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by Heather Leggett

L-R: Terri Herrero, Jemma Graham and Tim Boundy outside the YATEC Mentoring Program launch. Tourism’s next superstars will be getting their feet wet this year as part of the Young Australian Tourism Export Council’s Mentoring Program.

The program connects final year undergraduate students with industry experts to provide them with a year’s worth of insight into the tourism industry.

UniSA Bachelor of Tourism Management students Jemma Graham, Tim Boundy, Terri Herrero, Serena Gasparini and Alice Wyly were selected for the program. Over the course of a year they will meet monthly with their mentors, attend industry functions and ultimately gain a pass to look behind the scenes of the tourism business.

The program aims to match students with an industry professional whose expertise closely aligns with their ultimate career goals. This year, the UniSA students’ mentors range from a Tourism Manager in the Adelaide Hills to a Sales Executive for Intercontinental Adelaide.

Tim Boundy, who is looking to break into the tourism industry this year, has been partnered with Daniel Csortan, Area Director of Sales and Marketing for Oaks Hotels and Resorts, and says the mentoring program is a fantastic bridging device between students and industry leaders.

“I’m looking toward a career in hotels and accommodation,” Tim says. “This is exciting because it opens up doors that would not normally be open until you’d progressed further into the industry.”

Terri Herrero, who already works full time in the coach touring industry on top of her study, says that the experience will allow her to gain ‘real world’ knowledge.

“I’ll learn communication skills, networking skills and a unique professional perspective,” she says. “From the launch event alone we’ve had the chance to meet successful tourism professionals such as the Chairman of the South Australian Tourism Commission, Bob Foord, and the Chief Executive of Education Adelaide, Denise von Wald.”

Matt Guy from the Young Australian Tourism Export Council (and Marketing Executive NZ and the Americas for the South Australian Tourism Commission), says the program aims to build on the knowledge that students gain through their academic studies.

“Participating in this program is like having a key to the tourism industry,” he says. “We aim to give students the confidence and skills to work anywhere in the world.”

Student Serena Gasparini says that the YATEC mentorship program is just one example of the opportunities that are offered at UniSA.

“During my time at the University, interaction with industry is pushed to the forefront and frequent opportunities are offered,” she says. “All it takes to benefit is to respond to an email, apply for a voluntary position or attend network functions.”

Fellow student Jemma Graham says that it’s this focus on industry connections that has made her time at UniSA so special.

“My tutors and lecturers have all worked in the industry,” she says. “It means they’re able to provide real life examples that are truly relevant.”

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