I am delighted but not surprised by the QILT results, with the survey showing that students believe ICHM has the highest teaching standards of all of Australia’s hotels schools coupled with outstanding facilities. And indicators are that the market for young hoteliers have never been better with hotel construction on the rise in Adelaide and worldwide.
Earlier this year the Australian Government announced that the QILT survey showed that ICHM Student Satisfaction was at 86.7%, which is significantly higher than at all public universities, and we were ranked as the Top Hotel School in Australia.
At this year’s Graduation Ceremony at Hilton Adelaide, I was very aware that my main responsibility was to congratulate our graduates, who had done all the work to complete the academic requirements, their industry placements, and in some cases, to have learned a second language.
While I have done this before at End of Course Ceremonies, it was with great pleasure that I gave the valedictory address as we awarded degrees.
The fact is that after 22 years as Chief Executive of ICHM, I step down in January 2020. Twenty-seven years after our family, in partnership with the South Australian Government and Swiss Hotel Association, founded ICHM. And there is deep satisfaction in knowing we will leave it as The Hotel School of Choice for the Industry Professionals of Tomorrow.
So the address was not only valedictory for graduates, but also valedictory from me, as Chief Executive.
Building on the 125-year reputation of the Swiss Hotel Association, ICHM continues to deliver the same industry focused bachelor and now masters degrees. We deliver the career-ready graduates that the Australian hotel industry demands.
We surveyed graduates prior to this ceremony, and the results show that:
• 95% of the graduates have their first job in hotels
• 95% are working in Australia
• 86% got their positions either through ICHM’s Industry and Career Development department, or from an ICHM placement.
The survey also shows that just four students are looking for work, representing 14% of the respondents.
The market for young hoteliers has never been better. There are currently 22 hotels on the planning board in Adelaide, representing 4000 rooms. Some are already approaching completion - Crowne Plaza, Sofitel and Langham, with ICHM graduate Bodelle Francis named General Manager of the Adelaide Oval Hotel. Other properties will be completed in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
This means 22 General Managers, 100 Directors, and maybe 1000 positions overall in these hotels for graduates and placements.
What about the hospitality industry outside Australia? You tend to read about doom and gloom in China, but this year alone there are 3000 hotels opening, representing 600,000 rooms. This is a 19% increase over 2018.
Let’s not forget the contribution ICHM makes to the South Australian economy. Since we commenced operations we have brought more than $200 million in direct contribution to the State economy; we have provided more than $3.3 million in scholarships; and we have created a small business with 44 jobs, seven of them filled by ICHM graduates who have joined us as employees.
We have had 3500 graduates from 94 countries, and more than 50 of these graduates are General Managers of hotels around the world, including three-to-four right here in Adelaide.
I would like to thank George Brown and his team of lecturers who have worked so hard to prepare our students for their graduation. I must recognise Ian Whyte, our founding principal, who retired 15 months ago. Of course there are other former lecturers who have helped our students so much.
I would like to highlight the contribution of the Industry and Career Development Managers who coordinate the Industry Placements for students.
Thank you to the student support advisors. I extend a special thanks to the Admissions and Administration team, and of course the Marketing and Hutt Street team who travel endlessly to find students for ICHM.
I also have to especially thank the hotels that assist students with their placement positions and their graduate jobs.
Finally I have to thank the students and families who believed our message when we said we would be The Hotel School of Choice for the Industry Professionals of Tomorrow. Without your support we would not be here.
Over the years, first my father and then I have given students advice on how to live a more fulfilled life: rules for success. I do not intend to repeat any of them here; however, it would be remiss if I did not conclude with the ongoing catchcry of ICHM: Network, network, network!