Kassandra Ellis | 2008 Graduate,

Regional Human Resources Coordinator (Australasia) at Hilton Worldwide

After graduating from William Blue, Kassandra moved overseas to London for two years to work and travel around Europe. She began working as a recruiter with Hilton Worldwide, and was recruiting front-line positions for 11 Hilton properties in London. When the time came to return home, Kassandra was able to transfer back to Sydney into her current role today, as Regional Human Resources Assistant for Australasia.

“I enjoy the variety of this position, every day is different and there is always something new happening in one of our 12 Australasian properties. I also love the fact that by working for the most recognised hotel chain in the world, I have access to so many career opportunities internationally. My role involves assisting the Regional HR Director with the Strategic HR Management of the region. This means a lot of project work and planning! From coordinating training programs, consolidating reports or developing new recruitment collateral, I’m always learning and working on something new.

When I started looking into hospitality as a career I wasn’t sure which area of the Industry I wanted to work in. I chose William Blue because I liked the variety that the college offered. The course covered so many different areas, and offered practical on-the-job training as well, so it was the best option for me. I also liked the independence of living off campus, and having the flexibility to work while I studied. The college encourages you to gain industry experience, and the Careers Adviser helped me to get my first job in hotels as a Banquets waiter.

At the time of my Industry Placement, Star City (now The Star) partnered with William Blue and offered a Scholarship Traineeship Program, which I was lucky enough to be chosen for. I spent six months cross training in all hotel departments, and at the end of the placement I moved into a Casual Front Office Agent role to support my studies. I really enjoyed the practical classes in the kitchen and restaurant. The training restaurant really improved my confidence for service and working with friends was a lot of fun. Also, the excursions were great, particularly our trip to Hunter Valley to visit the wine regions for our Beverages class.

In 5-10 years I see myself working as a HR Director, hopefully with Hilton Worldwide. Ideally I’d like to stay in Sydney but who knows where I could end up! My advice would be to work while you study. Experience is crucial for developing your career in Hospitality. Everyone has to start at the bottom but it doesn’t take long to move up if you put in the hard work.”

Where will William Blue take you?

In a roundabout way, it was allergies that led Alex to a career in the kitchen. Alex was seeing a naturopath during her final year at high school and developed a strong understanding of what foods and lifestyle choices were good for the body.

Alex later moved on to studying International Relations because the entrance score for Nutrition – the course she actually wanted to study – was too high. After a short period at uni, Alex deferred her place.

“I made the decision to defer to keep my options open, but I knew in my heart that I wouldn’t go back. I didn’t feel like myself at uni as I wasn’t expressing my creative ability.”

One plus to studying at uni was Alex’s part-time job at a cafe. The chef there showed her how to be passionate about cooking and serving food for customers. She says she fell in love with the energy of the kitchen and making people happy. There was an element of fulfillment in hospitality that became the basis for her future passion for food.

Alex heard about William Blue College of Hospitality Management through a friend who told her it had a great reputation and would lead her to many different opportunities. Alex rang the school and asked a few questions. She had only worked in a cafe and was still ambivalent about committing to a new course of study.

It turned about to be a great decision. The study experience was rewarding and enriched her passion for food.

Studying at William Blue led to work with ARIA Catering at venues like the Sydney Opera House, as well as the opportunity to work one-on-one with celebrity chef and restaurateur Matt Moran. She was also able to work with Moran on several other occasions.

Later, Alex was able to undertake an industry placement at a Michelin-starred restaurant at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni at Lake Como, Italy. Alex worked in the pastry kitchen and also worked in depth on cold ladder and pasta. Alex says she learned so much there and managed to handle the added challenge of learning Italian too.

Alex returned to a job offer at Chiswick at the Gallery, the restaurant of the Art Gallery of NSW, as Chef de Partie. She soon moved on to work in as Sous Chef at the luxurious Tivoli Lodge in Davos, Switzerland.

Gwangho 'Sid' Choi | Current Student, Bachelor of Business (Hospitality Management)

From William Blue to Masterchef Winner.

Sid isn’t your ordinary William Blue student (not that there’s any such thing). Sid returned to study at William Blue after winning Masterchef Korea in 2014.

He initially graduated with an Advanced Diploma of Hospitality, specialising in Commercial Cookery and earned his stripes in the William Blue Dining kitchen. Following his TV success, he decided to return to William Blue to continue his education with a bachelor degree.

“Studying in Australia at William Blue changed my life. It can change yours too. It will open doors that you cannot imagine even exist right now.”

As a Korean native, Sid needed to improve his English skills to study in Sydney. He attended the Think:CLASS sessions at the North Sydney campus before beginning his studies at William Blue. This helped him move through the course and learn in the William Blue Dining kitchen.

Sid still works at William Blue Dining two days a week while finishing his bachelor degree. His place enriches the student community of the college, as he shares his experiences cooking in Korea as well as on television.

Sid hopes to be CEO of his own brand in Korea.