Students on Internship: It's true what they say

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Hospitality Management Graduate

Priscila Machado (Brazil), Wed, 16 June 2010

Priscila Machado (Brazil)

QRC graduate Priscila Machado (Brazil), who completed her Diploma of Hospitality Management in March 2008, has already had an impressive start to her career, and she is now assisting the college by hiring students on their internship placements at her property.

Priscila is currently the Senior Assistant Manager at the Copthorne Hotel & Resort, Queenstown. Her day-to-day role involves running the busy front office department.

We spent a few minutes with Priscila and asked her the following questions:

Can you give us a brief overview of your new role?

I run the Front Office department, employ new staff, do the roster and month end reports, and generally make sure everyone does their work efficiently and that day-to-day operations run smoothly. The most important aspect of my job is ensuring we are delivering an exceptional customer service.

Tell us about your work history since completing your diploma…

I completed my internship (it’s a requirement of the 2 year diploma programme to work 1,000 hours – all fully paid!) as a receptionist and reservations agent at the Novotel Queenstown Lakeside and worked there for the duration of my diploma. After graduation I stayed within the Accor Hotel chain and went to 5-star St Moritz Hotel to cover a reservation agent's holiday and was asked to stay on as part time Duty Manager. I moved to full time a month later and also worked in the role of Guest Relations Manager after the refurbishment and rebranding.  Now I’m the Front Office Manager!

How do you find the QRC interns you have been working with or have hired?

They are dedicated, enthusiastic, keen to learn and deliver great customer service.  I wouldn’t hesitate to hire them.

Have you found your QRC qualification/training useful in getting you to where you are now?

QRC helped me to understand the management side of the hotel business - the big picture stuff. When you are young and have very little experience you tend to be very operationally focused but when you start to understand the big picture of hotel management it is much quicker and easier to grow and step up within the business.

The 5-star standard that QRC passes on to the students is also really important as it places us all in a higher level, it doesn't tend to matter which star rate hotel you work in because you can always deliver 5 star customer service.

Overall career goal for the next 5-10 years?

Within 5-10 years I hope to be General Manager of a 5 star Hotel or luxury lodge. After that I aim to own my own lodge by the beach!

Recently graduated from QRC

Emma Walker, Hospitality Management

Emma Walker, Hospitality Management

Recently graduated from QRC, Emma Walker is the first of our students to enrol into the ICMS Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management.

Emma was one of QRC's inaugural intake of Diploma of Hospitality Management students who first arrived in April '06. Now, having completed their studies at QRC, the class has gone their seperate ways - some into the workforce and others onto further studies.

As an intern, Emma took on the role of Guest Services representative at Auckland's Sky City Grand hotel.

When I finished school in New Zealand I took a Gap year to Tanzania

George Gaddum, NZ, Hospitality Management

George Gaddum, NZ, Hospitality Management

Diploma of Hospitality Management student, George Gaddum, has seen more of life than most people twice his age. Now, with his sights firmly set on his career goals, George gives a unique insight into where hospitality qualifications can take you.

"When I finished school in New Zealand I took a Gap year to Tanzania where I taught English at a school for impoverished children. The school was sponsored by private schools in England but part of my job was to find funding for those kids to live. I needed to find money for food, uniforms, books and housing. I totally want to get back into that line of work but there would be kids on my front porch before I even got up in the morning and it got a bit overwhelming.

I then went travelling to Kenya for a month and met a nurse who invited me to go to Ethiopia to work for the Missionary of Charity Hospice - the same organisation that Mother Theresa set up for sick and dying destitutes. It was amazing - I have no medical background but found myself on the first night sleeping on the floor outside the TB ward listening to the coughing and wondering what I could do to make a difference. I stayed working in Ethiopia for nearly five months before I decided I needed a qualification. I came home and enrolled in nursing but wanted management skills and the people skills and the life skills so I decided on Hospitality Management at QRC. In a sense I see a school or a hospital or a prison is not a lot different to a hotel.

I've started my elective in Resort Management and we are talking about resorts overseas and how they can put so much back into society or a community. Some of the properties over there generate incredible employment - that's a new interest I've developed since I have been at QRC - it's about helping people on a different level rather than just through aid work.

Ironically, a lot of people that I met overseas had done hospitality training. It is a qualification that teaches you how to run an organisation. I actually met a guy who had studied at Cesar Ritz and was the co-ordinator at a hospital on the Kenyan-Sudan border - I think the options and opportunities are endless".

From the wilds of Africa to the shores of Lake Wakatipu

Graeme Sharpe, Zimbabwe, Adventure Tourism Management

Graeme Sharpe, Zimbabwe, Adventure Tourism Management

From the wilds of Africa to the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Graeme Sharp has come a long way around the world to pursue his career. The 21 year old Zimbabwean has travelled to New Zealand to study the QRC Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management – and the change in lifestyle is proving as much as an educator as the classroom.

