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Opening their eyes to opportunuty

Posted on 04/07/2012 by

ITC classes 12CTT01A, 12CTT01B, and 12CTT02 and tutor Catherine O’Dea went on a famil trip and packed a huge amount of activity into their four-day adventure.

DAY ONE – 29 May 2012
The students and Catherine hopped aboard their Stray bus at 7am.

“Our driver was really friendly and passionate about New Zealand tourism,” said the students of 12CTT01A.  The spacious and comfortable Stray bus got the tick of approval from students, too.

The first stop was Blue Duck Station. The station is located in the Whakahoro Valley in the Ruapehu District on the banks of the Whanganui and Retaruke Rivers, and surrounded by Whanganui National Park.

The station’s mission statement is focused on the conservation of endangered wild life (including the New Zealand blue duck, for which it is named) and the health of the native bush and rivers.

“Dan from Blue Duck Station gave us an insight into how the station is run and its relevance to tourism,” said Catherine. “He also had a little chuckle to himself when I got out of the bus wearing a white trench coat and high-heeled boots to a working farm!”

After being settled in their rooms (and changing into more appropriate attire), the group headed off to explore the station on 4WD vehicles.

“All of the students got well and truly dirty. Mud was everywhere!” said Catherine.

The group also had the opportunity to kayak and ride horses.

In the first of two water-related mishaps, tutor Catherine fell into the river fully clothed while kayaking: “It was freezing and the students were very quick to point out the large eels and watch as I squealed in complete terror!”

Everyone headed back to the lodge for a hot shower, dinner and the chance to warm up around the fire.

“We also learnt the ways of the people who lived without technology,” joked the students from 12CTT02, as Blue Duck Station doesn’t have cell phone coverage.

DAY TWO – 30 May 2012
The group headed off early the following day for Rotorua via Tongariro National Park, Tawhai Falls, and Taupo.

“We had a breakfast stop at The Park Travellers Lodge in Tongariro, where the general manager Jason spoke to the students about his business and the area while we enjoyed our meal and coffee by the fire,” said Catherine.

“During our short visit to Taupo we got to see the sheer power of the Huka Falls as they drained Lake Taupo and dropped off a five-metre waterfall,” said impressed students from 12CTT01A.

The students spent some time settling in at Base Backpacking Hostel in Rotorua before heading out to meet Doug Tamaki, founder and owner of Tamaki Maori Village.

“Doug was truly inspirational and a great public speaker,” said Catherine. “He spoke to the students about how he started in the industry, his struggles and his triumphs.”

It was certainly a highlight for many of the students.

“It was the best part of the trip,” said Marylee Mala’e from 12CTT01B. “Most of us had no idea about how the Maori had lived. We all went back to the hostel with so much more knowledge about Maori culture.”

Student Rehan Tata from 12CTT02 was elected to represent the ITC group as chief and took on his role with great enthusiasm and respect, said Catherine.

“We received a thrilling powhiri welcome,” said Rehan. “Then we were able to explore the beautiful Maori village and do some fun activities and games. After that we were all invited to attend a big amazing hangi feast.”
DAY THREE – 31 May 2012
Day three was another action-packed one. Students were split into two groups – one went to Kaitiaki Rafting and the other to Agroventures, where they could choose from four extreme adventure activities. The two groups then switched activities later in the day.

“The guys from Kaitiaki Rafting were great,” said Catherine. “They put the students at ease and were extremely encouraging and supportive.” 

“I just happened to be in the raft that capsized down the seven-metre waterfall,” she continues. “Yes, the second time on this trip I got myself soaking wet, but I loved it!”

The students from 12CTT01A sum up the day at Agroventures: “We got to swoop 40 metres at a speed of 130kmph, jet from 0 – 100kmph in the blink of an eye, bungy from 43 metres high and experience a minute and a half of free fall above a giant wind column!”

