A work placement in the Outback has given tourism student Samuel Norman a big picture of the world.
A five-week placement at Broken Hill has led to a range of opportunities, not least to attend next month’s NSW Local Government state conference.
“It has opened up so many difference doors, along with several job opportunities,” the third-year Bachelor of International Tourism student says.
“I made a lot of friends, and was even invited back to the Broken Hill ‘Broken Heel’ drag festival,” he says.
It was while assisting with a review of the Broken Hill City Council’s draft Disability Inclusion Action Plan, the 22-year-old happened to see the new Spiderman movie at the historic Silver City Cinema.
He noticed it was in need of a lift for disability access to the upper level.
After discussions with the cinema proprietor, he launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign which the friendly folk of the Silver City threw their weight and donations behind.
“We had offers from the Lions Club, Demo Club, local artists and individuals offering us help,” Sam says.
“We’ve been overwhelmed and very quickly got to our goal with a final generous donation from a major sponsor.
“It’s exciting to think that one Flinders student can make a difference, helping to make the Silver City Cinema more inclusive of people with disability or additional needs.”
Sam’s efforts led to a front-page article in the Barrier Daily Truth newspaper and local ABC radio – along with an invitation from the council to attend the NSW local government conference.
Senior Lecturer Dr Gareth Butler says regional work placements offer tourism students a headstart in their careers, including in emerging specialist areas such as eco-tourism, accessible tourism and even medical tourism.
“Just this year, we’ve worked in collaboration with the Department of Environment on a number of research projects for the first time, including research on improving accessibility for disabled visitors at nature reserves at national parks and visitor experiences at Belair, Mt Lofty and Morialta national parks.
“They’ve also helped with research on emerging visitor markets at the Naracoorte Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and the Environment Department couldn’t have spoken more highly of them in terms of conduct and research value.”
Dr Butler says the students also bring Flinders University into the spotlight in overseas locations – such as Cambodia where several international tourism students are heading next month.