News item

Ocean’s eighteen

15 June 2012

Diploma of Tourism students on the cruise

Students pictured with Pacific Pearl officers after the
onboard question and answer session.

No, this heading isn’t a mistake. There are eighteen students currently studying the Diploma of Tourism (Cruise Operations) course at Hunter Institute and they recently spent three nights out on the Pacific Ocean. Simple.

This may not be part of your typical TAFE NSW learning experience but, then again, Australia’s first cruise qualification isn’t exactly a typical TAFE NSW course. The students who make up this first intake, based at Hamilton campus in Newcastle’s inner city, recently spent three nights onboard the P & O Pacific Pearl as part of their tourism training. While this might sound more like a decadent holiday than a practical training initiative, Hunter Institute cruise teacher, Jonathan Sharp, says the cruise was an important part of the students’ training.

“I can teach (them) about life onboard and the dry knowledge they need to know to consider a career at sea but I can’t teach the feeling on board as the ship pulls away from the dock for the first time,” he said.

During the cruise, the students were given specially guided tours of some crucial service areas including the galley, messes, storage areas and medical centre. The Purser’s Officers also hosted a private reception which included a question and answer session.

Returning to their Hamilton classroom after three days at sea may have been a little bit anti-climactic but the students admitted the experience was extremely valuable for the practical, “behind-the-scenes” insights it provided into the cruise industry. In the words of one student, it was “far more than just cocktails, nightclubs and sun-tanning.”

Hamilton campus staff are now bracing for a tidal wave of enrolments for the course’s second intake.

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