About 150 years ago the catch cry in the United States of America was, 'Go west, young man', and it proved to be correct as California boomed. Probably the slogan for the current age is, 'Stay East, ICHM graduate'. There are certainly a lot of career opportunities in Asia!
This is the view of Gerald Lipman, chief executive officer of the International College of Hotel Management (ICHM) in Adelaide, Australia.
'Obviously graduates of a hotel school like ICHM are especially interested in job prospects. Their parents have made a significant investment, and there is a natural desire to get a good job', says Gerald.
'The standard approach to international education is that you sign up, travel for your education, get your degree, and then return home. Over the past five years Australia has had a rather liberal migration policy, and more than 50% of our graduates have been able to stay and work in Australia.
But changes to Australia's migration rules mean that parents and students should not assume that they could stay in Australia after getting a bachelor degree. Maybe the graduate would be able to get employer sponsorship and stay in Australia, but this is a risky presumption', says Gerald.
But he points to the old adage-'as one door closes, another opens'. Gerald says the growth of Asia has exceeded expectations, and the world's major hotel chains are expanding rapidly.
While there is no shortage of buildings, there is a shortage of well- trained English speaking graduates, and this is providing great opportunities for the ICHM alumni.
'We see China, Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, and many other countries seeking our graduates. This is not just nationals getting their bachelor's degree qualification and going home.
It is the Swiss going to China; Koreans going to Hong Kong; Indonesians going to Dubai; and Australians and Kiwis going everywhere. The opportunities are not restricted by nationality or destination. In the last year, China was the second biggest destination for our graduates, after Australia.' Most ICHM students start their career with one of the big chains, such as the likes of Accor, Starwood and Hyatt, but there are opportunities with smaller chains, boutique properties, and outside the hotel sector as well.
Gerald says that ICHM is instrumental in helping students get jobs. 'Our own graduate survey shows assistance from ICHM's own Industry The Training and Development team is the leading source of that important first job. But students find positions while they are on their third work placement, or there is contact from one student to another . . .
Network, Network, Network! is not our catch cry for nothing.'
There is no question that ICHM's programme with 50:50 mix of industry placement and academic programme gives ICHM students a big advantage. 'Of course the 100-year old reputation of Swiss Hotel Association is a major plus', says Gerald. 'And more and more the name of ICHM makes a difference. ICHM has not had enough graduates from Sri Lanka to really be able to point to success stories, but in the sub-continent generally it has more graduates in Australia, Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Website: www.ichm.edu.au / CRICOS Provider No.02914G
Source: David Samuel, Business Development Manager, Australian Trade Commission, Colombo-Sri Lanka. E-mail: David.Samuel@austrade.gov.au