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A niche hotel career in human resources

le cordon bleu alumna Sonal Tomar

A desire to experience the hotel industry from the ground up saw alumna Sonal Tomar take on diverse roles at InterContinental Hotel Adelaide before finding her niche as Human Resources Officer. A Bachelor of Business (Restaurant & Catering Management) in 2010 at Le Cordon Bleu Adelaide set her on the pathway to her dream HR role.

Sonal discovered Le Cordon Bleu at a Career Exhibition where she was assisted by an education agent. Originally from India, Sonal was drawn to Australia’s culture and sunny climate. The opportunity to study overseas was exciting and a little daunting, as she was only 18 years and had never been away from home.

Le Cordon Bleu was fantastic, from the first semester we were all likeminded people who loved food and wine. There was a good demographic, some were straight from school, and others had industry experience. I made some really great friends.

After 6 months she was off to Hamilton Island to work in a restaurant by the beach, Toucan Tango, for a Le Cordon Bleu Work Integrated Learning (WIL) placement. Having never worked before, Sonal says the experience built her character and confidence. “On my Work Integrated Learning placement at Hamilton Island we worked hard, but on days off we made the most of the Island Lifestyle, Exploring the nearby islands and taking cruises to the beautiful Whitehaven beach.”

At the end of her WIL industry placement, Sonal had perfect clarity about her next role. Having worked on an island resort, she wanted to experience a hotel corporate role or five-star hotel. Her 2nd WIL placement was at Park Hyatt Melbourne in Banquets.

WIL placements are the best way to gain confidence in our Industry. It’s a practical industry, but I was able to apply the knowledge from my studies at Le Cordon Bleu, both practical and theoretical, to my placements - that really helps you feel more comfortable in the workplace.

After graduating, Sonal initially started her career at InterContinental Adelaide in the Food & Beverage department, moved to Front desk and then the Reservations team. Looking for her next opportunity to grow, Sonal decided to pursue a specialisation in Human Resources. After completing a Certificate IV in Human Resources Management, she won her first Human Resources role at InterContinental in 2017.

Within a year Sonal was promoted from Human Resources Coordinator, and has recently been promoted to Human Resources Officer, working closely with leaders that manage over 300 staff members. In ten years, Sonal has her sights set on becoming Regional HR Director.

“I am a big advocate of the InterContinental Group, and hopefully I get to work around the world with this company. Since discovering my place in Human Resources, I’ve been able to build on my strengths and there is no looking back!” she says.

As Human Resources Officer with a keen focus on learning and development, Sonal trains and motivates fellow staff, helping them to grow. She loves attending Le Cordon Bleu Career Expos, where she talks to hospitality students about their prospects and potential future careers with InterContinental Group.

When you find the right role for you, find an organisation that is willing to help you grow. Network, meet industry people and continue to learn and study while you work.

CRICOS 02380M / RTO 4959