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Cathy Alder: “Just How I Always Wanted It”

Posted on 04/06/2013 by

ImageITC Tutor Cathy Alder (nee Morris), shares her experience of getting married in beautiful Rarotonga, surrounded by friends and family.   I chose to get married in Rarotonga because it is my favourite place on earth.

As a flight attendant I went there many, many times and in the back of my mind I always thought this would be the place I would get married.

Because I wanted my wedding in a specific place and time, I spent a year planning. It felt like a long wait, but to me the excitement of a holiday starts right at the planning stage, and it was definitely worth it!

Getting on the plane felt so familiar and made me miss flying, but my main feeling was excitement and when we landed I thought: “I’m finally here!”

Waking up on a beautiful beach in Rarotonga is bliss. I’m an early riser, so at 6am I set off for a walk to soak in my first day in paradise. Because I was thinking about fitting into my wedding dress I ran the rest of the mornings before the big day! You couldn’t find a nicer place to exercise.

I spent the days before the wedding hanging around with family and friends, being looked after by the amazing staff at our hotel, shopping in the local markets, swimming, kayaking, sunbathing and eating some of the best fish in the world.

And then I got married on a perfect day on a perfect beach with all the people I love around me… just how I always wanted it.

If you have never been to Rarotonga, I recommend this little island for so many reasons: it’s close; you can use NZD; it’s cheap; the people are lovely; there are Kiwi cafes and great coffee; and the swimming and snorkeling is some of the best in the world. You can find plenty to do or really just do nothing at all.

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10 great years at ITC

Posted on 03/04/2013 by

Two of ITC’s staff members recently reached their 10-year anniversary with the college. Both Justine Glackin and Steve Burke received a certificate and a trip to the value of $10,000 to thank them for their hard work and dedication to ITC.

Justine initially worked in ITC’s student services when she returned to New Zealand after six years of overseas travel. After two years at the college she took some time off for maternity leave.

“When I wanted to return to work part time in April 2006, Karen [then ITC’s Managing Director] was kind enough to offer me about 16 hours a week working from home helping with the accounts,” says Justine. “I went on maternity leave again in 2007 and came back in 2008 – once again working from home.”  

Justine says that flexibility has been “one of the amazing things about working for ITC; and even though I don’t go into the office all that often I still feel part of the team.”

Justine is now in charge of the college’s accounts. She has a great eye for detail and a motivated, positive attitude, says Managing Director Kerry Priestley.

“Justine has a fantastic sense of humour; she’s a good team player and is just great to work with.”

For her part Justine says she is extremely grateful that the college has allowed her role to change and develop over time with the changes in her life.

“I feel really lucky and privileged to be able to do this, as not only have I been able to keep my foot in the door work-wise, but I have also been able to be a stay-at-home mum. Not a bad deal I think!”

ITC Travel Tutor, Steve Burke, worked with Kerry Priestley in the travel industry (“Many years ago!” says Kerry). His background is mainly in airlines and his experience makes him extremely knowledgeable about airlines and airfares.

But his area of specialty is IATA – the International Air Transport Association’s certification programmes. ITC is an IATA Authorized Training Center (ATC), which allows it to teach the IATA Travel and Tourism and Aviation training programmes.

“It is because of Steve’s commitment and his knowledge of IATA that we have twice had students awarded IATA student of the year and the college was named an IATA 2011 Asia Pacific Top 10 Authorized Training Center,” says Kerry.

 And Steve’s commitment to the college goes above and beyond the call of duty.

“He is always willing to get involved in events, get dressed up and make a fool of himself,” laughs Kerry. “His next costume will be the Easter Bunny and I believe he will be distributing eggs around the college.”

“He really represents the college’s belief that learning should be fun and that this is a really fun industry to be in. You work hard and you live it 24/7, but if you get involved 100 per cent like Steve does the rewards are fantastic.”

What has kept Steve at the college for the past 10 years, he says, “is the great friendly atmosphere that is evident throughout the staff and students. The tutorial staff works well together, and are always willing to help out.”

