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Studiously multi-tasking while honing sailing prowess takes student places

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Studiously multi-tasking while honing sailing prowess takes student places

Lisa McPhee honing sailing prowess

22 May 2019

Wollongong local, Lisa McPhee, is about to complete a Certificate IV in Hospitality with TAFE NSW, while studying a Bachelor of Health and Physical Education at university, working and winning two sailing regattas to boot.

Although Ms McPhee has a lot of hospitality experience, she wanted to secure industry-recognised qualifications. “I chose this course because I wanted to formalise my skills after working in this industry for 10 years on every front, from fast food to silver service at the BAFTA Awards in London,” she said.

Ms McPhee worked at the popular Customs House Hotel in Hobart prior to studying hospitality. “This experience was a good precursor to the theory as the service standards were high and affected the hotel’s ratings,” she said. “I needed to be the best host I could be to anyone walking in the doors, while ensuring that I supported a well-trained team. This course cemented that we were doing a good job all along and gave me insight into more senior management roles and responsibilities.”

Ms McPhee particularly enjoyed learning about behind the scenes social media aspects. “Being from the digital era, it’s interesting to see how what we post online can have a positive or negative impact on business, depending on when and what is posted,” she said. “I know I’ll enjoy the benefits of my TAFE Digital studies when I graduate, as my ultimate aim is to be an inspirational hospitality high school teacher who incorporates leading edutech developments into lessons.”

To balance her academic pursuits, Ms McPhee does a lot of sailing, which she started while working in Hobart. “I was working at Customs House Hotel when the Sydney to Hobart docked in 2015, and was lucky enough to see Comanche come in,” she said. “It was a surreal experience, and made me want to try it.”

Ms McPhee is qualified as crew now, has been part of two winning regatta teams and is well on her way to becoming a skipper. “I’ve not been part of the Sydney to Hobart yet, but check in with me in five years and we’ll see if that’s changed!,” she said.

There certainly is no holding Ms McPhee back. “The flexibility of studying online with TAFE Digital was critical to me. I loved that I was not confined to specific times and could do assignments in my pyjamas at midnight if I wanted to,” she said. “I was juggling work, moving between two states (TAS and NSW), ensuring I met my course deadlines, and also started studying at university.”

Ms McPhee also does part time work with St John’s Ambulance. “It’s amazing how people-oriented hospitality skills are useful in all aspects of my work, whether it be serving people in a hotel, teaching or emergency services.”

To find our more about TAFE Digital’s hundreds of online courses across a range of modern industries, please visit

Media contact: Bonny Gunn, TAFE Digital Media Business Partner. M: 0417 134 048