Table talk – Education

March 1, 2018

Table talk – Education

Is a university degree necessary for a successful career? We posed the question to our Table Talk panel over a delicious lunch at Noosa Waterfront Restaurant and Bar.

Times have changed dramatically since I graduated from high school. Back then, students had nowhere near the number of options that are available to them today. As a parent of a Grade 11 student this year, I am amazed at the many pathways on offer to graduates. From traineeships to vocational courses and even certificates students can complete during school hours that help them gain employment after school, proves there is no one size that fits all.

In fact, often some of the most business-minded people chose a more alternate route to success. We are fortunate to have access to a plethora of quality tertiary institutions here on the Sunshine Coast, offering our young people plenty of choices when it comes to their future. We live in a rapidly changing world and universities have adapted by offering innovative courses that really prepare our students for the real world.

And while university might not be for everyone, many employers still place great value on the accountability, responsibility and discipline it takes to complete a degree. Hailing from diverse backgrounds, I was keen to hear what our lunching ladies’ thoughts were on the matter. Joining me at Noosa Waterfront Restaurant and Bar was Janice Mastin owner/manager at Blink! the eyelash expert; Coby Sullivan, regional innovation coordinator, Sunshine Coast Regional Innovation Pipeline Team #SCRIPT; Carly Gibbs, owner of Lavish Platters; Kristen Shields, operations manager at Profile Magazine, Teressa Schmidt, associate vice-chancellor (Sunshine Coast Region) CQUniversity Australia; and Kim Baldwin, marketing manager, Study Sunshine Coast (Visit Sunshine Coast).

Coby: I learned a lot from university, generally speaking. It gave me an ability to read a lot of information in a short amount of time, comprehend it and apply it. I also value the discipline around studying and being accountable for exams. There is also the credibility associated with a university degree. But do I use the theory I learned at university? No. Did I ever use it? No. I think in a lot of ways it’s helpful, but it’s not a prerequisite for success. I think times have changed too. You used to need that certification or qualification to open doors. However, with the internet, you have the ability to set up your own domain and test the market and have a minimal viable proposition and see if it’s real and there is demand before you even go through those traditions. There is a hunger for experimenting as opposed to sticking to the trends and being safe in your approach. It will be interesting to see what that effect has over time.

Carly: I don’t think it’s essential, but of course it depends on what avenue you take. You are obviously not going to be able to set up your own doctors practice without a medical degree. I haven’t studied for a degree but I have done things such as diplomas at TAFE. I believe success is more about desire and drive. If you have that you will always find your way.

Janice: I went into teaching quite late and before teaching I was in banking. If I’m honest, before going to university, I thought a degree was so important and something that smart people did. Then I went to university and realised you didn’t need to be smart to be there and I learned more when I was actually on the job, than in the classroom. I found that university hadn’t really prepared me and the theory didn’t mean much. I think success is more about the person and I think vocations such as teaching and nursing should be more focused on learning on the job. Success is about the person, their drive and their attitude and vision for what they are aiming for. I have definitely changed my view point on tertiary education over the years.

Kristen: I don’t think a university degree is essential either to be honest. I’m really glad schools are now offering alternative pathways for children other than the traditional path they had when I was at school. Having said that, these days there are high expectations from employers, many of whom are asking applicants to only apply if they have a degree, even for entry-level, generalist positions. I advise my daughter to keep that in mind when she is venturing out into the workforce. She may not necessarily need a degree but certainly some type of diploma, certificate or traineeship will get her foot in the door much more than those with no training.

Kim: I went to university straight after Year 12. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do so I enrolled in a business degree. I really enjoyed it and I feel that I needed a degree in my field for the positions I was applying for. I agree with Coby about about the accountability and the discipline that university provides and it was a great thing for me to do at that time in my life. Having said that, I don’t think you necessarily need a university degree to be successful. The challenge for me in my job is not only promoting our study options but getting involved in innovation programs and giving students other pathways and internships. I’m currently involved in student focus groups, so I am interested in hearing from the students and their perceptions of tertiary study.

Teresa: I believe there are benefits you get from university that are not just related to the education side of things. You will be in contact with people who think outside the square, you will be involved in coming up with great ideas and learning to process and generate new information. The focus for some is not so much on the formal qualifications but being exposed to great thinkers. It would be a really different world we lived in if we didn’t have those organisations which support the ability to develop and think freely and change our thinking from the last generation. Like many industries, we are in the grip of a new world and of course there are different pathways for different kids. Often we think of a linear pathway when we think of university, but really how many of us have gone that way? Everything you do creates what you become in the end. One thing I would say to young people is to get a part time job as soon as you can. Because if you have those communication and service skills, combined with what you want to learn, you have the mix for success.

Table talk review – Noosa Waterfront Restaurant and bar

Italian dishes always sound better when explained to you in an authentic Italian accent don’t you think? This was certainly the case during my first visit to the revered Noosa Waterfront Restaurant and Bar recently. Hailing from Milan, Italy, owner Andrea Ravezzani was born into a rich food culture and you can see his passion for producing simple and delicious dishes that let the produce speak for itself.

A highly experienced restaurateur, Andrea took the time to personally explain what was on our plate for each course and the attention to detail that goes into preparing each and every dish is simply astounding. It almost looks too good to eat. The presentation is a standout too, with many of the guests commenting on the unique plates the food is served on – definitely Instagram worthy!

Backed by a team of highly skilled chefs, Andrea and wife Kerri have been at the helm of the restaurant for two years and pride themselves on dishing up modern Italian cuisine utilising the abundant variety of fresh local produce.

Perfectly positioned on the edge of the Noosa River and surrounded by lush shady trees, the tranquil setting is the perfect spot to enjoy a long, leisurely lunch.

Boasting wall-to-wall glass panels that take full advantage of the views, they can also be opened to bring the outdoors in.

The ladies and I enjoyed a special degustation menu, allowing us to sample some of the innovative flair Andrea is famous for. From the freshest of seafood followed by a delicious creamy risotto and slow cooked lamb shoulder that fell off the fork, each dish was a stand out.

Rounding off our delicious lunch was one of the most decadent desserts I have sampled. Perfectly presented, Andrea tells me the chocolate has been sprayed on! The rich chocolate dome breaks open to reveal a delicious strawberry sauce, each mouthful an explosion of flavour.

I’m not surprised to discover that Noosa Waterfront rates as one of the top Italian restaurants in Queensland and was awarded a Chef’s Hat in 2017.
Make sure you put it on your “must do” list next time you are in Noosa, you won’t be disappointed.

Buon appetito!

Noosa Waterfront
Restaurant and Bar
142 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville
Phone: 5474 4444

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