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USP's STHM Careers Fair, a success

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L-R: Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Honourable Faiyaz Siddiq Koya, Professor Richard Coll, USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning Teaching and Student Services and Professor Marcus Stephenson, Head of STHM.

The 2016 Careers Fair for The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM), held at the Shangri-La Fijian Resort on the Coral Coast on 24 September was yet another success with eighty-four (84) students interviewed by eighteen (18) employers in the local tourism industry.

In his welcome address, Head of School, Professor Marcus Stephenson said it was the celebration of an initiative that began a decade ago, and has evolved and developed into an outstanding event on the School’s academic calendar.

“We term this a Careers Fair but in many ways, this is a recruitment event providing real and enabling opportunities for our students to gain placements, internships and long term careers, with well-established and highly respected industry stakeholders,” Professor Stephenson said.

“Hence, indicating the crucial importance of ensuring that higher education fosters employability as a key tenant of the learning objectives and the outcomes of our degree programmes.

And fundamentally higher education and the way in which it nurtures, advances and promotes social responsibility, a key asset of any modern day institution, however big or small,” he said.

USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning Teaching and Student Services), Professor Richard Coll said the fact that the event is now in its 10th year speaks much of the sustainability of the programme, not only from the perspective of the University but from the industry as well.

He stated that ever since the event was initiated it has been mutually beneficial for the University, the industry, and students.

Professor Coll commended the STHM for an event of this nature because it brings about “that connection, it strengthens the links with industry partners and gives phenomenal opportunities for students”.

“It will only work if the School and its programmes are of the highest quality and you will be aware that the University has a strong drive to improve quality,” he said.

According to Professor Coll, the University has embarked on an ambitious programme of accreditation of its programmes and the School has received full accreditation from the International Centre of Excellence in Tourism & Hospitality Education.

He added that the Careers Fair is a clear link between education and the industry.

In his keynote address, Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Honourable Faiyaz Siddiq Koya acknowledged Professor Marcus Stephenson, Head of the STHM and his staff for organising the event to emphasise and strengthen the link between the tourism industry and education, “which is in itself a crucial link if our national development objectives are to be achieved”.

“This Fair provides everyone involved with multiple opportunities – for employers to seek potential employees, for students to explore the market and attain a better understanding of job opportunities and requirements and particularly for graduating students to market themselves and seal contracts,” he stated.

A Careers Fair he said, is an important activity that not only finds a job that pays the bills but also to find a job that makes students feel satisfied in their professional careers.

“You are all part of the sector that has made significant contribution to the Fijian economy and this contribution has been increasing each year.

“We are confident that in no time the tourism industry will be a $2 billion industry and the number employed directly and indirectly in this sector will continue increasing,” Mr Koya said.

Tourism students at the Careers Fair.

He advised students that as people who want to join the industry, service must be at the forefront of their minds and they must carry that in their employment in the tourism industry.

“Our advantage and our greatest asset is our people, which is the most important component in our service delivery.

“And as a service industry, we service our visitors to the best of our ability – our smiles and friendly nature are worth millions of dollars,” he stated.

“That happiness factor each Fijian has is part of our (success) and that DNA, is what you must carry through at all times with respect to employment,” he said.

Mr Koya noted that through their interactions with people from all over the world, they will learn how to appreciate other cultures, build tolerance and develop their skills in service delivery.

He was also proud to announce that his Ministry has a very strong USP alumni, adding that he was accompanied by six of them from the Tourism Unit.

He confirmed that Government has provided the necessary incentives and platform through its education policies to learn and ensure a strong, intelligent workforce, partnering with the private sector, which are paying people well to work in this industry.

Industry personnel represented at the Careers Fair were Hilton Doubletree, Warwick Fiji, Fiji Airways, Radisson Blu Fiji Resort, Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort & Spa, Hilton – Fiji Beach Resort & Spa, Hexagon Group, Mercure, Mindpearl Ltd , Naviti Resort, Laucala Island Resort, Tropica Island Resort,Musket Cove Resort, Holiday Inn Suva, InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, Jacks of Fiji, Starwood Sheraton Fiji and South Sea Services Ltd Vanuatu, - the manning agency for P&O Cruises.

This news item was published on 26 Sep 2016 11:05:23 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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