I remember my first ever hospitality service like it was yesterday. I was carrying a tray full of glasses of wine, and dropped them as I reached the table. Glass went everywhere, and I’m not ashamed to say I fled the scene. One of the wines actually went straight down a ladies back. It’s safe to say I avoided drink runs for the rest of my time at TAFE Queensland.
In saying that, the hands-on, practical experience is definitely what I enjoyed the most. There were so many events and functions we, as students, were able to take part in and volunteer for. I had a chance to coordinate the Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea in 2015 and 2016, as well as be a part of helping with the bump-in and running of the Toowoomba Flower, Food and Wine Festival over the past two years, which I thoroughly enjoyed. We also had opportunities to be student events volunteers at open days and other events held both on and off campus.
Last year, during 2016, we were also lucky enough to go on an excursion to Suncorp Stadium. This was a highlight for me as I love sport and have always wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a venue like this. We even met one of the events coordinator who looks after the organisation of the NRL, State of Origin and concerts. She was only in her mid 20’s, so it was encouraging to see someone so young living her dream, and proved to me that we can all do what we want so long as we study and work hard.
My past two years at TAFE have been both stressful and exciting. I learnt quickly that being in this industry requires teamwork, and (cliché alert) I’m sure we all know that there is no 'I' in team. Everyone must play their part, both in the lead up to the event, on the day and even in the weeks after. Plan B’s are also a must have, and I know this applies to many industries (not just events management).
Without TAFE Queensland I wouldn’t have gained the knowledge and skills I now have or meet the amazing people I have over my time here. I have to say thank you especially to my teachers as they were one of the main reasons that I and many of my classmates kept coming back week in and week out. So appreciate and take advantage of your teachers if you choose to study at TAFE, they are incredibly dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced.
Where to now? I was privileged enough to give the Student's Address at the 2017 Toowoomba Graduation and win the "FOCUS" Bob Walker Memorial Award for Excellence in Vocational Education. Graduation was a fantastic day and a great way to end my time at TAFE Queensland. Now I’m currently in the process of applying for a new passport as travel is something I can’t wait to do more of in the future, whether that be working on cruise boats or backpacking. I’ve also recently applied to volunteer at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next year on the Gold Coast. I'm looking forward to the next adventure.
Some advice for everyone regardless of what stage they're are in their journey:
Be patient. Some things take more time than others, and the last thing you want to do is rush into something you’re unsure about.
Take every opportunity you can - and if you make a mistake, learn from it.
Make every moment count, and you can make great happen.