“I think it’s safe to say the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves,” said Catherine. “We were all encouraged to take part and do something we normally wouldn’t do. I did the Swoop super swing with two students and we came off feeling alive!”
DAY FOUR – 1 June 2012
“Forty-six tired students and one tired tutor piled onto the bus and headed for Auckland where we arrived just after 1pm,” said Catherine. “I had an unbelievable time and would do a famil again in a heartbeat. I have a different relationship with these students now, as we have shared this amazing experience together.”
The students agree with Catherine’s sentiment. “The trip brought us closer to our classmates and students from the other classes, and we even got our awesome tutor Catherine to kick back and hang with us,” said Rehan.

And amidst all the excitement, the point of it all wasn’t lost on the students either.

“Before this trip we didn’t realize all the job opportunities there were available to us in the industry,” said a representative of class 12CTT01A. “It was a great way to open our eyes to the real world of tourism in New Zealand.”



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The Right Attitude Shines Through at ITC’s Graduation

Posted on 12/06/2012 by

Over 100 students recently graduated from International Travel College’s range of airline, travel and tourism certificate courses, and 11 students graduated from the International Air Transport Association’s IATA Foundation Diploma. The 320 staff, students and guests celebrated on 29 May in the beautiful ballroom at The Langham in Auckland.

“The IATA diploma is an internationally recognised qualification in airlines and ticketing and one that we are very proud to be able to deliver,” says ITC’s Managing Director Kerry Priestly.

IATA is an international trade body that represents some 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic. As an IATA Authorized Training Center, ITC is authorised to teach IATA’s travel, tourism and aviation training programmes. In 2011, the college was named as one of IATA’s top 10 Asia Pacific Authorized Training Centers.

Donna Kermode – group training manager for Stella Travel Services’s retail arm, Harvey World Travel and United Travel – was this year’s guest speaker. Donna has a wealth of experience in the airline and business travel sectors.

“Donna’s speech was especially pertinent, as she has taught some of our students,” says Kerry. “Eight of them were handpicked to attend the Harvey World Travel Training School that Donna and her colleagues ran at ITC last year. It was not a required part of their course work, and Donna made special mention of ITC students’ motivation and said that they really have the ‘wow’ factor.”

Her speech focused on the importance of having the right attitude in order to succeed in the travel industry. She praised ITC’s students for their flexibility, adaptability, their helpfulness and their eagerness to learn.

“She gave our graduates a real sense of what they can achieve with their ITC qualifications,” says Kerry.
As well as the certificates and diplomas, the following awards were given for special achievements.

Distance learning awards
Personal Achievement Award : Te Uruhina Vercoe (NZ Explore – America’s Cup sailing trip for 2)
Outstanding All Round Achievement Award: Lynda Scott (Fullers – Taste of Waiheke for 2)
City campus awards
Academic Excellence Award : Laura Orsbourn (Intercity – Waitomo Explorer day tour for 2)
College Life Award : Taufiq Asad (Sky Dive Auckland – 16,500 foot jump)
Outstanding All Round Achievement Award : Nicky Bennett (Novotel Ellerslie – 1 night’s accom )
Student of the Year : Pattananawadee Singhapanit (Stray Tours – South Island Willy Pass)
Botany Campus Awards
Academic Excellence Award : Rosemary Munro (Intercity – Bay of Islands day tour for 2)
College Life Award : Aisea Halo (AJ Hackett – Auckland Bridge Bungy Jump)
Outstanding All Round Achievement Award: Emma Pilkington (YHA Rotorua  – 2 night’s accom)
Student of the Year : Aisea Halo (Magic Tours – Northern Discovery Pass)
ITC would like to thank the sponsors who gave us such fantastic prizes, and a special thank you to our major sponsor for the evening, The Langham, Auckland.


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Teaching from experience

Posted on 05/06/2012 by

Jacques Janse Van Rensburg joined ITC in 2011 as a tutor in tourism and business management. Jacques talks about his experience in the hospitality and tourism industry both in New Zealand and South Africa.

I started in tourism and hospitality as a general apprentice and over the next 11 years was promoted through food and beverage, function management, adventure and holiday camp management, outdoor education deveopment and, finally, to general manager of a world-renowned game lodge in South Africa. There I had full responsibility for business leadership, strategy, marketing, finance, systems, IT and human resources.

