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.”
Posted in News, Staff News | Tagged ITC Staff | Leave a reply
ITC’s Managing Director Kerry Priestley tells us about two of his favourite travel destinations.
Working in the world of travel and tourism, I am often asked about my favourite destination, but it’s so hard to choose! I have been to many wonderful places over the years, but it’s the people you meet and the experiences you share that make a trip really stand out.
However, there are two destinations that evoke particularly special memories for me – one close to home and the other a little farther away.
Firstly, I love Melbourne. I have had some great times there, and I have travelled to Melbourne more than to any other overseas destination. So what keeps me going back?
It is so hard to describe the feeling of a place, but in practical terms Melbourne is really easy to get around thanks to a great public transport system; it has fantastic shopping precincts within the central city itself or just a short tram ride away; there’s a wide diversity of restaurants that cater for all tastes and styles; and then there’s the great night life, with excellent live theatre and clubs and bars to suit all ages. And you are only 45 minutes away from the Yarra Valley, one of the key winemaking areas in Victoria.
So for me, Melbourne has it all, and it is all there at your fingertips.
My other, and more recent, favourite destination is Provence in the South of France – in particular mid-Provence. This is where there are many (and I mean many!) quaint little villages that represent the France of a bygone era.
This is an unusual choice for me, because I am not generally a small village sort of person. I really like cities where there is a lot to see and do.
But these villages all have their own unique personalities, and I love to find a café in the village square and sit and watch the world go by. The French love of food (and mine!) is rewarded with some amazing restaurants turning out fantastic cuisine. Their passion for the culinary arts is obvious.
But, again, it is the indefinable feel of the place and its history that make the experience in these villages – many dating back to Roman times – so memorable.
My memories of both Melbourne and Provence are created from great experiences with good friends and I hope to keep adding to them!Posted in News, Staff News | Tagged Travel experiences | Leave a reply
Meet Catherine O’Dea, the newest member of the ITC City tutor team. She talks about why she got into the Industry and why she decided to make the move into teaching.
“My love for travel and tourism developed while I was still at high school, so when I graduated I decided to pursue a career in the industry.
I began studying in 2004, but before the academic year was even finished Qantas Airways offered me a job as a reservations consultant. This offered me a great starting point in the industry, and I learnt about many aspects of the business, including customer service, flights, airfares and ticketing.
After two years in Qantas reservations, I applied for the role of business development officer in commercial sales and got it. The role was responsible for looking after Qantas’s small to medium clients, with a key objective to increase market revenue. This role offered me the opportunity to learn about the corporate side of Qantas and meet lots of new people.
After two years in commercial sales I felt like I needed a challenge. I moved to Jetconnect (a subsidiary of Qantas) as a short haul flight attendant. This was a dream come true for me.
The cabin crew training was very challenging and rewarding, and I was extremely excited to finally be able to put it all into practice.
I flew weekly from New Zealand to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and really enjoyed interacting with other crew members and passengers from different cultures every single day. No day was ever the same!
During my time in this role, a position came up at Qantas Business Travel as a corporate travel consultant. Ever since starting at Qantas, I had always wanted to work in this department, so I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by.
In this role I was able to learn about many more aspects of travel, including packages, rental cars and accommodation. It was here that I learnt about providing great customer service while helping clients with all aspects of their travel requirements.
When I saw the job of travel tutor advertised at ITC, I knew that I wanted to share my knowledge and experience with students who felt as excited about the industry as I did.
What has struck me since starting at ITC is how practically and realistically the training prepares students for careers in travel and tourism.
Like me, the staff all have experience in the industry, which mean students are not only getting the benefit of the great programmes and facilities, but they are getting genuine first-hand knowledge every day.
My goal now is to help others to achieve their goals; to help students make the career choices that are best for them by passing on as much information as I can about working in this amazing industry.”
Thanks Catherine, we know you are going to inspire, motivate and teach lots of students into this awesome industry.Posted in News, Staff News | Leave a reply
Hi my name is Cathy. I flew for Air New Zealand International for 10 years as a flight attendant. I loved my job and was very lucky to have the opportunity to travel the world, see the sites, experience different cultures and different foods.
But I’ve now moved on to a new role as a tutor at ITC and I am lucky enough to be here at the Botany campus with an amazing group of people who are fast becoming my little work family.