“I’ve had to learn to embrace change. Out here it’s really quite different to live in a country that has DoC and OSH etcetera. In New Zealand you can relax but at home you are always living in uncertainty. It’s difficult, and challenging, but at the same time, things
in Zimbabwe could always turn for the better and when that happens, it’ll be a great thing to see and be part of”.

The outdoors are in Graeme’s blood. From a farming family, he has grown up in and around game parks, filling his days with trekking, hunting, fishing, biking and camping.

Secondary school for Graeme was followed by a move to South Africa for a gap/ leadership development course, much like what is offered at QRC. A two year stint in London saw the then-teenager return to his roots in Zimbabwe where he started working as a site manager on a Crocodile Farm.

“You learn a lot in Africa when you have to deal with everyday living. I used to go off road riding on my bike as a way of escaping and just thinking things over. One day I just decided that this was what I wanted to make a career out of so I started looking into Adventure Education”.

A web search saw Graeme hit upon QRC. “I’m looking to take this education back to Africa but it depends upon a lot of factors that are out of my control. I’d love to set up a biking operation in the wilds of Zimbabwe and eventually some kind of long-haul bike safari from say, Kenya to Capetown”.

“The hands on experience here is really great – the other day we had a lecture from the operations manager for AJ Hackett and one from Dart River Safaris – all the subjects in the course are relevant to the career choice that most of us have taken”.

“Queenstown is a great place to get into the tourism industry – I want to do some years here and take what I learn back home”.

Former Rotorua Lakes High School student

Jacob McDonald, NZ, Hospitality Management

Jacob McDonald, NZ, Hospitality Management

Former Rotorua Lakes High School student, Jacob McDonald, is the very-deserving recipient of QRC's 2007 National Scholarship. The inaugural scholarships were established to identify New Zealand teenagers who could become ambassadors for QRC and to give them the opportunity to have a world class education. The scholarships cover the full tuition fee for the duration of the programme.

Jacob arrived at QRC in January '07 before completing his Internship at Qualia - a brand new five star resort on Australia's Hamilton Island.

Jacob is now back on campus completing his final terms before he leaves in July.

Indian student

Jehan Driver, India, Adventure Tourism Management

Jehan Driver, India, Adventure Tourism Management

Indian student, Jehan Driver, was one of the first to join QRC’s Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management programme.

“I found QRC on the net but it was really exciting because it is in the adventure capital of the world so I would have come to Queenstown anyway to have a look - then I found this course and it was perfect”!

“I’ve been in the industry since I was 15 so I have a lot of practical skills – I’ve taken treks to Nepal and the Tibetan Plateau and I’ve worked in India for an English-based company before I quit the job and came here. I could have guided in Mongolia or China but I thought it was time to have a five year plan! I thought of the learning experience that I would get out of the course, the tutors and the standards, plus the aspect of living in another country – this is actually my first time in New Zealand and my first time in a western country”!

“Queenstown and QRC is fun and really interactive – you are studying in class and you see paragliders and you wear top of the line adventure sportswear and your teachers do river sledging and own their own businesses – amazing”!

Jehan secured his six month Internship at a Queenstown company called Action Flight which offers tourists rides in an aerobatics plane.

“When I go back to India, I would like to start a business but if I stay here it will be to get more practical experience - I would like to get more practical skills so I can boost the industry when I go back to India”!

Swiss student

Makoto Bruderer, Switzerland, Adventure Tourism Management

Makoto Bruderer, Switzerland, Adventure Tourism Management

Swiss student, Makoto Bruderer settled upon QRC's Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management after two universities in Switzerland couldn't satisfy her career ambitions.

"I came to QRC to study Adventure Tourism Management because I have travelled a lot but was not satisfied with travelling for a short time so I would like to work in different countries and, if possible, set up my own business. I want to have an active outdoor job - that was one of main reasons, too. I want to work in organising trips and experiences - or any experience that is longer than jumping off a bridge!

With a Japanese Mum and a Swiss Dad, multi-lingual Makoto has landed some amazing opportunities since coming to New Zealand - having completed her Internship in Auckland with charter company Sail NZ, Makoto has now taken to the high seas!

"I got offered a job to be stewardess on a superyacht sailing to Japan and China - the boat I'm working on is goign to be part of the Olympics - it's a really great opportunity for me, sailing and working"!

Being in Queenstown is great

Nicola Miller, NZ, Adventure Tourism Management

Nicola Miller, NZ, Adventure Tourism Management

“Being in Queenstown is great – it is the best place to learn with all the mountains and activities here”. Nicki Miller moved from New Zealand’s North Island to start with QRC’s inaugural Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management class. It’s a move she hopes will put her in good stead to establish her own business in the future.

“I have always loved the outdoors but I didn’t want to be just an instructor and to work for someone else. I want to set up my own business one day or manage my own company and hire my own people and take people through the experiences that I have always enjoyed”.