After immigrating to New Zealand, I completed my qualifications and went to work in hospitality and business education. 

I then took a break from education and put my hospitality management and customer service background to use managing a fast food chain.
I have now returned to my passion for education as a tutor at ITC. I am a student-centred teacher, mentor and coach, and I aim to encourage my students’ development through understanding them as individuals and their challenges and talents.

I hope that my practical business experience translates into common sense and savvy learning solutions for my students. I am very outcome-focused in the classroom; and I’m passionate about finding out who my students are as well as helping them to achieve the best the results they can.

I’m also a dedicated family man and spend most of my free time outdoors enjoying our favourite family hobby, tramping.



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Is Tour Guiding For You?

Posted on 21/05/2012 by

As we are about to launch our new e-book on being a tour guide, we thought we’d ask ITC staff member Sarndra Stephens about her experiences in the role.

What do you think makes a great tour guide?
“Firstly, you need to be passionate about the country you are showcasing and the places you visit. You also need to be extremely friendly, outgoing, open minded, professional and super organised.

“And you need to be able to think on your feet. I was once caught with a group between destinations due to floods. We ended up having a spontaneous mid-winter Christmas at a lodge that wasn’t on our itinerary and we had a hilarious, fantastic night.”

Is being a tour guide hard work?
“It is hard work, as you are pretty much on the job 24/7; but it’s so much fun because you are always on the go, visiting exciting places and doing amazing things with people who are enthusiastic about experiencing and finding out about your country.”

What are some of the challenges?
“You do need to do your research, as you get asked all sorts of questions and you are expected to be able to find answers to pretty much all of them.

“You can’t be prepared for all of them though! An older gentleman once asked me what the breed of cows was we were passing in a field. I had no idea at all! I told him I would look it up on the internet for him. Later that day I researched several different types of New Zealand cows and when I imparted all this newfound information to him he was absolutely delighted!”

“You need to keep your sense of humour too, as people don’t always think before they ask you a question. A passenger once asked me: ‘If I ring home, will my mum be there?’”

What are some of the best things about the role?
“I loved taking clients through New Zealand and getting to see the country in all the different seasons.

“I also loved being able to experience so many different things – to be a great tour guide you have to do all the activities yourself so that you can sell them effectively. The good news is that you get to do all these activities free of charge!

“I have tandem skydived, bungy jumped, parasailed, been glacier walking, white water rafting and whale and dolphin watching and so much more. It was an amazing job.”

To learn more about our new Tourguiding e-book and our other online resources, go to the ITC Online Store at:

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Do you want your career to fly high??

Posted on 16/05/2012 by

After having been a stay-at-home mum for a number of years, Pauline Ratumu decided to pursue her dream of working in the travel and tourism industry.

Pauline was thrilled when she found about ITC’s Certificate in Aviation course. “Hearing that the qualification specialised in the airport/airline industry and knowing that this course offered the foundation knowledge for that specific side of the industry sparked my interest,” she says.

Since graduating Pauline has attained a job as a flight attendant for Air New Zealand. She is enjoying every minute of it and says the only downside is the irregular schedule. She says she loves having the opportunity to travel and to meet so many new people “and, of course, the duty free discounts!”

Pauline says that her study at ITC set her up well for her new role: “When I went through my training with Air New Zealand I found that what I studied in class was very useful as I had already covered certain areas though my Certificate in Aviation course.”

Pauline is looking forward to her future career, which could include working on long-haul flights and, in time, senior roles in the airline.

And she has some good advice for others looking for a future in the industry too. “Have respect for yourself and be yourself. Have a good, positive attitude in everything you do, and don’t let anything put you off or hold you back from getting you to where you want to be!”


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ITC’s Students’ Stray Adventures

Posted on 10/05/2012 by

A number of students from ITC’s two-year International Tourism and Travel Management programme went on a four-day Stray bus tour as part of their studies.

International student Thalib Meethal was one of the students and said he had a wonderful time.

