IMPACT's Hospitality course provides unexpected life lessons for former NewsMail political journalist

When Chris Burns was made redundant earlier this year, little did he know that learning how to make coffee would help make him a better person.

Chris is one of the current students at IMPACT Community Services' SIT30616 Certificate III in Hospitality course, and he's been far more grateful for the opportunities it has presented him than he realised when he first signed up.

Chris was a victim of a struggling industry. A recent downsizing across regional newspapers saw him lose his journalism job and he found himself at a crossroads.

“I came to the unpleasant realisation that my industry is wrecked and I had to seriously re-evaluate my career,” Chris said.

“It has long hours, not much pay, and that isn't likely to change anytime soon.”

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Chris decided that he wanted to go back to tertiary study – ether international relations or education, to become a teacher – but he had more short-term problems to solve, like how to pay his rent.

And it turned out one of his short-term solutions was a way to realise his long-term goals.

“I saw an ad on social media about IMPACT's Hospitality course and signed up immediately,” he said.

“I finished at the NewsMail on the Friday and started the course on the Monday.”

In the short-term Chris needed to learn some new skills – anything – and realised that bar work and hospitality was probably always going to be a pathway that presented opportunities.

“And it turns out I like making coffee,” he said, though basic kitchen skills didn't come naturally to him.

“I was definitely out of my comfort zone. It seems like a step down, from being a political reporter to making coffee, but you can't let that stop you, especially if it's a means to a greater end.”

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And Chris is happy there are opportunities that await him at the end of the course, many more than awaited him at the end of his tenure at the newspaper.

And he knows he's in good hands; the capable hands of trainer Wendy Carter.

“She's a good trainer, with lots of experience,” he said. “She's very knowledgeable and very professional.”

At the moment he’s learning everything there is to know about kitchen hygiene and COVID-safe regulations.

Chris is cautiously confident of getting work and is happy he's in a much better place.

“I don't know what I would have done with myself if I hadn't signed up for this course,” he said. “I'm glad to be learning new job skills, and this course has made me a better person because I am learning how to serve.”

If you want to find out about future courses for a Certificate III in Hospitality visit our training page here or call 4153 4233. IMPACT is its own Registered Training Organisation (RTO code: 0115).