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Providing students real-life experiences in hospitality

We have welcomed students from Marist Regional College back for some first-hand experience across the hotel’s departments. 

With some familiar faces and great attitudes across the group, it is always a fantastic experience for us. 

Allow us to share a little of their experience with you as they continue to learn and pave the way for their futures.

Want to understand more about what they are doing? You can read our post from last September which also profiles Hayley and Thomas who are now in their second year and gearing up to graduate.

Chloe working with the Guest Services team
Alex pouring a beer in Millers Sports Bar

“It was exciting to see the young generation getting the opportunity to show their skills from what they study inside a classroom. They have a passion for the industry, and it is more developing their skills and moving forward.

“Students have a great opportunity to understand the behind the scenes of what we do in each department. They all were keen to get their hands on every department and they were very good at following instructions.

“I think they all should find careers in hospitality, get proper training under professionals, and build a career for themselves.”

Nathaniel learning how to make a mojito from Kasun
Nathaniel learning from Lockie in the Kauri Bistro


Hayley learning food & beverage in the Kauri Bistro

Along with Thomas and Jasper, Hayley was a part of the students who came to Tall Timbers last September for work experience. During this time she worked amid most of the business units on offer – all but Food & Beverage. 

Hayley got to experience Food & Beverage service alongside Marley on day one of last week’s experience. She expressed that she felt lucky that there was a tour group in as that was a new experience and allowed Marley to show rather than simply tell Hayley about more aspects of the service.

“I learned from Marley. She was the one directing me about how it all works; table settings, and layout of the room. I kind of got used to the layout because, with food & beverage, where they have the bookings, it tells you where the tables are, so when you go to one table and then go to another you kind of figure out where everything goes.

You’ve got your entrees, mains, desserts; so, if someone orders a main and they finish with the entrée, they let the chefs know that their entrées are out. That was new for me, as I haven’t done that before.

I’ve worked in hospitality doing the odd café job, so I was taking orders and bringing food out, learning how to carry them properly. I was ok with that because of the experience learning at the café at school. So when I started my café job I had the basics down.

But every café runs differently, every establishment runs differently. A restaurant will run differently to a café due to the size of it and more people, having to communicate with the kitchen staff.

I also worked a little bit in the bar last night. I got to experience how some of the locals are – that was interesting *laughs*.”

“I haven’t changed pathways since last year. I’m still doing Hospitality Certificate II and Certificate II in Baking. That’s been good, especially coming down for work placement helps with that ‘cause we’re also getting assessed. We’re trying to finalise everything, because this is our final year, we have to get everything done.

“I’m hoping to get everything sorted out to get my qualifications which I don’t think will be too bad. There’s just a couple more papers for work placement and then we have to do I think 12 functions. Mostly RSA functions. We have to get marked off a couple of times. There’s ongoing assessment on working effectively with customers and staff in different areas and doing different service styles.”

Hayley is still figuring out what direction she wants to take once she graduates. 

“I think after school I will just be working for a while and if I wanted to, go to TAFE and do another certificate. Having two certificates under my belt, I can either do a Certificate III in Baking, or study other aspects of hospitality. I could focus more on the business side of it if I want to. Having those qualifications under my belt will help a lot especially after school.”

Read about Hayley’s first experience at Tall Timbers here

Hayley working at the reception desk last September


Kevin showing Alex around the Cape Grim Grill at the Kauri Bistro
Alex making pizzas


Jakobi sat down to tell us a bit about his experience and what his future may look like. 

“At Marist [Community College] with our Hospitality unit, we’re moving into a course which we also did last year. We look at the cultural aspects and how they affect the hospitality industry in different cultures. Say you’re hosting an event for people of Chinese descent or origin; you do not give them table 4 or room 4 or 13. It is seen as unlucky or that some form of misfortune will come to them. Red and gold are common colours that you would use as they represent fortune and good luck. Just general things around the cultural aspects with hospitality.

“I personally want to look further into bar work… I have my RSA now, so every time we have a function I’ll be able to serve alcohol to people which will be nice and get some experience under my belt.

“I very much enjoy doing that. I feel it’s a really good way of meeting new people and having experiences that you didn’t think you’d have.

