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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

10 mins ago

Melissa and Thomas have grabbed the first opportunity to start a career in tourism.

New Zealand Diploma in Tourism graduates Melissa Hellyer and Thomas Crarer (Ngāti Porou) were snapped up by the National Aquarium in Napier. Shortly after they completed their internships, they landed jobs in the visitor services team.

Melissa says that she travelled a lot with her family. When she finished Taradale High School in 2019, she knew that she wanted to learn more about the travel and tourism industry. Her initial plan was to finish the level 5 diploma and then venture overseas. As this didn’t pan out, due to obvious reasons, Melissa seized the first opportunity to start her career locally. “As part of our programme we had to do 60 hours of work experience. EIT helped us get the internship at the National Aquarium. When the two positions became vacant, we were shoulder tapped and couldn’t say no.” Being employed by Napier City Council (the Aquarium is one of the Council’s facilities) is a great way to get a foot in the door and build networks, they say.

Originally from Wairoa, Thomas had been working at the meat works for quite some years before deciding to get a qualification that would allow him to travel.

Both say that they enjoyed every part of the programme, in particular the field trips. “These excursions to places such as Cape Kidnappers, Hobbiton, and Waitomo were a real eye-opener and showcased what New Zealand can offer as a tourist destination. Delivering good customer service was a big focus throughout the programme, and these skills really benefit us in our current roles,” they say.

Their new jobs keep them very busy. Every day is different and packed with new challenges. They welcome visitors, book penguin encounters and birthday parties, work in the gift shop, and make coffee using skills gained during the diploma programme. “We are learning so much about customer service and how to give people the perfect experience. We are the first and the last people our visitors see. If we have a bad day, we just have to leave it at the door.”

As soon as it’s safe to travel again, they will make their work abroad dream come true. Needless to say, that the skills gained at EIT will let them work anywhere in the world and are useful to employers across many different jobs. Melissa would love to be a travel tour guide. Egypt is number one on her bucket list. Thomas says that Japan and the Mediterranean are places he feels very much drawn to. He can’t pinpoint the perfect job yet, but one thing he knows for sure. “I have one hundred percent picked the right industry.”