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Tips on gaining employment

Posted on 17/07/2013 by


ITC’s Account Manager Ceri Jenkins discusses two of the key barriers to graduates gaining employment in the travel and tourism industry.

“I am often asked at careers events by parents of prospective students, ‘What are the chances of my daughter/son getting a job when they finish the course with ITC?’,” says Ceri. And his reply is always the same: “If you really want a job and work hard with us, you will get a job when you graduate. However, if you sit and wait for the job to come to you, you will be sitting for a long time.”

ITC’s students and graduates have gained something of a reputation for doing what it takes to get the dream career they love. Whether it’s working and studying at the same time, volunteering at local events, or taking part in the many opportunities the college offers students to get onsite experience, most jump at the chance.

And the majority of graduates understand that to land their dream job they need to start on the first rung of the travel and tourism ladder, says Ceri. But often two things stand in their way of even getting to the first rung: lack of customer service experience and no restricted or full drivers’ licence.

For jobs such a flight attending or check-in, says Ceri, two years of customer service experience is usually required.

“This is easily worked on by encouraging students to gain part-time work while studying with us. ITC works hard to create strong industry relationships that see our students regularly working or gaining experience in hotels, backpackers, tour operators, car rental companies, cruise ship check in and local attractions.”

“If a student is doing a six-month course with us, they then only need another 12 – 18 months of work experience to achieve the two-year target. Upon graduation students are also encouraged to focus on customer service roles in any sector of the airline travel and tourism industry. By the time they are 20 or 21 they can have the sufficient experience and maturity that roles such as check-in or flight attending demand.”

Going through the process required to get a restricted or full drivers’ licence is also strongly advised, says Ceri.

“It would be no exaggeration to state that about 25 per cent of the roles we advertise at ITC require students to have at least a restricted licence. Therefore, if you don’t have a licence, you are immediately restricting the number of jobs you can apply for to 75 per cent of those advertised.”

Ceri says jobs that require a licence are wide ranging and include any role at Auckland airport, many accommodation providers and ferry services.

“These are the kind of jobs where you may be working varying hours of the day and night and they may not be close to home. It is simply not feasible to reply on public transport or Mum, Dad or partner to pick you up and drop you off for most of these jobs.”.”

Many travel and tourism jobs also require staff to drive company vehicles, such as car rental operations or even activity-based companies.

“Auckland Bridge and Bungy, for example, prefer to employ staff who can drive the courtesy bus to pick up and drop off customers at hotels, motels and backpackers.”

Ceri acknowledges that there are obstacles with learning to drive, such as the cost of gaining a licence, access to a car or access to a parent with a licence to teach children to drive. But not having a licence can seriously restrict graduates’ employment opportunities.

“So get out there and get some experience and get your licence if you can,” he says. “These are two certain ways to enhance your employability.”

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Taking a risk on a dream – Geraldine Mailei.

Posted on 10/07/2013 by


“My parents were always on my back to complete a degree in something I love,” says ITC Senior tutor at Botany campus Geraldine Mailei.

“I come from a big family, and I was pretty much the only one who hadn’t completed a degree – No pressure!” she laughs.

It wasn’t until she came to ITC that Geraldine realised that she wanted to be a teacher/trainer.

“ITC gave me the opportunity to do my Certificate in Adult Education level 4; this really motivated me to get a degree.”

Geraldine faced a number of obstacles in achieving her dream.

“I didn’t know how I was going to do it,” she says. I was working full time, I had church responsibilities and two other important roles of mother and wife.”

Geraldine attended a seminar by ITC founder and owner Karen Houston and co-owner Gavin Houston. The seminar inspired her to take a risk in order to achieve her dream.

“That is exactly what I did, I took a risk knowing that there would be so many obstacles in the way. I worked 7 to 8 hours a day and studied at night. I also sacrificed other little activities I normally do such as watching TV, shopping, going to the movies with family and friends to achieve my dream.”

Geraldine says she kept the big picture in mind and worked hard to get there.

“Every time I passed a paper,” she says, “ I told myself that I was a step closer to achieving my dream. I also give so much credit to my amazing husband who stood by me, taking over the household chores such as cooking, cleaning, washing, and ironing so that I could use all the time to study.”

Partway through her studies, another huge obstacle presented itself when her father was diagnosed with cancer. But rather than slowing her down, Geraldine says this pushed her even harder to achieve her degree before he passed away.

