PTC staff and management, friends and industry representatives gathered at Nadi Bay Hotel to farewell Mr Jim Irwin, APTC Fiji Country Manager for the Schools of Tourism and Hospitality (STH) and Health and Community Services (SHCS).
Affectionately known as Mr Jim by the APTC students, the celebration was an opportunity to recognise Mr Irwin's nearly three years outstanding service and contribution to the College, and to wish him all the best for the future.
One guest remarked that the event was "like a who's who of the Fiji tourism and hospitality industry", a fitting testament to Mr Irwin's efforts over the last three years.
Jim began with APTC in Nadi, late 2007, with no campus and no office. Now, both schools are operating in Suva, Rakiraki and Nadi, and there are a host of industry sites such as Castaway Island, the Hilton on Denarau, and ATS at Nadi International Airport.
Mr Antoine Barnaart, APTC General Manager talked about Jim's commitment to the industry and thanked him on behalf of the College for his contribution, "…in light of the challenges and complexity of such a large program."
In his tribute, Mr Anthony Bailey, Head of School for the School of Tourism and Hospitality commented on Jim's passion and enthusiasm for the tourism and hospitality, and messages and tributes from colleagues such as Gordon Wilson, CEO Tanoa Hotel Group, and Julie Thornton, Project Director Schools of ACEM were read out.
The evening, which began in traditional Fijian fashion, with Mele, the Nadi Bay Hotel Manager, presenting Mr Irwin with a salusalu (lei), ended with a traditional Fijian farewell, with the staff, including the chef, singing Isa Lei.
Mr Bailey commented that this was a fitting end to Jim's time in Fiji with APTC, as everyone said on the night, "We won't say goodbye because we will see you again soon."
Mr Irwin has returned to Melbourne to take up a new position at Box Hill Institute, the managing contractor for STH and SHCS