Callaghan College & Surfest - callaghan college
Callaghan College & Surfest - callaghan college

Callaghan College Jesmond Senior Campus and Surfest

The relationship the Callaghan College Jesmond Senior Campus has with the Surfest organisation is an acknowledged exemplar in Vocational Education and Community Partnerships. 

Callaghan College Jesmond Senior Campus has been in partnership with Surfest for the last 12 years. Over 100 students are involved in Surfest every year. Students are involved in every aspect of the event from the catering, multimedia and marketing teams, judging area, photography, building the compound and administration.

Surfest is an internationally recognised and community surfing festival that is firmly implanted on the Newcastle annual social events calendar. Callaghan College Jesmond Senior Campus has a proud and long standing partnership with Surfest.

Callaghan College & Surfest - callaghan college
Callaghan College & Surfest - callaghan college

This partnership won the regional VET in schools Award of Excellence in 2009 and was also nominated as a finalist in the NSW State Training awards for 2008 and 2009 and 2010.

In 2012 the partnership won the Newcastle Sports awards for Outstanding School and Community partnership.

Student involvement includes:

Hospitality – Kitchen Operations students plan, prepare and cook all meals for the Surfest organisational crew and the corporate sponsors throughout the event. Hospitality – Food and Beverage students set up for catering functions, meet and greet officials, provide table service, deliver meals to officials and judges and communicate with the Kitchen Operations students on meal allocations and delivery.

Media – Students work in collaboration with Surfest Media where their work is entered onto Surfest Social Media and Internet platforms within 30 minutes of the completion of the heat. Students also film Callaghan College students working at the event.

Photography – Students take photos of the heats, promotional shots for sponsors, crowd coverage, and daily advertising banners for the Surfest Management committee. Students complete a brief given to them by Surfest Media and burn discs of their shots at the end of the day for use on all Surfest media platforms.

Sport, Lifestyle and Recreation – Students work with the judges and contest directors to assist in the administration duties of the contest. They also operate the priority flag for contestants during their events.

Business Services – Students work with the School Surfest management team prior to the event collating and preparing for organisational administration duties such as rostering, WH&S induction check lists, signage and distribution of information to students. They also provide administration assistance to officials during the event.

Retail Services – Students work closely with the Event Manager to distribute promotional t shirts to sponsors, officials and competitors. They also coordinate the sales of t shirts at the event. They assist with the co-ordination and relationship with other onsite retailers and or exhibitors.

Entertainment – Students perform at the corporate sponsors’ lunches with musical items during the service period.

Other student opportunities:
Photography students have had the photographs taken during the event published in CLEO and Billabong magazines. 

One student won 1st place in the IIford National Schools Digital Photography Awards.

Students have been interviewed on Newcastle NBN television, the Newcastle Herald, and ABC local radio.

Five students were finalists in regional VET student of the year awards.

Surfest have employed two students in two consecutive years to become part of the Surfest team for the following year due to their excellence shown during the event. These students have come from the photography and media departments.

In 2013 one of our students was invited on the strength of his performances to work directly with Fuel TV. This involved him in live interviews streamed to over 2 million viewers.

Surfest Organiser Warren Smith said, “Since the inception of the partnership with Callaghan College, Surfest has seen over 800 students work on many facets of Surfest from construction, hospitality, photography, media studies and SLR.”

Further he said, “The students have been a part of the Surfest team in presenting the event each year and have been given responsibility in their particular area to showcase their skills as individuals and to work as a team. As organisers we have enjoyed sharing our knowledge and experience with the students and have been overwhelmed by their enthusiasm and willingness to learn. There have been many students that excelled in the work environment of event management and it was so satisfying to know that Surfest provided the opportunity for them to learn these skills.

“We are looking forward to extending our relationship with the Callaghan College staff and students at Surfest 2023.”