“Yes, I cried,” she recalls, “and cried some more going through all of these challenges while trying to keep my head above water. But I am forever grateful that I was able to finish and pass everything a week before he passed away.

Geraldine says that her journey to achieve her degree was difficult but it was “worth all the tears, headache, and pain.”

“I am the person I am today because of this journey I took,” she says. “I am forever grateful to my parents, especially my dad, for believing in me enough to continue to push me.

“Martin Luther King said ‘I have a dream’. If you don’t dream, there is no purpose in your life. Everyone is destined to become a somebody in this world, to make a difference. But in order to achieve that, we have to choose which pathway we want and then take a risk. I always tell my students that anything is possible with the right attitude.”

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A Dream Come True for Three ITC Students

Posted on 12/04/2013 by

International Travel College of New Zealand (ITC) graduate Michelle Phillips is one of three ITC students to land a fantastic job at Disneyworld.

Michelle graduated from ITC’s City Campus with distinction in March this year. During her studies she was selected for a work experience programme with Renaissance Tours (Cruise Ships). She took on a role as a customer services consultant, which saw her checking in guests for cruises.

“From the beginning she was made of the right stuff,” says Michelle Chatfield (City Campus Manager). “She got involved in all aspects of college life and was always an active and willing participant in class.”

After graduating Michelle saw an advertisement to work at Disneyworld.

“The opportunity to work in the place ‘where dreams come true’ is amazing,” says Michelle.

The application process was not simple, but Michelle got stuck in with her usual can-do attitude, says Michelle Chatfield. And it paid off. Michelle was selected to work for Disneyworld on their cultural exchange programme.

“This is such an amazing opportunity for her and I am so very proud of her!  It shows that hard work, the right attitude and never giving up pays off”, says Michelle Chatfield.

Michelle can’t wait to start her new adventure: “I have the chance to grow, live away from home, make new friends and learn in the workplace. But getting on the plane and saying goodbye to family and friends will be hard.”

She credits ITC with teaching her the skills and practical processes to be able to work in teams, work with customers “and, most importantly, to believe that I can go and do something new and exciting. Disney gives me all these chances. What more could you want?”

Celeste Reid and Soteria Alia from Botany Campus will also be taking on roles at Disneyworld in January 2014.

Celeste will be completing her Level 4 qualification with ITC in June and is over the moon that she was selected for the cultural programme, which will get her career off to an amazing start. Celeste also took part in the work experience programme with Renaissance Tours, welcoming and directing guests from around the world as they docked in Waitamata Harbour on the luxurious Celebrity Cruise Liners.

Celeste is still pinching herself about this amazing opportunity: “It hasn’t really sunk in and I don’t think it will for a while, but I am really looking forward to this new adventure.” Celeste will be celebrating her 21st birthday in Disneyworld and her parents plan to fly up to ensure they celebrate this milestone with her.

“Celeste is someone who has that cheeky, infectious personality – this obviously shone through during her presentation, as she was asked to complete the interview on the same day!” commented Natasha Allen (Botany Campus Manager).

Soteria Alia graduated from our Level 3 Certificate in Travel in March after completing the Certificate in Aviation last year. Soteria is known to be on the quiet side; however, Natasha encouraged her to apply.

“We have a good relationship with the Disney recruiter for Australia and New Zealand, and I knew that they would see past this. They also told me: ‘We don’t mind if they are shy – it all changes after some time with us!’”

Soteria’s home tutor Rachel says that she is lots of fun and eagerly participates in all activities. On a recent famil trip with her class, “she was up for everything and was not afraid to experience new things” says Rachel. “This attitude will definitely help her to jump into this awesome opportunity and will ensure she gets the most out of the Disney experience.”

“I am so excited and proud that we have three students from ITC who were successful in this placement,” says Natasha. “This opportunity will change their lives.  Disneyworld has an amazing cultural work experience programme that is described as “Live, Learn and Earn”. The students will live and work in the happiest place on earth and their learning will be further supported by classes and seminars, so they will get the most out of this experience”.

ITC wishes Michelle Celeste, and Soteria all the very best in their exciting journey.

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ITC’s Distance and Online Learning Creates “Memories for Life”

Posted on 04/03/2013 by

The International Travel College of New Zealand (ITC) has been a premium supplier of full-time and part-time training programmes for the airline, travel and tourism industries since 1996, and has campuses in Botany and central Auckland.
Since 2006, ITC has offered several of its courses via and distance and online learning (DOL).
ITC DOL graduate Anita van der Mespel recently achieved her goal of entering the travel and tourism industry with a position at American Express.

“Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me to get me to this place,” says Anita. “You have been truly amazing!”

Anita says that her time with ITC has “created memories that will stick with me for life. I’ve loved my time with you, right from the phone interview at the very beginning!”

“That’s such a wonderful thing to hear,” says ITC’s Marketing Director Claire Huxley. “One of ITC’s strongest features is its sense of being one big family – we really mean that – all the staff know the students by name and we have a huge range of activities that include our on-campus students.

“It’s important to us that our distance and online students feel that same sense of community and connection to the college.”

Many of the DOL courses have on-campus components, such as the Customer Service Workshop run in February this year.

Chantell Awheto attended the workshop and says she had “an awesome time”.

“It was nice to finally meet everyone,” she says. “The hard part is over – graduation, here we come! I look forward to seeing you all there.”

“The workshops give the students a chance to meet each other and their tutors face to face and have some fun in the campus environment,” says Claire. “Learning via distance has many advantages, but it can be isolating. It boosts the students’ confidence when they get together and see how much they have learnt.”

ITC also ensures that its DOL students are included in its prize giving and recognition of special achievements.

“Many of our off-campus students are working and caring for family members as well as studying,” says Claire. “It takes a lot of commitment to remain motivated and connected with your studies when you are not physically surrounded by others who are studying.”

One student who shows such commitment is Greg Bellett, who recently received a Spot Prize for Excellence.
Greg says: “I’m absolutely delighted and humbled to receive such an award. Too much! I’m sure you could have awarded it to any number of hardworking students in any number of classes. I’m enjoying my studies immensely and thank you for your guidance and support.”
“This is our seventh year of offering distance learning,” says Claire, “and its appeal is growing. It allows more people the freedom to upskill in a flexible and supportive environment. We hope it also encourages lifelong learning, where following your interests and passions is an ongoing process.”

Perhaps the best endorsement of that comes from Anita: “I have enjoyed it so much! Should I ever study again, I hope it is with ITC.”


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New cruise line opportunity for ITC students

Posted on 27/11/2012 by

International Travel College of New Zealand has formed a strong new alliance with Renaissance Tours, which will see many of its students gain experience in the cruise ship industry.

Renaissance Tours made contact with ITC’s Account Manager Ceri Jenkins to offer its students the opportunity to fulfill some passenger check in roles for their work with cruise ship company Celebrity Cruise Lines. 

Initially Renaissance Tours was looking for approximately 20 staff and was hopeful ITC could go some way to supplying that number. 

“Through our work with other travel and tourism companies looking for casual staff, I was very confident that we could easily provide more than 30 students for the first round of interviews,” says Ceri.

A job outline was sent to ITC and the college informed all its students throughout both campuses and its distance learning programme of the vacancy.

The level of interest was extremely high, as many students saw the opportunity to gain some valuable work experience and enhance their employability when they graduated. 

ITC provided all interested students with guidance on how to prepare and present themselves for the group interview, with a key focus on making very positive first impressions. 

The students were invited to ITC’s city campus for three-hour group interviews, which included a presentation about the companies involved, role outlines and company expectations. A question and answer session was then followed by a test of the students’ reservation booking skills using the check in training programme. 

“The outcome of the interviews was beyond even our expectation,” says Ceri. “All 32 students were offered employment!”

The feedback from the interviewers was glowing.

 “Your students were the best prepared we have interviewed, they asked a range of insightful questions,” said one.

“There was a very professional feel about the students and the college as a whole”
“The students were very well presented and all had made a very big effort with their standard of dress and presentation in general,” said another interviewer.

“One of the company staff commented that the students were able to present their individual personalities on the day with a number of them being very humorous but professional – just what they were looking for,” says Ceri.

“That is just fantastic feedback. Alongside the hard work, travel and tourism is such a lot of fun, and we really encourage our students to take advantage of the vibrant nature of the industry.”

At the end of the busy day of interviews, the company said: “We are so impressed with the high standard of students we have met today we are very keen to forge a strong relationship between Renaissance Tours and ITC for future cruise ship seasons.”

The students are now looking forward to the start of the busy cruise ship season and ITC looks forward to another strong industry relationship that will benefit its current and future students.


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From Rotorua to Whakahoro – The time of their life

Posted on 20/11/2012 by

A recent ITC famil trip to Rotorua, Taupo and Blue Duck Lodge at Whakahoro made a huge impression on the students.