Steve says that the generous travel package to celebrate his ten years with the college was a huge surprise.

 “I am still trying to figure out my dream trip!”

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ITC Welcomes Lorna Cuddy

Posted on 15/10/2012 by


Lorna Cuddy says she was born with aviation fuel in her veins: “My dad was an aircraft engineer for T.E.A.L. (now Air New Zealand), so outings to the airport were a regular activity – watching planes take off and land and admiring the elegant air hostesses, handsome pilots and the courteous ground staff – it all looked so glamorous, and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Lorna’s introduction to the industry was in a receptionist position with David Jones Traveland in Sydney. She worked hard to gain experience booking flights and excursions, issuing vouchers and tickets, and typing up itineraries.

Then she got the travel bug herself and set off for London via Europe on her OE.

“I had only been in the UK for two weeks when I landed my dream job at Heathrow Airport as a ground hostess with Pan Am,” she says. “It was only part time, but it was a foot in the door.”

In those days, says Lorna, training was all on the job. With great determination and commitment, she worked all the overtime that was available until she was fully trained and eventually offered a permanent, full-time job.

After 10 years at Heathrow, Lorna got the urge to return home to New Zealand. 

“Fortunately there was a vacancy at Auckland Airport and I was able to transfer with Pan Am.”

“Then one day we day we learnt that Pan Am was selling their Pacific routes to United Airlines and we were handed new uniforms – the good news was that we could all keep our jobs plus our years of service!

“Alas, United Airlines ceased flying into New Zealand in 2003 and I was forced to ‘retire’.” 

After nearly 29 years in the same job Lorna decided it was time to pursue her other passion: cooking.  

But when she signed up for Certificates in Cookery and Patisserie at AUT she didn’t realise it would spark a new interest in teaching. After working in a private training establishment teaching travel and tourism she went back to AUT to undertake a Certificate in Tertiary Teaching.

Since 2004 Lorna has taught at a number of tertiary institutions, including AUT, and says she is now delighted to be part of the team at ITC. 

“I’m looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experiences with the learners at ITC and helping them achieve their goals and ambitions,” she says.

ITC is thrilled to welcome someone with Lorna’s experience and knowledge. Her airline career is an outstanding example of how the travel and tourism industry rewards passion, hard work and a can-do attitude.

Welcome Lorna!

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Passing on the dream…

Posted on 18/06/2012 by

International Travel College (ITC) tutor Tonya Cole talks about her career in travel and how she came to work with ITC.

I started my career in travel after completing a Diploma in Travel, Tourism and Business. My first role was with a large wholesaler as a long-haul consultant selling travel to the UK, Europe, the USA and Asia.

After a few years, like many Kiwis, I left New Zealand for my big OE. I was based in London for several years and travelled extensively throughout Europe.

This experience was fantastic for its own sake, but it also added a great deal to my later ability to talk passionately to customers about their travel plans and to help them figure out the best kind of trip for them.

When I returned to New Zealand I decided to further my education and began a science degree in psychology and nutrition.

I continued to work in the travel industry while I was studying. This included roles as a travel consultant selling travel to Greece, Turkey and Italy, and as a product supervisor for a cruise company. In that role I was involved in marketing and advertising the company’s product, so I’m really excited that one of ITC’s new eBooks is on the cruise industry – it’s a really fun industry to work in and there is so much to learn that is relevant to any job in travel and tourism.

Studying and working was sometimes difficult, as many of our students know, but it really helps with your time management skills and gives you a real sense of accomplishment.

Ultimately, it was my passion for travel and my love of education that led me to ITC, where I truly love encouraging and motivating students to achieve their goals and dreams – as I have.   


Pictured above from left to right, Sera, Rachel and Tonya at the recent Graduation at The Langham Hotel in 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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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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The Big City and the Little Village

Posted on 07/11/2011 by

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!


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Have you met our new tutor in the City?

Posted on 11/08/2011 by

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.  

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Have you met our new Tutor at Botany?

Posted on 08/03/2011 by

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!


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My first year at ITC, John Windle

Posted on 16/11/2010 by

“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 Graduation 


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