Chisholm Institute trainer Cate Hamill knows all about problem solving after working as an events manager at the Sydney Olympics. And it is that skill-based ability to be super-organised in the reality of the workplace that the Chisholm events instructor passes on to her students.
The events trainer was in charge of organising food and activities for people involved in archery and baseball at the 2000 event.
While she loved being able to attend the opening and closing ceremonies, and the excitement of the world-class event – there were a few more sobering realities to be taken care of.
Her portfolio as a public catering manager included organising food to be brought in for thousands of competitors, spectators and organisers during only two hour-long windows at midnight or 5am.
Any problems occurring in food delivery meant a solution had to be found fast.
Security concerns meant that food could not be delivered at any other time – and had to be previously tested at the main kitchen.
During one of her days off, food was not delivered, and Cate had to race back to work and organise two takeaway food outlets on site to produce food for around one thousand people.
“It was either that or have people go hungry in our area,” she says. “And I wasn’t about to let that happen. As an events organiser the challenge is to be incredibly organised – you have to have contingency plans in place.
“And that is the sort of skills training we provide our students to make sure they are practically skilled up to meet the needs of industry. It is an industry where you need to learn skills on the ground to be of practical use in the real world.”
Her stint at the Sydney Olympic Games was immediately followed by helping organise the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games where all events had to be wheelchair accessible.
Cate has also worked at Crown Casino where she organised weddings for high profile clients and organised major sporting events and conferences. Pro-active organisation at weddings included the rebuilding of multi-tiered wedding cakes that had been accidentally damaged.
As part of the skills training in the events industry, Chisholm students get to organise their own events. That includes organising health expos at Chisholm campuses through to Christmas parties and weddings.
Other projects include holding racing and fashion extravaganzas held at the Chisholm restaurants.
Cate started off learning hospitality at Hayman Island Resort 13 years ago. And she continues to have links with that resort where some of her students have gone on to find employment.
“We are all about providing practical skills to our students,” says Cate.
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“We work closely with industry to ensure our training links closely with industry requirements.