By Veena Bharwani
WAITRESSING might seem like something you do in between jobs for some pocket money. But to Chen Wanying (above), 17, a holiday job as a banquet waitress at a hotel last year sparked her journey into her career – hospitality.
Wanying, a first-year student at Temasek Polytechnic (TP) pursuing a Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management, said her two-month stint at the Oriental Hotel early last year wasn't easy, but helped her decide on her next step.
She said: "When you are a guest, you only see a very glamorised and posh world. That's all just a facade.
"In reality, it is chaotic and very messy and there's a lot to learn about how they create that perfection in a hotel for the guests."
Wanying, a former head prefect, drew some surprises when she told her friends of her decision to go to a polytechnic.
"You know there are certain expectations. Most of my friends went to a junior college. Some of them thought going to a polytechnic meant slacking off.
"I didn't feel pressured and besides you must follow the path that is right for you," she said.
Describing a project she did recently, she said she was tasked to set up a restaurant and had to come up with the menu, interior design and a concept for the new restaurant.
"There were many sleepless nights and hard work. We were not used to doing these kinds of projects in secondary school, so we had to do a lot of leg work," she said.
Wanying plans to further her studies after her three-year diploma in Switzerland.
TP students will be doing a range of subjects as part of the diploma, including ticketing and reservations, event management, principals of marketing and food and beverage.
Students interested in tourism and hospitality do not have to limit themselves to the Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management.
TP's business school also offers three other courses – Diploma in Culinary and Catering Management, Diploma in Leisure and Resort Management and the Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Business.
On completing the diploma, graduates can expect to move into fields such as the civil service, hotels, clubs, resorts, airlines, tour operators, museums, national tourism organisations, as well as businesses dealing with food services, events management, entertainment promotion, exhibitions and conventions.
If you want to know about this course and more, sign up for The New Paper/Temasek Poly's 14th Beyond O-Level Seminar at Temasek Polytechnic on Saturday. It is open to 2008 O-level graduates, ITE graduates and their parents.
Admission is free and is on a first-come-first-served basis. To register, go to www.tp.edu.sg. For more information, call 67805017, 67806556 or 67805024.