Graduates adapt new careers to deal with COVID-19 changes - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Graduates adapt new careers to deal with COVID-19 changes

19 Oct 2020

Two recent USC graduates who are helping to stage the Fraser Coast’s latest marketing campaigns and events decided to get creative when COVID-19 restrictions changed their new roles almost overnight.

McKenzie Derrick, 22, from Gympie, began work as an event coordinator with Fraser Coast Tourism & Events (FCTE) earlier this year after completing USC’s Bachelor of Business (Tourism, Leisure and Event Management), majoring in Human Resource Management.

She is working alongside Mitch Brunke, 25, from Maryborough who became the FCTE’s digital marketing manager after completing a Business degree, majoring in marketing.

McKenzie said that adapting to a global pandemic was the last thing she expected when she joined the Fraser Coast’s peak body for marketing, events and tourism development.

“There is no denying that my role is constantly changing from planning and managing events to improving processes and procedures that accompany running an event to meet the most current COVID-safe regulations,” she said.

“My degree, along with my experience in the field, has equipped me to know that there is always a way. Even faced with all the challenges of COVID-19, events can still proceed – you just have to come up with a creative plan that complies with Queensland Health requirements to ensure a safe event precinct for all.

“As well as creativity, the skills I developed during my studies – such as leadership, problem solving and the ability to engage with stakeholders – are key requirements for my new role.”

McKenzie, who kicked off her career working in the events industry at the Gympie Music Muster before enrolling to study event management at USC, said she loved her job’s fast-paced environment, with no two days being the same.

“I enjoy developing new ideas and concepts as part of my role to plan, coordinate and deliver events from start to finish,” she said.

Mitch said the best part of his role overseeing Visit Fraser Coast's digital brands and associated digital messaging was using the skills he learned at USC to find creative ways to promote tourism in his home region, especially in response to COVID-19 challenges.

“My day-to-day tasks range from planning marketing campaigns to building webpages,” he said. “I am really enjoying working in tourism as I am exposed to so many amazing and unique experiences within the Fraser Coast.”


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