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Northland Student Advisors Gain Valuable Industry Insight

Posted on 13/05/2014 by


International Travel College’s Account Manager Ceri Jenkins and Short Course Team Leader Mel Verwijmeren recently ran a personal development day to help those advising Northland students to gain closer contact with their local travel and tourism industry. The day was a forerunner to the short course team hitting the road again to run its Tourism, Adventure and Flight Attending Short Courses for Northland students during Term Two.

A group of 21 teachers, career advisors, and Star and Gateway advisors took part in the day, which highlighted opportunities for work experience and new and exciting options for field trips to showcase the beautiful Bay of Islands.

The professional development event took place over an action-packed day beginning at the Copthorne Hotel. The first guest speaker was Barry Nielson, Operations Manager of Great Sights Intercity. Barry spoke about the range of entry-level positions and what he is able to offer in regards to Gateway placement. He gave valuable inside information that the advisors could feed back to their students to help them further their future careers in tourism.

Jane Hindle, Executive Trustee from R. Tucker Thompson Sail Training Trust, gave the group an insight into the life-changing programmes they offer students. She offered the opportunity for students to do voluntary work with the trust and provided a good understanding of the opportunities the trust has provided students in the past.

The group then got first-hand experience of a moment in the day of a short course student when they were asked to perform a flight attending safety demonstration. “They all must have been actors in a previous life,” says Mel, “because they did a fantastic job making sure we knew the safety features on the aircraft.”

The group members moved on to the Waitangi Pier, where they were met by Richard De Rosa, owner of Flying Kiwi Parasail. Two lucky winners, who had performed exceptionally well in the safety demonstration, were given the opportunity to parasail 1200 feet in the air around the stunning bay. Richard informed the group of how his company can work with schools and provided his contact information for future opportunities.

The group then stopped for a well-deserved bite at the picturesque Whare Waka Café located on the Waitangi Treaty grounds.

“The food was amazing and they put on a marvelous spread,” says Mel. “Our very comical and knowledgeable guide Soli took our group on a guided walk, telling us the story of the signing of the treaty. He also gave us information about the programmes that are available to schools.”

The group then witnessed a live cultural performance, which Mel says was “absolutely outstanding”. Paul from Bay of Islands College acted as chief for the group during the traditional powhiri.

After a gentle stroll back to the Copthorne, the group met with the hotel’s Front Office Manager Tina Audehm. She spoke about the need for more Gateway students and the options for entry-level employment, and gave the group the opportunity to view the property.

The final portion of the day was well-deserved refreshment taken alongside some of the day’s industry guest speakers.

Feedback has been outstanding of the impact on this day,” says Mel. “It was refreshing to see how the local industry has expanded and to have all these contacts offering opportunities for future employment to the local secondary schools. All who attended where able to take away some valuable information, understanding and contacts to help them further in their roles. All and all a great success for industry, schools and ITC!”

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