Many of the students valued the opportunity to visit Tamaki Village and learn more about the Maori way of life, but perhaps none more so than Maori student Neil Wharekoka. Neil was glad of the chance “to show my class how my people lived in the old days – I ended up being the chief of our bus, because I know what to do on the marae. They had the meanest hangi there; it was beautiful,” says Neil.

Like a number of the students, Charlie notes that, despite being from New Zealand, “the places we went to like Rotoroa and Taupo I had never been to before. It was good to see just how beautiful our country really is.”

And the opportunity to socialise and get to know each other was something numerous students commented on.

“I really love my class. They’re awesome!” says Ginalee. “And without them this trip wouldn’t have had so many memories.”

“Our last night in Blue Duck Station was cool; we all sat around the fire just laughing.  It was good to just sit down and talk and get to know everyone,” says Margaret.

The students loved the huge number of exciting activities they were able to take part in from white water rafting, four-wheel driving, and bush walking, to bungy jumping.  A number of students got out of their comfort zones, including student Taima who braved the Agrodome’s Swoop, despite her fear of heights.

And the bigger picture of what it was all about wasn’t lost on the students.

“I learnt so much during this fantastic adventure,” says Tia. “The experience that I gained will help me to grow in the tourism industry. Being able to go out and gain experience at first hand was the greatest feeling. For me it’s what ITC and the tourism industry is all about. It’s about going out of your way to experience things that your client might like to do when they visit New Zealand.”

And Dinah offers some final words of wisdom for other ITC students who haven’t yet been on a famil trip: “Complete your assessments, attend class and you too could experience the time of your life!”



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A Well Deserved Success, ITC student again with TOP marks!

Posted on 21/09/2012 by

ITC student Raffaela Macke has received the country’s highest marks in this year’s International Air Transport Association (IATA) Foundation in Travel and Tourism examination.

The International Travel College is an IATA Authorized Training Center (ATC), which allows it to teach IATA’s travel, tourism and aviation programmes.

Raffaela completed the programme as part of her two-year International Diploma in Tourism and Travel Management.

This is the second year in a row that an ITC student has attained this distinction: last year Cristina Traczinski, also studying the management diploma, was the country’s top performer.

“We are thrilled both for Raffaela and for her tutor, Steve Burke, who is achieving great success with his students on this programme,” says ITC’s Managing Director Kerry Priestley.

“It’s important to us that our students are given every opportunity to succeed in the industry,” says Kerry.

“The IATA is an international trade body that represents some 230 airlines and around 93% of scheduled international air traffic, so the award comes from a highly respected industry body. It’s real-world recognition of the practical skills and experience we offer our students.”

This prestigious award is internationally recognised and will certainly help Raffaela in her chosen career.

Raffaela, who is originally from Germany, is an excellent student, says Kerry: “She thoroughly deserves this success.”

ITC’s staff and students congratulate Raffaela on her important achievement.

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Louise talks about being a flight attendant

Posted on 11/09/2012 by

We have been so lucky to catch up with Louise Swann, an ITC graduate flying as a long haul flight attendant with Air New Zealand, you may have even seen her in some of their inflight satefy videos.

Check out the video of her story, she is such an inspiring person and just shows how you CAN achieve something when you make a plan, commit to doing it and believe in yourself.

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Taufiq Asad – a different world

Posted on 20/08/2012 by

Taufiq Asad moved from Afghanistan to New Zealand with his family in 2004.

“I had no idea where I was going,” he says. “I just got on the plane with my family. I remember my sister telling me we were going to New Zealand, which was at the end of the world!”

“We landed in New Zealand and came out of the airport and I saw a different world… so clean and beautiful. I loved the fresh air.”

The family started to settle into their new country, a process that Taufiq describes as being “like a newborn baby” because of the incredible difference between living in a war-torn country like Afghanistan and a peaceful country like New Zealand.

It was also the first time he and his sister had seen their father for eight years: “It was the best feeling ever,” he says.

Taufiq briefly attended Western Springs College before the family moved to Mt Roskill and he began attending Mt Roskill Grammar, which seemed to him to be “the biggest school ever!”

The transition to an English-speaking school was difficult: “I spoke very little English and understood little as well. I was like a small fish in an ocean – I felt lost for months,” he says.
“But then slowly things started to change for me, as I met new people and made friends with them. My teachers spent a lot of time and effort teaching me English, and I spent every night learning English for the next day so it could help reduce my problems in school.”

Taufiq worked hard at his studies and his effort paid off when he received a certificate at the end of his first year for being the second highest achieving student in his class.

