One of the key attributes that modern employers are looking for is skill diversity. This is where an employee is hired for one particular role, but also has tangible skills in another area, making themselves more attractive in the market.
For soon-to-be Kenvale College graduate Aiden Hippensteel, this is an important reason behind his decision to study the Combined Advanced Diploma in Events and Advanced Diploma in Hospitality. With a strong cooking and hospitality background, Aiden decided to pursue a combined qualification last year to help him spread his career prospects as wide as possible after finishing his HSC Higher School Certificate (HSC) in 2014.
Hospitality in his blood
Aiden's dad was formerly a chef and this planted the first seeds to join the industry himself. Growing up, he loved to cook at home – experimenting with ingredients and techniques.
In fact, his first job was in a busy Italian restaurant as a kitchenhand where Aiden worked closely with the executive chef at the time. These opportunities are invaluable for those in the hospitality sector as the skills and techniques can put individuals ahead of the competition in the future.
"I used this work experience to completed my Certificate Two in Commercial Cookery during Year 11 and 12, before embarking on three weeks' worth of work experience in two five-star Sydney Hotels and a one-hatted restaurant," Aiden said.
However, Aiden also has a passion for event management and choose to combine his passions at Kenvale College. Nearing the end of his studies, Aiden reflects on his time at the college with fond memories.
Kenvale College – more than just class
Students come to Kenvale College with different end goals, but are all passionate about advancing their careers as much as possible. Aiden believes that there are many reasons why Kenvale College is one of the top higher education faculties in NSW for the hospitality and event management industries.
"Most lecturers work or have worked in the hospitality or event industry," Aiden said.
"Most lecturers work or have worked if the hospitality or event industry."
Combine this notion with the small class sizes and students are able to access personalised learning with the lecturers look after everyone on an individualised basis.
"This allows 1:1 mentorship in every class and the chance to interact and get to know fellow students," he noted.
For Aiden, one of the real highlights of his time at Kenvale College was the food and beverage course where the students got to experiment in a real-life bar – pouring beers, making cocktails and tasting a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages.
Of course, what every course at Kenvale College aims to do is get students into the workforce. During the Combined Advanced Diploma in Events and Advanced Diploma in Hospitality course, Aiden worked at Rydges Hotel and Resort Parramatta, but also used his skills and knowledge as the Sydney Trail Series Manager working for Big Run Events and Event Safety Services.
Work, study, work, study
Remarkably, as well as studying at Kenvale College, Aiden has no less than three part-time jobs on the go. The majority of his time was spent at Rydges Hotel and Resort Parramatta – the job that Kenvale College set him up with.
"I work in the events and conferencing team as a shift supervisor. I also work across other departments – mainly bar – during busy race days and race meets," he said.
When Aiden isn't interacting with punters after a big race, you might be lucky enough to see him at Event Safety Services where he looks after event safety and logistics for a wide range of remote and large events.
"My main tasks include advanced first-aid rescue, event communication, event safety, logistics and emergency management," Aiden explained.
Finally, Aiden works for Big Run Events as the Sydney Trail Series Manager. He looks after six major Sydney-based trail runs that occur throughout the year, while helping out on the large scale events as a personal assistant to the event director.
"This includes the Big Red Run and Big Red Bash which recently was awarded the honour of Australia's favourite event," he said.
If you are wondering how Aiden got so many jobs, the key is dedication and an open network of contacts. As he states, the event management industry is all about who you know and by getting involved and gaining that experience, you are well on your way to a successful career.
A future in hospitality or events?
As Aiden has a plethora of skills to draw on, his potential is almost limitless. While his background is in cooking and hospitality, he has his eyes firmly set on a career in event management – working on some of the biggest events in Australia.
"I want to progress into a major events company where you can work in a number of different events."
"I want to progress into a major events company where you can work in a number of different events. I would like to move into major events, keeping my mind open to both Australia and international employment opportunities – I'd love to see what is available in other countries," he noted.
In the interim, Aiden plans to explore full-time in the event management industry – building on the rich foundations of Kenvale College and his sector experience.
If you would like to learn more about the course that Aiden participated in, contact the team at Kenvale College today.