Students in classroom with teacher
Dr Colin Drake (far right) with students: Top: Lauren McCann, Laura Ryall, Natalie Serovski, Brad Schulz, Emily Attard, Nathan Johnston. Bottom: Cong Dat Hoang, Jasmin Rifat, Adriana Gordillo Ossa

Victoria University celebrates World Tourism Day on 27 September, proud that it has helped to build the tourism, hospitality and event management industry workforce in Australia and abroad for more than 50 years.

Every year, highly skilled and enthusiastic final-year VU students look for local employers who can provide the 150 hours of work experience that they must complete before they graduate and join this workforce.

Work placements may be short-term assignments, volunteer work, or paid casual or part-time roles.

A broad range of Melbourne organisations have long participated in the program, including Accor Hotels, Quest Apartments, RACV Clubs & Resorts, and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, as well as smaller businesses that can offer meaningful work placements.

Associate Professor Romana Garma, Head of Victoria University Business School, said in many cases, the placement ends up in a permanent job.

“It is such a valuable experience for our students to work in their chosen industry before they graduate. They perform better academically and appreciate the link between theory and practice.”

Placement program to expand

Known at VU as ‘work-integrated learning’, the placement has proven to be so successful that all VU business students in other majors such as accounting, marketing, management and banking will also complete a guaranteed work placement from 2023.     

Sofitel Melbourne on Collins Director of Talent & Culture, Edward Pierce, said the program has proved mutually beneficial to both Sofitel and to VU students since the organisation began participating nearly 20 years ago.

“We benefit by equipping passionate people with real skills to work in the industry, while the students can increase their knowledge with relevant and up-to-date information,” he said.

Student Kayla Irvine said her time as an event management intern at sport talent and marketing agency TLA Worldwide provided an opportunity to apply her classroom theories.

“My placement allowed me to work with and learn from so many talented event management professionals. I was thrilled when they offered me permanent employment at the end of my placement.”

While the sector gradually recovers from the impact of the pandemic, employers continue to face challenges filling skilled roles.

The National Skills Commission recently reported that Australia’s travel, tourism, accommodation, hospitality and events sectors currently face a workforce shortage of about 310,000 staff.  

Organisations interested in discussing work placement opportunities for VU business students can contact: [email protected]