The group left Auckland on 10 April and travelled to Hahei in the Coromandel, to Raglan, then to Waitomo and across to Maketu and Rotorua before returning to Auckland four days later.

“The driver Mudd gave a great commentary,” says Thalib. “He had lots of really fun stories and helped everyone to get to know each other.  We experienced ‘speed dating’ Stray-bus-style and had five minutes to talk to each passenger and then move seats.” 

Once they got to Hahei some of the travellers were brave enough to go for a swim. The water was cold but Thalib says the sun was out and warmed them up, and later in the day they experienced the natural hot water springs on Hot Water Beach.

“We dug holes in the sand and made our own hot pools,” says Thalib. “The water was much hotter than I thought it would be. The natural spring water is really good for your skin and it’s free!” 

The group were in Raglan the next day, giving them a chance to meet other international travellers staying in the lodge and to seek out the glow worms in the fields later that evening.

There were more glow worms and some serious adventure waiting for Thalib and his fellow travellers in Waitomo the next day.

Thalib did the Hagga Honking Holes caving experience – involving abseiling, rock-climbing and caving.

“It was a long way down (80m) and was really scary!” says Thalib.  “This was my first ever abseil and I’d never been in a cave before. When we got down to the river it was in flood and the next tours were cancelled due to the high water levels.” 

As well as all the adventure, Thalib enjoyed the food on the journey as well. He says that Mudd stopped at all the good places to eat along the way and a Kiwi barbeque in the Coromandel was a favourite, but the stand out meal was at Uncle Boy’s Place in Maketu.

Uncle Boy’s is a purpose-built marae and backpackers.

“We learnt the haka and about historic weapons and the migration of Maori to New Zealand and we heard many other tales of Maori culture.  Here we had a really great dinner – fresh fish, mutton, chicken and vegetables.”

The group also had time to explore Maketu beach and visit many of the area’s kiwifruit orchards before heading off to its final stop on the tour – Rotorua.

“We had to time to wander around the city centre and explore the lake shore,” says Thalib, “and we met some friendly local ducks!”

The group headed back to Auckland that evening.
“This was four of the best days of my life,” says Thalib. “Thanks ITC and Stray!”



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The value of experience

Posted on 29/04/2012 by

Industry experience is always valuable in airline, travel and tourism jobs – wherever you might get it.

General job skills like communication and time and workload management skills will stand you in good stead whatever you do. But specific industry skills are also often transferable between different travel and tourism operations.

A number of staff from Fullers, for example, have recently used their experience to gain flight attending roles. 

Fullers handles many of the Auckland ferries and harbour cruises and Project Manager Wolfgang tells us that working at Fullers is a perfect way for young people to gain the necessary experience to become flight attendants. 

Airlines told the successful Fullers candidates that there were a number of similarities between the two types of operation such as working shifts, dealing with cancelations due to bad weather, and managing large numbers of customers in a short space of time.
The majority of airlines like their staff to be 21 years of age or older, so spending a couple of years with companies such as Fullers is a great way for younger graduates to hone their skills before applying for flight attending roles.

While Fullers does offer career pathways for entry-level staff, Wolfgang and other senior managers are also very conscious that some of these staff have other career aspirations. They say they are more than happy to play their part in the helping young people land their dream jobs.



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Introducing Mel Verwijmeren

Posted on 23/04/2012 by

Mel Verwijmeren has recently started at ITC running the four short courses that we offer to give high school students a taste of the industry. Mel will be running courses in aviation, travel, tourism and the Big Day Out course.

Mel is the proud mother of two girls and says she is known for her bubbly personality and for always having “ants in my pants”.

She gained a travel and tourism qualification straight after high school and spent the next two years working in a call centre environment. She then worked for Air New Zealand for nine years, starting as a check in agent and moving on to work in an operational capacity coordinating aircraft and providing pilot documentation.

“I met some really amazing people,” she says. “Lots of sports teams and well-known bands, and I saw some fabulous aircraft.”

