Kenvale College student Alejandro Kiceleff feels more at home in Sydney than he does in his Swiss hometown.
Kiceleff, 20, is from a municipality close to Zurich. Sydney is his first experience of a big city, but it wasn’t long before he fell in love with it. “While Australia shares some of Switzerland’s qualities, it has more life to it. There is always something to do here, and so many people to meet from all over the world.”
It makes an ideal setting for dreamers hungry to make their mark in one of the most exciting hospitality scenes in the world today. That’s why Kenvale College secures paid industry employment for each student as soon as possible at the beginning of their course.
Students who elect to study in the college’s two-year programmes are required to work 1,600 hours in approved hospitality or events establishments. A typical week at Kenvale College consists of two days of classes and approximately 20 hours of paid work experience.
From Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group to ICC Sydney and Fresh Catering, the college has a wide range of industry connections for students to choose from. Kiceleff — who is working towards an Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management — landed a role as a waiter at Australia’s largest airline Qantas. He said, “I enjoyed it, learned a lot and made some very close friends.”
On campus, lecturers are always ready to help. Kiceleff’s lecturers often encourage his class to ask if they were unsure about anything. He believes it is their lessons that made him “a better and more efficient employee.”
Coursemate Raphael Lee feels the same about his lecturers. Lee’s placement is as a line cook with Meat & Wine Co at Parramatta, an award-winning popular chain under Seagrass. As his lecturers are active practitioners, he feels a personal connection with them, while they are understanding of the sometimes difficult balance of coursework and paid work. The 18-year-old from New South Wales, Australia said, “My lecturers are very supportive and provide plenty of time to complete set tasks. When in need of extra help, the lecturers are always there to help me out.”
This combination of a tight-knit campus community and big industry opportunities is what makes Kenvale College stand out from other colleges. Lecturers and staff are always on-hand to help students make the most of their studies and time in Australia.
When Advanced Diploma of Event Management student Helena Kvasnovska needed to complete a volunteering unit for one of her modules, the college’s Head of Industry Liaison and Mentoring Bernie McFarlane helped her organise an interview with the Children’s Cancer Institute. Kvasnovska remembers hearing powerful stories of young cancer survivors there and today, she’s creating a database of donors to contact to raise funds for cancer research. The volunteering stint is turning out to be the highlight of the 37-year-old Slovak’s time in Australia.
Kvasnovska’s experience reflects the kind of support each Kenvale College student receives from the get-go. Her mentor was Academic Director Sandra Clark, whom she felt a “great connection” from their first meeting. “She is a big inspiration and it was absolutely a pleasure to be mentored by her,” she said. As for her favourite lecturer, it’s Louise McAlpine who taught the classes related to events. With the well-known active practitioner’s help, Kvasnovska landed gigs at the Jewish House Gala Dinner in ICC and 2019 Sydney Caravan & Camping Lifestyle expo.
This welcoming and inclusive nature of Kenvale College is what drew local student Nicholas Bines to pursue a Certificate IV Commercial Cookery and an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management here. The 19-year-old had previously taken part in the college’s High Flyer scholarship programme. Staff and student ambassadors were as “extremely helpful” then as they are now, according to Bines. Lecturers bring “a wealth of knowledge” and experience from their hospitality backgrounds.
“They are always supportive and flexible if you are struggling to keep up with coursework for whatever reason. They are always looking out for students, constantly asking how we are coping in our workplace and if there is anything they can do to help us in our journey,” he explained.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck Australia earlier this year, Kenvale College acted swiftly to ensure learning continued with minimal disruption. Classes went online and the college emerged with no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff, students or any person who has visited its premises. “Even throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, the Industry Placement team has been able to provide constant sources of employment, quickly adapting to the shutting down of most restaurants. They connected with aged care facilities that remained open and provided students with work related to food production,” Bines said.
Kenvale College’s campus is now open with social distancing guidelines in place. Theory classes will remain online, but students can opt to attend practical classes which will resume with strict safety measures in place, or choose to defer them to a later date. It is also making special financial considerations for students.
Chief Executive Officer of Kenvale College Anne Zahra said, “Last but not least, the college is concerned of student wellbeing, including social, mental and financial. Our student services and support are operating as usual … We will be staying in contact with you during this period of online learning and want to support you anyway we can.”
Applications and enrollments for September intake are open. Speak to a course adviser here.