It’s a challenging role for me, but already very rewarding. I’ve already seen students succeed and it’s very satisfying to know that I’m playing a part in that, knowing I’ve done my job well and I am going to see these students go out into the world and find their dream job…that’s just awesome!Posted in News, Staff News | Leave a reply
“You’re going where?” asked Rob. I was standing in the White Horse in Brixton, a busy noisy suburb in South London, the centre of the Afro-Caribbean community in London and my home for the last 5 years. It was the usual 6pm drink on a Friday night when I caught up with my mates to celebrate the end of another working week.
“I’m going to New Zealand. I’ve been offered a job at the International Travel College in Auckland”. “But who will you teach?” asked my mate Rob. All the kiwis are here on their OEs living in West London, working in bars” he said before asking if I liked Kangaroo meat. Geography has never been one of Rob’s better subjects. Ask him about which label the Doors recorded on or the artwork on the last Dr Feelgood album and he’ll bore you for hours, but knowing the difference between New Zealand and Australia (or any other English speaking country) and he’s useless.
Yes I was lucky enough to have been offered a job at the multiple award winning college by the director Karen Houston. The next few weeks were busy as organised a tenant for my flat, sold loads of stuff on eBay (the UK version of TradeMe) and waved goodbye to my battered little blue 1997 Fiat Punto. There were tearful parties with friends and family and then the big day arrived, more hugs, tears and those awkward silences when people see you off at the airport and you’ve all said all there is to say. And then suddenly I had gone through passport control and I was alone in the departure lounge at Gatwick waiting for the Emirates flight to Dubai where I would transfer to the Auckland flight via Brisbane.
I felt quite strange. This wasn’t like going on holiday where you know you’ll be coming back through the same gate in a week or two, back to your flat where piles of junk mail from Estate Agents and Indian takeaway menus will be waiting for you in the letter box. I was leaving London and I didn’t know when I’d be back. I was flying to a country I hadn’t visited for 13 years to work in a building I had never seen with people I had never met.
The flight was good but full. Dubai was hot and Brisbane was cool at 4am. And then flying over the Tasman Sea I got my first glimpse of New Zealand. But only for a second, as we were inevitably engulfed in Long White Clouds until we were right over Auckland. The cloud was low so I only briefly saw “No” Tree Hill, the Skytower and Waitemata Harbour. But then the mud flats of Manukau Harbour hurtled towards us and we glided into Auckland Airport.
My first day was good. Kerry introduced me to the rest of the team and Michelle organised a morning tea in Travel World where I shook hands with everyone apart from Lanthia who gave me a hongi. Nice touch I thought.
Since then at work I have taught a variety of subjects, been on field trips to Devonport, harbour cruises, ten pin bowling in Panmure, organised the ITC New Zealand Fashion Awards with Inder and Caroline last November, been up the Skytower, run with a torch through the tunnels in North Head, visited a Marae, organised the ITC FIFA World Cup (Brazil won) and worked with some amazing students. Travel and Tourism is a people business and the grounding the students get at ITC is excellent. Employers I have talked to are impressed by the quality of the students. ITC has just won another two awards this time at the prestigious Manukau Business Awards for customer service and innovation.
So, I’ve been here nearly a year now. I’ve missed English pubs and my mates. But Auckland has been very good to me so far. When I occasionally pine for home and a decent kebab I have found an English shop in Onehunga where I can buy Curly Wurlies and Scampi Fries. But I have been introduced to Jaffas, Pavlovas, the freshest fruit and vegetables and good hangis. I’m still undecided about L&P but I am now hooked on “This Is Not My Life” on TVNZ. I have discovered that when someone says bring a plate, they don’t mean “we have run out of crockery” so bring an empty plate, that they mean you’re supposed to take bring some food. And my mate Rob would be disappointed to learn I have had no kangaroo meat.
Maybe one of my strongest memories from my first year in Auckland is standing on Kohimarama beach at sunset with amazing shades of red, orange and purple overhead, watching the Queen Mary 2 sail past Rangitoto, out of Auckland harbour on her way back to England. She was an impressive site. I quietly wished her bon voyage but as I stood there barefoot with the sand between my toes I had no wish to be sailing back to England with her.
John Windle is the programme leader for the Diploma course at The International Travel College of New Zealand.
John (left) pictured with some of the team at a GraduationPosted in News, Staff News | Leave a reply