Internship leads to exciting venue operations role

Griffith student, Zanthe Heaton, who will work as an Assistant Venue Operations Manager, during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Griffith student, Zanthe Heaton, who will work as an Assistant Venue Operations Manager, during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

At times the playground of top talent like Chris Hemsworth and Johnny Depp, the Oxenford Studios on the Gold Coast’s north end will be home to some of the world’s top athletes in April.

It will also become a home from home for Griffith University student, Zanthe Heaton, who will work there as an Assistant Venue Operations Manager, during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The Bachelor of Business student, who has majored in event management and marketing, jumped at the opportunity to undertake a unique internship with Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC).

“I initially stumbled across event management when I fitted it into my study timetable, but I developed a natural interest and appetite for it,” Zanthe says.

“After taking a break from studies to travel, I came home to the Gold Coast, knowing I couldn’t let the Commonwealth Games come and go without being involved. The internship with GOLDOC was a perfect opportunity to do that.”

Festival of Sport

Her internship with GOLDOC’s Venue Management team immediately took Zanthe on a site visit to the Nerang Mountain Bike Trails where the cycling competition is expected to attract up to 2,000 ticketed spectators during the April Games.

Belmont Shooting Centre, Anna Meares Velodrome and Coomera Indoor Sports Centre were also on her radar, but it is the Oxenford Studios — home to boxing, squash and table tennis competition — that will become her most familiar terrain during the upcoming festival of sport.

“An important part of the job was working out how to convert a movie studio into a sports venue that is user-friendly for athletes and spectators alike,” Zanthe says.

“I had the opportunity to take part in some of the brainstorming sessions around this project and put my event management studies in use almost immediately.

“I thought a lot about colour and music and how these tie into the spectator experience. How does colour, for example, influence people to be calm or excited depending on the requirements of the sport? Different colours work in different situations. When you’re considering the look and signage of a functional area, it may be less about aesthetics and more about the theory behind it.”

Adaptability and responsibility

On the afternoon that we meet, Zanthe has just completed a number of functional simulation exercises where a number of possible Games-time scenarios are rolled out to ensure the correct reaction processes are in place and working effectively. Zanthe slides into a Venue Communication Centre Supervisor role for the purposes of the activity.

Her adaptability and responsibility were further underlined with the arrival of 130 new interns from Griffith University on January 22, with up to 40 of these students within her team. As the GOLDOC team transitions into the Oxenford venue at the end of February, her work will focus on venue safety and inducting the latest wave of new starters so they are suitably upskilled for the job ahead.

“I want to stay on my A-game right up to and during the Games. This is important to the entire team and helps to ensure everyone is making good decisions,” Zanthe says.

“My GOLDOC experience has been very supportive. From day one they found tasks that suited my skills and which helped me develop and grow.”

This growth also reaches an important milestone this month (March) when she receives the certificate that confirms she has completed her Bachelor of Business at Griffith University. Along with a GOLDOC internship, which started in October, Zanthe also enrolled to study in Trimester 3 to complete a course in consumer psychology and finish her degree.