“Ultimately I would like to set up a camp that offers things like diving, kayaking and hiking but the camp would be almost like a wellness thing – to look at all aspects of adventure and health”.

“Classes are really good – all the teachers are great – you have more of a relationship with them than you do with teachers at school as they are more outgoing like ourselves”.

“The setting is great – I came from a boarding school and the standards are similar. I think the five star system is good – it trains you to be the best and it sets a standard that gives you some pride”.

“I love Queenstown - you can’t be bored or unhappy – there is just so much to do and so many people to meet from overseas and around the country so you are constantly learning outside the classroom as well”!

Nicki completed her Internship working as a Customer Service Agent for Info & Track in Queenstown.

Winner of the 2008 Diploma of Hospitality Management Scholarship

Adam Tomlinson, Hospitality Management

Adam Tomlinson, Hospitality Management

Adam Tomlinson is the winner of the 2008 Diploma of Hospitality Management Scholarship. The 18 year old was looking to do a business degree after he finished school but ‘fell into' hospitality studies after beating dozens of other scholarship applicants from around New Zealand.

"I was really excited about winning the scholarship - I can't even describe it really. Winning that planned out my schooling! I now want to go on and do the ICMS degree in Sydney and eventually I want to work in resorts and lodges around the world because I like the personal touch you get at smaller properties - the locations are usually better too"!

"Queenstown is great - everywhere you look it is a postcard view. I did a lot of research into other providers but QRC is so much more appealing because of a lot of things - but location is the big one".

"The campus location in town is great and the affiliation with the hotel brands is important too - QRC's name is out there and it's the place to be"!

2008 winner of the Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management National Scholarship

Nikolai Heaphy-Page, Adventure Tourism Managment

Nikolai Heaphy-Page, Adventure Tourism Managment

Growing up in Nelson, 18 year old Nikolai Heaphy-Page has always been involved in the great outdoors.

The former Garin College student is the 2008 winner of the Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management National Scholarship.

"I've always been interested in the outdoors and I like the idea of doing something new and doing something adventurous. When I came across QRC that was the start of my interest in Adventure Tourism Management.

I love the course, it is really well structured and everything that I have learnt will set me up to own and run my own company or business in the future. There is a lot of work involved but I think that in the long run it will be worth it"

QRC's location is ideal for Nikolai, who wants to work for a heli-boarding company - but he's also keen on other options including off road tours - or even dune boarding overseas!

"I want to keep my options open - this course will open up a lot more opportunities to me so I'm still contemplating it"!

QRC Adventure Tourism Management graduate Lucy Hayes

QRC Adventure Tourism Management graduate Lucy Hayes, Tue, 22 June 2010

QRC Adventure Tourism Management graduate Lucy Hayes

QRC graduate Lucy Hayes, who completed her Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management in March this year, has headed back to where she began her training - The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company at Waitomo Caves.

Lucy’s current role is a guide at The Legendary Blackwater Rafting Company. She takes visitors of all ages through Ruakuri Cave, giving them the chance to abseil, weave, jump, and float through a glowworm-studded subterranean wonderland.

We spent a few minutes with Lucy and asked her the following questions:

What made you decide to come to QRC and study Adventure Tourism Management?

I decided to come to QRC and complete the Adventure Tourism Management Diploma because I really wanted to get into the industry and where better to study adventure tourism than Queenstown?!  It’s a great course at a great college in the Adventure Capital of the World….

Have you found your QRC qualification/training useful in assisting you to where you are now?

It’s been invaluable.  QRC really opened my eyes and provided me with the wide range of skills I needed to step into the adventure tourism industry.

Tell us about your work history since completing your diploma…

I went on an internship, which is a requirement of the diploma, in October 2008 to Waitomo Caves where I was going to become a guide at The Legendary Blackwater Rafting Company.

I had never been caving, had no idea where Waitomo Caves was and I didn’t know anyone up there. But as soon as I got there I fell in love with the place and spent my entire six-month (fully paid!) internship up here.

I started off guiding school groups and doing the Ruakuri Cave dry walk. After about 3 months of staying dry I finally got trained up to become a stream-way guide and from then onwards I mainly guided the Black Labyrinth which is a 3 hour cave tubing trip.

Once I finished my studies at QRC I was offered my job back at the same company so I have been up there ever since and plan to be here for a while.  I absolutely love the place but most of all I love the company and the people who work there –it’s a great vibe and most importantly I can be me :)

Any words of advice or wisdom you can give to any future QRC students?

Know what you want to do and keep that in mind but grab all opportunities with both hands because you never know what they will bring.  Even if it’s something you’ve never done before but it sounds cool then give it a go - you may end up loving it like I did!

Overall career goal for the next 5-10 years?

My overall career goal for the next 5-10 years is to stay in Waitomo for another year then go overseas to work for adventure tourism companies. I then hope to work my way up the company and hopefully own my own company one day.