Janice Rooney - Tourism Intern, Bellingen Shire Council

Janice Rooney
'I used to work in hospitality and wanted to move to a field that had better working conditions but still had a strong customer service aspect to it. Tourism seemed like the logical choice.'

Southern Cross University Student Janice is completing her degree with on-the-job experience at Bellingen Shire Council, on the NSW north coast. Offering flexibility and variety, her internship has given Janice a wealth of experience.


 

 

 

What does your job involve?

I primarily work with Bellingen Shire Council's tourism manager dealing with media briefings, development applications (we are getting a new visitor information centre), and grant applications. I also do some work at the visitor information centre and for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, carrying out marketing and developing surveys. Recently I have worked with the coordinator for the Bellingen Jazz Festival helping with marketing and sponsorship.

What interested you about a career in tourism?

I used to work in hospitality and wanted to move to a field that had better working conditions but still had a strong customer service aspect to it. Tourism seemed like the logical choice.

Why did you choose to study at Southern Cross University?

I chose Southern Cross University because they offered an external study program and have great support systems for external students.

Did you go to uni straight after finishing school?

I did go to uni straight from school and started a Bachelor of Science. But I was studying my degree externally and found it hard to stay focused, so I gained full-time employment in the hospitality industry. Later, after I had my children, I started looking at study options to allow me to have a good job by the time the kids started school. I wanted to get out of hospitality because the hours weren't mum-friendly!

Is your internship paid?

No.

How did you get the placement? Why did you choose to go there?

After I moved to Bellingen from Western Australia, I decided to try and find a placement that would allow me to do my internship part time over a year while I was studying. This is most convenient for me as neither of my children is at school yet. I called the tourism manager at the Bellingen Shire Council and approached him with the proposition to start an internship with the council. He seemed very keen, an invited me in for an interview. The manager was happy for me to carry out my internship on a part-time basis and is very flexible, which is fantastic.

What did your work placement teach you that you couldn't learn in a classroom?

I've learnt about the politics of working in the tourism industry, especially with committees and different community groups. I've also come to understand how to interact in a business environment.

How do the other people in the office treat you?

Everyone treats me politely. I am only there two days a week and sometimes I work out of the office, which means I might not be there for a few weeks at a time, so at times I find it hard to feel like I belong.

What has been the best thing about your internship?

The best things about my job so far have been the chance to work with the team at the National Parks and Wildlife Service, and having a fantastic mentor.




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