SOUTHERN CROSS UNIVERSITY GRADUATE CELEBRATES HER NEW CAREER WITH A WOMEN IN TOURISM SCHOLARSHIP.
Caitlin Francis was born in the Philippines, moving to Australia when she was in primary school. When tertiary studies beckoned Caitlin found herself at Southern Cross University’s Gold Cost campus undertaking a Bachelor of Business degree majoring in Tourism.
An internship during that course has since led to an ongoing role with the Currumbin RSL Club and recently she became a Women in Tourism Scholarship winner.
Caitlin says she studied business because the opportunities are so broad: “When I first started uni I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do but I loved travelling, so the idea of working in tourism appealed to me and I saw that studying business could open up opportunities for me in that industry.”
Her initial attraction to studying at Southern Cross was its proximity to home and moving in with her sister, but she soon realised that the university had much more to offer her. “The staff and students at SCU were really lovely which made the experience so enjoyable.
The connections that I’ve made at Southern Cross really made a huge difference for me too, both personally and professionally.”
While Caitlin majored in tourism for her degree a fortuitous internship saw a change in direction from her original plans.
“It’s funny that I chose business as my major because the one strand that I’ve really enjoyed is marketing, so it hasn’t quite worked out the way I thought it would with my current job.
"The great thing about the degree is that you’re not limited into just one area of employment, you can branch out and do other things as well".
"The part that I really enjoy about the job is that it isn’t just one thing that I’m doing every day, there’s a variety of tasks that I find really rewarding.”
Caitlin’s internship with the local RSL club was made available through the integrated learning program within SCU.
“When I met the marketing team at Currumbin RSL I was blown away by them and I knew right then that I wanted to be a part of that environment. When my internship finished at the end of 2017 they invited me to stay on which was really exciting.”
“I was really nervous at the start making the transition from uni life to a working environment, but the staff at the club just made it so easy for me. Since then my skill set has just grown massively, but I’ve also discovered a lot more about myself and certainly my self-confidence has improved!
The Club is so engaged with the community. They have a well-earned reputation because they’re so proactively involved right across the southern Gold Coast.”
Did Caitlin nominate herself for the Women in Tourism scholarship?
“Not at all (laughs)! That was my marketing manager Gordon Watson. He encouraged me to apply, even though I didn’t really think I had a chance.
Then a few months went by and I’d forgotten all about it when I received an email telling me I was successful.
I was so excited when I found out. I was straight out of uni with a job that I loved and then I received this scholarship. Apart from looking good on your resume, I now have the opportunity to network in the local industry.”
While Caitlin is content in her current role she does offer an insight into her dream job with a little prodding.
“At the moment I’m just enjoying the ride, the real joy comes from working in an organisation that has a really supportive environment.
It’s so rewarding to be a part of that, but if I had to nominate a dream job it would probably be travelling around the world blogging. Travelling for free and sharing those experiences with others – what could be better than that?”