Cork student wins gold at prestigious European awards 

Cork student Katie Burke won the Team Ireland gold medal in the annual European Association of Schools of Hotel and Tourism (AEHT) competition in Italy.

The Gurranabraher national, who is studying for a Bachelor of Business in Tourism Management, was awarded the Gold Medal in Destination Management.

Head of Tourism and Hospitality (MTU) and National AEHT Representative in Ireland, Dr Noel Murray, was full of praise for the Cork student.

“It’s a great achievement from Katie. We are delighted.

“She was paired with students from Sweden and the Netherlands. They had to give a presentation and they did incredibly well. The judge said they did an exceptional job on their assignment,” he said.

Katie is joined by the Irish team by Jayne O’Sullivan from Ballymacoda, who also attends MTU and is studying for a BBA in Culinary Arts. Jayne competed in a pastry competition.

Dr Murray said that participating in competitions such as the European Association of Hotel and Tourism Schools (AEHT), which attract the best students from hotel and tourism schools across Europe, gives students “great confidence”.

“It gives students a lot of confidence. It gives them the ability to meet and work with new people in a very short period of time and eventually deliver a project. We had four Irish students in all and we are happy to have one medal.

“It’s amazing. All the students did really well. They will have learned a lot from the experience.”

“Having a medal is a great addition on the cake, but actually being in the competition is what it’s all about. It’s great to bring a medal home. Winning one medal with four students is a massive achievement,” he added.

“Katie is destined for great things,” said Dr. Murray.

“It’s great for her because she put in a tremendous amount of work in the lead up to that.

“A lot of the lecturers helped her in terms of preparing her and giving her the best possible support.”

“I love the phrase that it takes a village to raise a child,” he said, “and certainly in this case, all the lecturers who presented the program supported her journey. It is great to have such recognition in an international competition.”

This year’s conference was held in the Italian city of Senigallia, and provided an opportunity for a rich exchange of social and cultural knowledge, educational materials, professional knowledge and skills, as well as the promotion of hotel and tourism training in Europe.

Ten competitions were held during this year’s conference - in the areas of Pastry, Culinary Arts, Decathlon, Catering Service, Wine & Cocktail Service, Barista, Front Office, Tourist Destination and Hospitality Management.

The program also included meetings for the Presidency, the Executive Council and the General Assembly, in addition to a series of competitions that enable students to compete with each other in a variety of disciplines.