Alumni interview: Tayla HammilDecember 19, 2016 10:57 pm
We recently sat down with Hotel School graduate Tayla Hammil, to chat about her time at the University and the success she’s had since graduating.
When did you graduate?
I graduated in 2013.
And did you go straight from school to The Hotel School?
Yes, I did, I think my first two years were full time study and then I deferred for two years to travel around Europe. So it took me like four years to finish the whole thing I think.
What led you to want to go to The Hotel School in the first place?
It was through my hospitality teacher in high school. Hospitality was a subject that I really enjoyed and I was already in the industry working. It was for events, was the main thing that I wanted to… the direction that I wanted to go down, and she told me about it and me and a friend went to the open day and had a look around and it seemed like a really good course.
Oh great. While you were at high school how were you working in the industry?
So I was working as a waitress at a local restaurant during school and then again through uni. It’s kind of convenient working hospitality when you have odd hours during the day.
When you went to the open day can you remember any thoughts about what in particular attracted you to the course?
It was more the avenues that they said they could open through their connections with people already in the industry, especially the fact that they were associated with the Intercontinental and other groups.
Ok, wow. So while you were at uni, at The Hotel School, what was your favourite course that you took there?
There was a few that I enjoyed the most. I definitely liked the marketing one. I really enjoyed the finance ones as well, numbers is my thing. And as for the electives I did a lot of events and I really loved the conventions, and exhibitions.
Well I suppose the accounting and finances subjects gave some good grounding for what you’ve eventually kind of ended up doing, running your own show.
Yeah so it’s me and Andrea, I got brought on to help open and run the place so there’s two of us.
Sorry who’s the other person that’s running it?
Her names Andrea, I used to work with her at Silver Spur, and then I left for a couple of years and then she called me up because she was about to buy a new restaurant.
Oh wow. So what’s your position there?
At the moment there’s just the two of us and we’re casual, so Senior manager.
So what does your role entail at Eastin’s.
So the two of us have done everything together, she does the accounting and everything but yea from before we were planning the menu, organising the flyers, changing the menu.
Were you involved with fitting out the venue?
It was already fit out; it was fit out very nicely.
So there’s only three staff working behind the scenes, and you have bar staff as well, is that right?
It’s a very small venue, and because we opened during winter it’s been quiet. The owner is the chef, I’m running the floor and then we have a casual staff as well that comes in.
Do you have any advice to give to current Year 12 students who might be considering studying at The Hotel School?
I would give them the advice to really use the contacts and use the university professors as contacts the whole way through, because I feel like that’s the major point of The Hotel School, is to start networking and start making contacts that you’re going to need eventually. And I didn’t do it, and I wish I did.
So the professors and the lecturers and the tutors?
Yes, and other students as well, just start to build that network, if you’re really interested in the industry that’s going to be important.
Do you feel like the tutors and lecturers and professors are well connected in a practical way to the industry?
Yes, well they have all got a lot of experience in whatever they are teaching.
And I guess they know a lot of people.
Exactly. And sometimes they get speakers in and all those speakers are very good. Depending on the direction in which you want to go, but get your contacts.
Yea that’s good advice.
Yes, networking too. You can know as much as you know, but if you know the right person it’s going to help that much more.
So what do you find most exciting about working in the hotel management tourism industry?
It’s that you don’t know what’s going to happen the next day, and it can always change and I enjoy working with people, I don’t think I’d be able to sit behind a desk in an office, it would drive me insane. Yes, so it’s like super social, it’s great, you meet people, you watch these things happen around you, especially for us at the moment; it’s very much a first date spot, and it’s just really interesting to just watch these people interact and all these different people interact, it’s great.
So what about long term plans. Do you have ambition to start your own place?
Yea, definitely that’s what made her call me. She’s like, I know that you want to do this eventually so here I’ll show you everything, like anything you need to learn, I’ll help you out, you can do this with me, and it’s definitely a very good learning curve for me.
It kind of worked perfectly because I was in a bit of a rut where I was anyway so I was like, well, I’ve got nothing to lose.
And so what’s your dream place?
I would love to own my own bar over in town. Something really small. Somewhere social. I would love to open one in Europe one day, like Portugal or something like that.
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