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Tips on gaining employment

Posted on 17/07/2013 by

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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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