After working as an assistant manager at his family’s motel in Sri Lanka, the hospitality business was a natural fit for Jinath Bandara Premadasa.
But when he decided to extend his qualifications beyond diploma level, he had trouble finding a suitable course. After hearing good things about Australia, Jinath applied to Melbourne Polytechnic where he is in his final year of study for the Bachelor of Hospitality Management.
Jinath, who previously completed a diploma at a hotel school in Kandy, says he enjoys the smaller classes at Melbourne Polytechnic (formeraly known as NMIT) and the easy access to lecturers and class teachers. “The degree covers the practical side of hospitality operations with topics like food and beverage, accommodation and event management, but it also provides general management skills such as human resources management, marketing and finance, so it opens up other career possibilities,” he says.
The facilities and industry experience offered at Melbourne Polytechnic’s Preston campus was another drawcard for the Badulla student. “I get excellent practical experience through the training facilities like St George’s Restaurant, where students cook and serve an a la carte menu, run the bar and manage reservations. Melbourne Polytechnic has the same support facilities as the universities including access to computers, library resources and student services.”
But students get more one-on-one time at Melbourne Polytechnic, says Jinath. “At university you have to make an appointment to see the lecturer, but at Melbourne Polytechnic if you have a problem with an assignment or exam, you can see your class teacher straight away.”
Along with his studies, Jinath has been busy involving himself in other aspects of student life, like volunteering as a student ambassador, which gives him the opportunity to talk to others about Melbourne Polytechnic’s hospitality degree. “Being a student ambassador helps me to understand more about public relations and marketing,” says Jinath.
After discovering Australian Rules football he has also become an ardent supporter of Essendon Football Club. “I have been to a few football matches and also to some of Melbourne’s Food and Wine Festivals in the Yarra Valley. This has given me a great insight into the Australian food and wine industry. Australian life introduces you to a very multicultural market which is good experience for someone who wants to work in the hospitality industry.”
After finishing his degree later this year, Jinath plans to return to the family business in Uva Province. But before he leaves, there are plans to squeeze in a few more footy games and a trip to Tasmania.
Bachelor of Hospitality Management (3rd year)