TAFE SA graduate Kasuni Fernando had never been to the Flinders Ranges until she started work at Wilpena Pound Resort, but she’s quickly becoming a strong advocate.
“I went on a sunset tour and there were three or four colours across the sky, and I couldn’t believe my eyes,” she says.
“Visiting the Flinders is a new challenge for people. You can pack your phone away and explore the hiking tracks and enjoy nature.”
Kasuni, 23, is the first graduate of TAFE SA’s new Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management. She graduated in July and within weeks was starting her role on the front desk at the Wilpena Pound Resort.
“It’s totally different from the town life that I had. It’s calm, quiet and there are lots of animals like kangaroos. I’m also meeting lots of different people,” she says.
Kasuni, an international student from Sri Lanka, began studying finance and accounting before making the switch to tourism and hospitality.
“My parents have a restaurant in Sri Lanka and they wanted me to do something different which is why I started accounting in Malaysia and then moved to Sydney, but I realised that hospitality is what makes me happy,” she says.
“From the time I was in Grade 2 I’ve been travelling with my family. I’ve been to 22 countries and I like exploring new things, new cultures.”
She started her hospitality studies in Melbourne and transferred to Adelaide when TAFE SA launched the Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management.
“I had some friends in Adelaide and the city is not as busy as Melbourne, so it was appealing,” she says.
“My lecturers at TAFE SA were so helpful and the experiences they provided like guest speakers and internships were so important. I did an internship at the Stamford Grand which really helped when I was being interviewed for my job.
“TAFE SA did a great job helping students see what they can achieve in the industry. I learnt a lot about the bigger picture, tourism isn’t just about people coming to stay in a hotel, it’s a whole industry which contributes to the economy.
“COVID has shown how important and valuable the tourism industry is.”
Kasuni says Wilpena Pound Resort is open and fully booked at its reduced capacity, due to COVID restrictions.
She is looking forward to a time when events can resume and the resort can again host conferences and weddings.
“Working on the front desk is a good start to my professional life but I do enjoy events and event planning,” she says.
More information about the Bachelor of Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management, can be found here.