Kerri's keen interest in tourism brings rewards | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Kerri's keen interest in tourism brings rewards

USC student Kerri Hetherington’s outstanding academic results and drive for tourism have earned her an inaugural bursary designed to develop the next generation of tourism leaders in the Fraser Coast.

The $2,000 Oceans Resort and Spa Hervey Bay Tourism Bursary is a partnership between USC and the Fraser Coast resort and includes an industry placement to help students build real-life working skills.

Kerri, who is in the final year of the Bachelor of Business at USC’s Fraser Coast campus, said she was honoured to be chosen as the bursary’s first recipient.

“This support shows businesses are willing to invest in the future of the tourism industry, and USC’s tourism and events students are a vital part of that future,” she said.

“By easing some financial pressure, this bursary will allow me to better focus on my studies and obtain the necessary resources I require to continue my success at USC.”

Growing up in the popular visitor destination of Hervey Bay sparked an interest in tourism and events for the former Urangan State High School student.

“My degree includes a Marketing major and subjects in Tourism, Leisure and Event Management, which I consolidated with opportunities to gain diverse and challenging industry experience,” she said.

Last year, Kerri completed a marketing internship at Fraser Coast Tourism and Events and has volunteered as the event coordinator for Hervey Bay Carols by Candlelight since 2015.

“These roles allowed me to gain valuable insight into the local tourism industry, fuelled my interest in events, and were a chance to give back to the local community,” she said.

“My career goal is to pursue a marketing and tourism career in Hervey Bay, as it is a thriving city with enormous potential and exciting opportunities.”

The 20-year-old attributes her near-perfect grade point average of 6.89 out of a possible 7 to her drive, organisation and the optimism she has towards her studies.

Last year she received the Sea FM Prize for the Highest Achieving Student in Marketing Communication, and contributed to an academic textbook on consumer behaviour.

Kerri holds a number of volunteer positions at USC including Student Council representative and president of USC Fraser Coast’s newly-formed student social club. She also volunteers as a youth leader with the Bayside Christian Church.

USC Lecturer in Tourism, Leisure and Event Management Shahab Pourfakhimi said USC worked closely with Oceans Resort and other stakeholders to provide high-quality work-integrated learning experiences for students.

“USC is here to train the next generation of local leaders and entrepreneurs to meet the specialised workforce needs of the local economy,” he said.

“We welcome the contribution of local businesses through providing placements, internships, guest lectures and incentives such as bursaries and scholarships.”

— Clare McKay

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