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Meet Nicky: She could help you find a tourism job

Posted on 04/12/2018 by

ITC’s new Employment Consultant, Nicola McCutcheon.

Nicola (Nicky) McCutcheon is the newest Employment Consultant at ITC. Her role is to help students find employment in the airline, travel and tourism industry.

She shares this role with Sarndra Stephens, a long-serving ITC employee. Together, they help students with their job search through initiatives such as:

  • On-campus CV workshops
  • Interview preparation
  • Work experience and volunteer opportunities
  • General support, encouragement, and advice

Past and present students can use the Employment Consultants in their job search. Whether you’re currently studying or you’ve already graduated, you can reach out to Nicky or Sarndra for support.

ITC head of group services Michelle Chatfield says the role is a “vital” part of ITC’s philosophy.

“The Employment Consultant role is vital to helping students as they transition from studying to working in the industry, which is of course the goal of all of our qualifications: to prepare students for work,” says Michelle.

“We’re so happy to welcome Nicky to the team. Our students are very fortunate to benefit from her expertise and support.”

Below, Nicky answers some questions about her career to-date and shares some key tips for students currently searching for jobs.

ITC: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Nicky: I’ve worked in the travel industry since leaving school at age 17 (wow, that’s over 24 years ago!). I started my career in a small family-owned travel agency in my hometown in the UK before it was taken over by Thomas Cook. I was lucky enough to learn on the job and take part in their training academy. After two years and a lot of hard work, I became the Customer Services Manager, dealing with customer complaints and managing four staff.

I then came to New Zealand on holiday and immediately fell in love with the country and diverse cultures. I started working for GO Holidays in their online team dealing with customer travel arrangements over the phone and by email. 15 years later I had worked my way around the company gaining experience in wholesale reservations and planning people’s dream holidays, before moving into the sales team to represent niche products such as Wendy Wu and Club Med. I spent a lot of time travelling around New Zealand visiting travel agents, attending expos, and presenting at travel shows. I gained so much knowledge about the industry, the company, and our customers that I eventually moved into a management role.

Now it’s time for a new challenge, so I’ve joined ITC. I’m still learning so much about the industry. What a journey so far!

What are your key tips for students seeking employment or work experience?

I think the biggest challenge for students is gaining experience for their CVs, especially customer service experience. My advice is to look for volunteering opportunities or part-time roles that will help you gain customer service skills. Whether it’s working in a shop or at a fast food restaurant or even as a Blue Coat at the airport, this is all awesome experience and great for those lacking confidence.

Work experience is also fantastic. Even if it’s not your first choice, no matter what you’re doing all experience is good experience. You will gain some valuable skills and it’s great practice for the real thing.

We want as many students as possible to go on work experience, so I would encourage all students to maintain high attendance and stay on top of their studies. Many students have gained full-time employment after their work experience. Plus it can be FUN!

What are some common mistakes you see when students apply for jobs, and how can students avoid these?

Many students want their first job to be their forever job or their dream job. It rarely happens and I see plenty of disappointment.

I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I left school. With some hard work and a bit of luck, I travelled to some amazing destinations and met some really inspiring people, plus moved countries. I still don’t know what my dream job is but I’m having an amazing adventure so far and wouldn’t change anything.

My advice is to enjoy the journey and try different things. This industry has so many different exciting opportunities so don’t give up!

Any final words of wisdom for students?

Represent yourself well in everything you do. First impressions count, from the photos on your social media to the way you answer the phone to the effort you put in at work experience. This industry is small and people talk so if you create a great impression, people will want you to work for them.

My final tip would be to embrace change as the industry can change very quickly.

Good luck and remember, I’m here to help!

If you’d like to make a time to speak with Nicky, please ask at Student Services for more information or email college@itc.co.nz if you’re no longer studying.

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