“I was very proud of myself,” he says, “and so were my parents.”

Taufiq continued to work hard “step by step, year by year” until he graduated from high school.

He knew he wanted to work in the travel industry, but was unsure what path to take. One fortuitous day he opened his mailbox to find an ITC information booklet.

“I discussed it with my father and he supported me and told me I should go check it out and see what they could offer.”

Taufiq met with Lesley Brough, who talked him through all the course options and requirements.

Taufiq chose to study aviation, as he was interested in working at airports and travel agencies. He began the six-month course in June 2011.

“During those six months I met a lot of beautiful people, including my awesome teachers,” he says. “I don’t have the words to describe them, but they changed my life and helped me get to where I wanted. I don’t think I will ever be able to repay what they did for me.”

After graduating from ITC Taufiq experience the frustrations of trying to find a job. He was working at a café, but knew that wasn’t what he ultimately wanted to do.

Impressed by the hardworking student who showed such gratitude to his teachers and the college, ITC’s account manager Ceri Jenkins helped Taufiq to get a job interview at Jucy Rentals.

“Ceri was always there for me and helped me a lot,” says Taufiq. 

After a successful interview Taufiq was offered a job in April 2012.

“Jucy is a great place to work,” he says. “The people here are friendly and helpful and I’m happy to be part of the Jucy team.”

With his usual hardworking attitude Taufiq says he does his best every single day at work and his manager is happy with him.

“We have busy days and quiet days but that’s part of the business,” he says. “On quiet days I help the groomers and wash cars with them, which I’m very good at! The staff here appreciates what I do for them, including outside working hours.”

While Taufiq enjoys his work at Jucy he still hopes to work for one of the airlines or at the airport. With his attitude and his willingness to go the extra mile there’s no reason to think he won’t achieve his dream.


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ITC Student Lisi Kaihau Lands her Dream Job

Posted on 18/07/2012 by

ITC student Lisi Kaihau who has been studying on the ITC Certificate of Aviation course, has just been accepted to her dream job as a flight attendant for Emirates.

Our Botany Campus Manager, Natasha Allen, who was formerly a senior flight stewardess for Emirates, and tutor Ashley Mailei who flew for Polynesian Airlines have both given Lisi plenty of encouragement and support.

“We are all very proud of her,” says Natasha, “not to mention a wee bit envious of the lifestyle she is about to embark on!”

Natasha talked to Lisi about her interview experience with Emirates.
Natasha: Congratulations, Lisi – what an achievement!

Lisi: I feel very excited and can’t believe that it is happening to me – it’s a dream come true.

Natasha: What was the interview process like?

Lisi: I actually really enjoyed the whole interview process, although it was quite intense! It was in three stages. The first stage was the Open Day, which was quite daunting – over 200 people turned up! We all handed in our CVs and they took our measurements and height. 

I think that the first impressions we created at this stage were incredibly important because we were notified that night or the next day if we were successful.

Natasha: What was the next stage of the process?

Lisi: The next stage was Group Assessment Day.  There were two groups of 25 and the day was spent doing role plays and team games. For example, we broke into groups of five and had to collectively agree on five items that we would take with us if we were stranded. 

Our role play was a lot of fun – my group had to pretend that we were on a flight where a passenger fell in love with a flight attendant! 

At the end of the day we were given a piece of paper that said whether we had been successful or not. When I was given the piece of paper my nerves were at their highest and I really expected it to be a rejection.  When I opened the piece of paper and it said “Congratulations” I had to read it a few times to really believe it!  Only 12 candidates were selected from our original group of 25.

Natasha: What was the third stage?

Lisi: That was the one-on-one interview. It was one hour of answering questions about customer service, my experience and how I would deal with complaints – it was very challenging. 

Natasha: How did you feel you went in the interview?

Lisi: I actually felt quite positive that I had performed well, but then you really just don’t know.  They said we would receive a phone call in a couple of months – and when I did I really couldn’t believe the news – I had got it!

Natasha: What advice would you give other students who want to get into the travel and tourism industry?

Lisi:  This whole experience has really shown me that what the tutors say to us at ITC is true – they push and encourage students to go for their dreams and never give up.  My training at ITC has definitely helped me with my confidence and knowledge of the travel and tourism industry and thanks to them and my hard work it has all paid off, and in August I will be flying to Dubai to embark on an exciting career as flight attendant for Emirates!

Congratulations to Lisi from everyone at ITC!


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