9 December 2008

Students from UQ’s School of Tourism are being the offered the chance to gain real world experience as part of their studies.

Dr Noreen Breakey, a lecturer with the School, has teamed up with Lillydale Host Farm, Queensland’s only four and a half star farm stay, as part of a program to expose students to a commercial hospitality enterprise.

Dr Breakey said postgraduate students undertaking coursework in Managing Small Business Organisations use Lillydale as a case study and co-owner Pam Hardgrave delivering a guest lecture. Selected students are also invited to develop a business report on Lillydale.

“Student feedback has been so positive,” Dr Breakey said.

“Students value the opportunity to contribute directly to a real organisation where theory is put into practice.”

Mrs Hardgrave said she had found the student reports to be an invaluable tool to the development of her business and has implemented many of the strategies that students have suggested.

“We had a Masters student last year who presented a plan and we have tried to implement as much of that plan as we can,” Mrs Hardgrave said.

“It has been fabulous, it made us think outside the square.

“If you want to keep moving, you need to listen and change. If you are going to ask for constructive criticism you have to be able to take it.

“If I want to leave Lillydale to our future generations, our grandchildren, I have to be prepared and have the property ready for future generations.”

Dr Breaky said the relationship with Lillydale Host Farm came after a chance meeting at a Queensland Tourism Industry event.

Three years later Dr Breakey, her students and the Hardgraves speak glowingly of the benefits that working collaboratively has delivered to all stakeholders.

“Both Doug (my husband) and I have been helped in our youth and we feel you just give back, you keep giving back to the community and this has been the impetus for our involvement with the School of Tourism,” Mrs Hardgrave said.

Media: Dr Noreen Breaky (07 3381 1008) or Cate Clifford at the School of Tourism (07 3346 8717).