When she’s not working Mel says she loves to fundraise for foundations that need a helping hand.  “So far I have fundraised for Heart Kids and The New Zealand Heart Foundation, and I also help out at Christmas time at the Auckland City Mission, collecting items from local communities to give to families in need during the festive season.”

Always on the lookout for new adventures, Mel has recently decided to run the Rotorua Marathon. Previously, she ran a triathlon just eight weeks after having her second daughter. Mel says that realising what she could achieve “started the ball rolling in setting my own personal goals and achievements.”

Mel’s latest adventure is to join the team at ITC.

“The team at the college has a real family feel and I already feel part of that, with plenty of colleagues willing to help out at a drop of a hat. I look forward to my future with the college and seeing the students work toward achieving their own personal goals.”



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Distance Online Learning Career Successes

Posted on 17/04/2012 by

Three ITC online learning students share their stories

Sharon is working as the receptionist for Auckland Transport. The company wanted the person who took the position to have a qualification in travel and Sharon hopes to expand into other areas now the Rugby World Cup rush is over.

“I’m enjoying this position,” she says. “I’m working with a great bunch of people and my boss is just lovely. I really enjoy all the face-to-face customer interaction, so this suits me better than a call centre.”

Part of ITC’s distance online learning course is in career preparation. Sharon says: “Your help with CV writing and interviewing was invaluable. I have shared my CV with others who have been looking for jobs unsuccessfully for quite some time and were not getting interviews. As soon as they followed your fantastic pointers for a good CV they have had interviews straight away, and got the jobs as well! So thank you on behalf of my friends and myself!”

Laura in Nelson has found a job in the tourism industry.  She has some excellent advice for other students. “I applied for a job at a motel down the road from my house. They had an ad in the paper for a cleaner. When I had my interview they told me that they wanted to hire someone they could train up to do reception as well.

“I have been there since the middle of October and they have been great and taught me so much. I am now confident in answering the phone, taking bookings and checking guests in and out. My certificate from ITC has really paid off.

“I love my new job and am getting heaps of experience – and I thought I was just going to be a cleaner! My advice to other students is to take any job they are offered and let the employers know how keen they are to learn and take on more responsibilities.”

Laura from Christchurch recently found a job with House of Travel as an online consultant. “My new job is going really well. I love it! I sort out all the bookings from the website, ticketing them, informing passengers of schedule changes, assisting with flight date changes etc. It is good fun and very varied!

“I work with a great team of people, which really helps and my manager is lovely and very flexible with the roster. I work 4 days a week, 10 hours a day on shifts, which works well for me.”
ITC staff members were so pleased when Laura found this job. Laura did well in her studies, despite the fact that she lost her home in the September 2010 earthquake. After the February quake in 2011 Laura stayed with her mum in Auckland for a while. Even though this was a tough year, Laura did extremely well in her studies and received an ITC Award with Distinction.






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ITC Students Welcome International Counterparts

Posted on 11/04/2012 by

International Travel College of New Zealand (ITC) students were once again an important part of the Auckland International Student Welcome.

The event, run by Study Auckland, part of Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED), welcomed over 1600 international students to Auckland City.

ITC has been a premium supplier of full-time and part-time training programmes for the airline, travel and tourism industries since 1996, and working at large events like the Student Welcome provides excellent experience for its students, says ITC staff member Malia Otuhouma.

“This is a chance for the students to put into practice what they have been studying, and I was so proud of what they achieved on the day.”

As well as taking care of VIPs and performers backstage, the students handed out goodie bags and were just generally on the spot wherever they were needed.

And the organisers were glad of their help, too. ATEED’s Study Auckland Manager Debbie Chambers said ITC students once again stepped up to the mark.

“We are always pleased to have ITC students at our events. We know they are being taught by experts with industry experience, and it really shows.

“They always had a smile on their faces and they managed their many tasks on the day professionally, despite it being an incredibly busy event.”

Malia says the students enjoyed a chance to gain some real-world event experience.

“It’s such a big part of study at ITC. You can’t teach travel and tourism purely in a classroom. It’s about being on the spot and seeing all the work that goes on behind the scenes to make events like this look effortless on the day.”




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