STHM students at The Westin Denarau following their interviews.
A total of ninety-four (94) students from The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Tourism and Hospitality (STHM) had an opportunity to interact directly with industry representatives during the Careers Fair held at The Westin Denarau on 28 September 2018.
This year the event was sponsored by the Marriot Group (Sheraton Fiji and The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Fiji) and other Denarau properties such as Radisson Blu Fiji Resort, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific Pty Ltd and Sofitel Fiji resort and Spa. Of this number, 64 were graduates while the remaining were Hotel Management interns.
The event is an opportunity for STHM’s graduating students to talk directly with potential employers on potential career paths and opportunities. It was also an opportune time for the employers to seek out potential employees.
Dr Dawn Gibson, Acting Head of School said they were into their 12th year of the event, organised in consultation with industry stakeholders and it has always turned out to be a success. This year’s event featured 21 employers.
Students enrolled into the Bachelor of Hotel Management programme also attended the fair in an attempt to secure their one-year internships.
According to Dr Gibson, this year there were a total of 30 interns but the number is expected to double because of the increase in enrolments.
“In fact our enrolments have more than doubled, our 100 level classes are offered over two semesters and enrolments have now reached approximately 789,” she stated.
Dr Gibson said since the inaugural event in 2006, the Fair has seen a lot of students gaining employment immediately after successful completion of their studies.
“When we started we only had the Bachelor of Arts in Tourism Studies and Bachelor of Arts in Tourism and Hospitality programme. Now we have the Bachelor of Commerce in Tourism Management, Bachelor of Commerce in Tourism and Hospitality Management and the Bachelor of Commerce in Hotel Management where industry insists on interviewing interns hence the ever increasing numbers,” Dr Gibson said.
“Because of the concern that our students were not getting employed, we decided to sit together with our industry partners to brainstorm ideas on how we were going to tackle this issue.
“Holding a Careers Fair seemed appropriate as it would bring together industry and students, both in Fiji and regionally with representatives from countries such as Cook Islands and Vanuatu. Industry throughout the region receive the STHM Graduate Portfolio which contain the biodata for graduating students and interns,” she explained.
She added that for regional students, the STHM was working on holding a similar event soon in the Solomon Islands Campus due to the existing demand.
Dr Gibson acknowledged the industry representatives saying she hoped they found the event useful in identifying talented graduates for their respective teams, and in exchange, assist STHM students to develop their professional network for future development.
Ms Ella Bennion, STHM’s Industry Liaison Officer said that it is important that students make use of this golden opportunity.
“This is their first interaction and exposure with the industry so we are urging our students to make the most of it,” she said.
“This is the only shot they get to secure a job while still studying, once they are done and out of here they will do this all by themselves and nowhere else will you get so many employers under one roof,” she stated.
Participating organisations included Fiji Airways, Hexagon Group, Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa, Laucala Island Resort, Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, Mercure Nadi, Novotel Nadi, Musket Cove Resort, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Raffe Hotels & Resorts, Reddy Group of Companies (Tanoa Hotels), Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Sheraton Fiji (also representing The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Fiji), Six Senses Fiji, Treasure Island Resort, Tropica Island Resort, Yatule Resort, Radisson Blu Fiji Resort, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific Pty Ltd and Tourism Fiji.
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