Ramada Resort by Wyndham Port Douglas Food and Beverage Manager, Glen Abell, with last year's graduate, Yavaleagh Paii

Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia will celebrate its 700th National Indigenous Training Academy (NITA) graduate this year as the latest cohort of First Nations students commence training at local businesses.

Ramada Resort by Wyndham Port Douglas is taking part in the initiative for a second consecutive year, with this year’s student gaining practical experience in food and beverage, housekeeping, front office and other disciplines.

“We are pleased to partner with Ramada Port Douglas for another year to offer our students real-world experience and genuine hospitality connections,” said Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia CEO Matthew Cameron-Smith.

“We’re thrilled to play a part in helping to grow the next generation of hospitality professionals.

“This year, we celebrate our 700th NITA graduate and we can see the demand from students, employers and the wider industry. Together, we are setting up our First Nations young people for long-term success in this industry.”

NITA offers training, working and residential programs in hospitality and tourism at both Ayers Rock Resort, Uluru and Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre in Far North Queensland.

The student placed at Ramada Port Douglas is enrolled in a 12-month full-time traineeship through NITA and works four-hour shifts at the hotel every week, while completing practical and theory sessions at the Mossman Gorge Cultural Centre.

“Over the past year, we have found this partnership with the NITA to be fulfilling – for our team as well as the students,” said Ramada Port Douglas General Manager, Hani Daher.

“Our team enjoyed investing their time and energy into the lives and careers of these First Nations young people and we sincerely hope they will continue to develop their talent and choose to forge a career in the industry.

“We look forward to working with another student this year and showcasing the many benefits of working in hospitality.”

Ramada Port Douglas is managed by Travel and Leisure Co., which formed its own First Nations Working Group at its Australian office last year to promote career opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia and Māori, tangata whenua of Aotearoa-New Zealand.