Bright young things are being encouraged to consider a career in tourism as part of a new initiative to help address the growing skills shortages facing New Zealand’s largest export industry.
Spearheaded by Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED), Go with Tourism aims to shift the perceptions many young people have about careers in tourism and provides a platform to connect talent with potential employers.
A soft launch of the platform began last month with cinema advertising, followed by promotional material around the city in the form of bus backs and posters, and has already generated significant activity; more than 300 young people have already registered their interest, and more than 100 employers are set up, ready to be matched with job-seekers.
Long-term employment opportunities
Steve Armitage, ATEED General Manager - Destination, says getting more young people into tourism is one of the key strategic imperatives to emerge from the Destination AKL 2025 strategy and is critical to supporting the sustainable growth of Auckland’s and New Zealand’s visitor economy.
“The industry is facing growing skills shortages to support the record numbers of visitors coming here, yet there is a strong pool of young people across the country – one in every eight – who are not working or in study,” he says.
“We need to better connect with this untapped talent so that we can get them into quality jobs and grow our region’s existing and emerging tourism businesses.
“Go with Tourism introduces a new platform to promote the stories of young people who are already making their way in the world and enables those who are still considering their career paths to explore the wide range of long-term employment opportunities within the tourism sector.”
Tourism is New Zealand's largest export industry, and with international visitor numbers increasing every year, an estimated 36,000 additional tourism workers are needed throughout the country by 2025 to meet growing demand.
“We know that this initiative itself will not solve all of these challenges and further advocacy work is necessary if we are to successfully attract the talent the sector is crying out for. This will include further engagement with central government about how tourism can be better recognised in the school curriculum and reflected in policy development,” says Armitage.
A nationwide research project led by ATEED and Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) was commissioned last year to discover what New Zealanders, particularly young people, think about working in tourism. The resulting report, Tourism Youth Perceptions [PDF], found that there is stigma associated with the industry.
Tourism Youth Perceptions also found that parents, who have the biggest influence on their child’s career path, tend to have limited understanding of the breadth and depth of opportunities within the tourism sector.
Maggie Ye is one of seven young people who have been identified as a ‘hero’ for the Go with Tourism campaign. As Groups Administrator at SKYCITY, her experience within the industry has been nothing but positive, enabling her to travel abroad and ignite an ambition to advance her career.
“I've been really fortunate to be surrounded by such amazing people,” says Ye.
“Looking at their success makes me passionate and motivated because I'm on the same pathway that they once were."
Fiona Melrose, People Experience Manager at HIPGROUP, has been a part of the steering group that helped develop the Go with Tourism initiative and is excited by its potential. One of her employees, Oriwia (Livvy) Morell, is senior chef de partie at Amano and is also featured in the campaign.
“Through her apprenticeship, to see her today on the front line of the kitchen is a wonderful representation of how young people can excel when given the right tools,” says Melrose.
As well as attracting young talent to the tourism industry, Go with Tourism will provide employers with insights and supporting resources to share best practice on attracting, recruiting and retaining youth.
For more information on Go with Tourism, whether you’re a job-seeker or an employer, please visit gowithtourism.co.nz