“I chose hospitality just to gain experience in some form and have something to put on my resume and I was like, “You know what, I actually enjoy this”. Now it’s an avenue that I’ll go down for job opportunities.

“Long term plans… not to do with hospitality sadly. I like the idea of living off-grid – this is kind of food-related – but I like growing my own produce. I like the idea of sustaining yourself and doing the same with respect to the land. I am very eco-orientated.

“We [family] have a 20-hectare property. On our hobby farm, we grow cattle, sheep, chickens, goats… we used to milk the cows but my mum works in dairy so we get free milk from that which is nice. We grow potatoes, corn, chillies, peppers, snow peas, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, cucumber, broccolini, horseradish, wasabi and carrots.

“We give it to our neighbours as a gift or we put them into stews, or we pickle things.

“I am very much inspired by my family.”

Jakobi in the Thirsty Camel bottleshop
Jakobi doing stocktake

“My experience at Tall Timbers has been very welcoming. I’ve been allowed to feel like I belong here. I absolutely love this place. I stepped into the bottleshop and I met Lisa and we started talking about origins of alcohol, what different ones are made of, why they’re named certain things. I got to know a bit about her which was quite nice. As she’s from NZ we were talking about her culture which linked back to my cultural research in hospitality.

“I got to restock the fridges which I rather enjoy that aspect of the bottleshop. Then Kasun allowed me to work in the bar. I met the locals, they were funny. I enjoy that kind of environment, it’s not too busy but it’s just nice to have a vent while you’re at work. It lightens the mood.

“I enjoyed pouring beers. According to Kasun I’m a legend as I perfectly pour beers now.

“I did not expect I would enjoy house services as I’m not one to clean. I use washing machines and I make my bed and that, but I did learn the fancy corner tucks. I was like “That’s how you do them?”. It was awesome, I loved that.

“I got myself with the shower twice. You have to clean the inside of the showers. You spray, you sponge it down, and as I went to stand up my belt got caught on the shower handle. It turned on and I got my entire back wet – twice. *laughs*”


“Right now, I am of course doing the VET Certificate II in Hospitality. I started that last year to be a bartender. That was what my original goal was. It’s fluctuated since then. I’m doing two level 3 subjects at school. I was going to try and get the points needed to go into the air force to become a fast jet pilot. That’s kind of drizzled away – my interest in that.

“I’m not really sure what I’m going to do, that’s why I’m doing the VET course. Doing this now has kind of reignited that original goal. After school I wouldn’t mind trying to apply here [Tall Timbers].

“One of my biggest goals is just to travel and experience everything, experience as many cultures and get as many memories as I can and hospitality will help me with that.

“When I get my Ps – which is very soon – next holidays I can set my car up – I’m very lucky to have my own car – and just set it up for camping for a week or two.”

Miguel working in the Kauri Bistro alongside Jasmine
Miguel in reception with Allison
Miguel working in the Kauri Bistro alongside Jasmine

When asked what in particular reignited his passion, Miguel said

“Last night I just really enjoyed being behind the bistro bar. It was just really fun to pour the beers, make the drinks; that cocktail I made for you [Meg] was pretty fun to make. That was my first one ever. I’ve watched videos but I haven’t actually done that.”

On his experience as a whole at Tall Timbers, Miguel expressed “It’s been very good. I love the comradery they [the staff] all have. Chloe said she’s only been working here for three months and she’s already that close to people. Listening to Kasun and Bikash, banter that’s funny. Listening to Bevan [local] and Kasun was funny too.”

Miguel graduates next year. As with all the students, we wish him all the best.


Thomas and Kim serving meals in Millers Sports Bar
Thomas restocking the Gunns Lounge bar
Thomas during his stint with us last year

Read about Thomas’ first experience at Tall Timbers here

During his stay at Tall Timbers, Thomas explored the grounds and captured moments and discoveries.

He has generously shared them with us.

Thank you to the staff and students of Marist Regional College

you make this a rewarding experience for us all

Chloe learning front office tasks from Allison and Jodie

Read about last year’s experience which includes profiles on Thomas and Hayley.

More news from Tall Timbers
Tuesday, 9 May 2023
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