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Meet graduate Laura Orsbourn: From ITC to Disney to New Zealand lockdown

Posted on 05/11/2020 by

Laura Orsbourn studied at ITC with a dream of working at Disney, but not long after she landed her dream job, covid-19 threw her plans into disarray.

“ITC is like a real family. When you move away from home (or graduate from ITC), it doesn’t mean you are not able to ever come back. In fact, students come back years after they graduate to say hi, get further career support and guidance and even re-employment. That’s our promise to our graduates,” Mel Jenkins, Marketing Manager at ITC.

ITC is as much a college for those wishing to enter the travel, tourism, and aviation industries, as it is a supportive family. As Mel speaks about in her quote above, graduation from ITC doesn’t mean the support, advice, and communication stops.

In fact, we recently caught up with graduate Laura Orsbourn, who studied at ITC in order to apply for the Disney College program in the US. Her hard work and skills landed her the job, but it wasn’t long before covid derailed her role and saw her packing her bags for New Zealand.

We chatted to Laura about how she got started, what it was like heading home, and her time at ITC.

Why did you choose to study at ITC?

I spent 2 weeks at ITC while in high school doing a short course. The classroom sizes and intimate teaching style really appealed to me. I really struggled at school, just skating by. I knew if I tried to achieve the same qualification at a university I would be a lost number and not have access to ask the questions I needed to understand the topics. When I found out I needed to study again for a year to be able to apply for the Disney College program, I didn’t even consider going anywhere else because I had had such an amazing experience the first time around. 

How did ITC prepare you for your career so far?

The tutors and staff at ITC saw something in me that, at the time, I couldn’t see in myself. Their positive words and endless encouragement opened my eyes to different opportunities in the travel industry. Also, the time management that you learn in level 5 will help anyone become prepared and learn to prioritise.

How did you manage the rapid change of having a role at Disney then having to come home so quickly?

It was a struggle that’s hard to put into words. I had worked so hard to achieve my dream of working at Disney, and then to have to come home early was heartbreaking, especially when I had so many ‘bucket list’ items left to do in those final months. Against my better judgement to rush into a job, I decided it was best to take some time for myself and spend it with my family who I hadn’t seen in a while. In that time I learnt to slow down, since I was so used to the ‘work hard, play hard’ life that Disney had provided. I am now in a job that enforces a No Overtime rule which I am so not used to.  

What is your current job title, and how is the job going so far?

I am currently an International Booking Host for THL (Maui, Britz and Mighty Campervans). The job has been a whirlwind so far. One month after starting we had to move our offices home due to covid, and then just as the restrictions lifted our Auckland office burnt down. I’ve never worked from home before, so this was quite an adjustment. My previous experience with hotels and reservation systems has really helped me settle into this role quickly.

Do you still keep in touch with the team at ITC?

Yes I do. My tutors and Sarndra always touch base to see how I am. When I went to Disney they followed my journey and all reached out when I sadly had to come home early which meant so much. 

Do you have a favourite memory from your time at ITC you’d like to share?

The famils are always great. But my favourite memory was the last presentation I had to give in level 5. I hate public speaking. My voice would always quiver and I was not confident at all. When I did my first presentation in the first week, Jacques told me by the end of the course it would be completely different. He was right and I was so proud of myself. 

Sarndra Stephens, ITC Employment Consultant, reflects on Laura’s journey

We are excited to be part of Laura’s journey which started back in 2011 when she studied her level 3 and 4 travel and tourism qualifications with us, securing a job at the Mercure Hotel as a Guest Service Agent on completion.

Working in the hotel industry meant that when Laura returned to complete her Level 5 Diploma with us, she was offered a rare Front of House position at one of the Disney Hotels when she interviewed for the Disney internship program.

We loved seeing all the posts of Laura at Disneyworld, seeing the great time she was having, new friends being made and her travels, so we were just as devastated when she had to return home.

We were extremely relieved when she contacted us to let us know she was back on NZ soil.

ITC was definitely on board to do what we could to support Laura back into the NZ tourism industry and rebuild her confidence, and I think our wahoos of delight were just as loud as hers when she secured her new position at THL.

To study at ITC and become part of the family, take a look at our course options or simply get in touch with any of our contact details below.

Study From Home – 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or

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