If we look back, it appears inevitable that we were destined to succeed; that we would be one of Australia’s leading hotel schools. Indeed, one of the leading hotel schools in the Asia Pacific region.
Today we can lay claim to: more than 2500 graduates from more than 92 countries; many graduate leaders not only in the hotel industry, but also in other industries around the world; partner schools in different regions of the world; and hotels visiting the campus twice a year to recruit our graduates for junior management positions, as well as selecting students for internships. In our first decade we delivered Vocational Education Programs and gradually moved to solely delivering higher education where we now deliver a range of courses to which we soon hope to add our Masters, which has recently been submitted for approval by the higher education authority.
On 30 September 1992, the South Australian Government, Swiss Hotel Association, Le Cordon Bleu and Lipman family signed agreements to establish the International College of Hotel Management project on the Regency Campus of TAFE SA. The first students arrived in January the following year.
Back then, we were known as the ‘Asia Pacific Basin Hotel School of the Swiss Hotel Association’, which sounds quite a mouthful.
Under the leadership of chief executive Rex Lipman and young principal Dr Ian Whyte, ICHM continued the Swiss Hotel Association 100 year-old tradition of excellence in hospitality education: Skills, Academic Knowledge and Professionalism.
Day by day over the past 25 years our success required tireless work by so many people at different levels: our College Council and Academic Board; our three principals, especially our current leader, Dr Ian Whyte; academic and placement staff; admissions and administration employees; and, of course, the marketing team. We are lucky that so many people have spent years dedicating their work lives to ICHM.
For more than 20 years TAFE SA was a close associate in the ICHM partnership, and the support it gave was impressive. Even today when we are tenants on the Regency campus, TAFE is especially supportive.
The Swiss Hotel Association (SHA) was instrumental in ICHM being formed, and 25 years later remains a key partner and friend. Together we brainstorm the needs of the international hotel industry, and the commitment of the SHA has been instrumental to our success.
The Australian Hotels Association has been a significant supporter throughout our existence, and has provided scholarships for our students to assist in their studies. Hundreds of hotels and their senior staff have supported us by providing placements for our students and employment for graduates. This is equally true in Australia and around the world.
In 1992 the idea of going to a Hotel School as an alternative to a traditional university was new. We had to explain to schools and their career advisors what ICHM was about. We have had strong support from the schools sector, which we truly appreciate.
In the early 1990s our marketing pitch was to explain that we were offering a new form of post-secondary education, ‘like that offered by our sister school Ecole Hotelier de Lausanne for 100 years’. But from 2000 onwards we could increasingly point to our own graduates as successful role models in hotels and throughout the economy. As business leaders, entrepreneurs, accountants, property developers and in education, our graduates are building outstanding careers.
Since day one we have had great support from our alumni. As speakers, mentors and advisors this group has contributed significantly. From 2012 a formal process links the alumni to ICHM—our Graduates in Industry International Advisory Committee (GIIAC), which comprises 20 ICHM graduates working at senior levels. GIIAC plays an important role in program development, review and update.
The most recent significant development in the history of ICHM is the acquisition of ICHM from the Lipman family by Charles Darwin University. We see this as the best way to build on the legacy of the past 25 years and to move into the future with even more success.
We thank all those who have played a role up until now, and we look forward to continuing these partnerships into the future.