Guests staying at ILT’s flagship new hotel, The Langlands, will more than likely be welcomed by hotel and hospitality management graduates from the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) a business division of Te Pūkenga, who have studied locally and are now taking their place in an industry dealing with a workforce shortage.
The Langlands Executive Manager, Bryan Townley, said opening a new hotel from the ground up has been the biggest professional challenge he’s encountered during his 30-plus years in hospitality, but also the most rewarding.
“The challenges have been varied, from planning, design, set up of each department, recruitment, procurement, developing SOPs - standard operation procedures - and everything in between,” he explained.
“Recruitment has been one the key challenges we have had to manage prior to opening, because New Zealand is in the midst of a national shortage of available hospitality talent.”
Mr Townley said when hiring staff, previous experience was a bonus, but there were also other attributes he looked for. “Personal presentation, along with the ability to connect and communicate effectively, while presenting a keen attitude and willingness to learn and improve.
”We place a strong emphasis on training within the hotel and this aligns well with SIT, their students all come with a genuine desire to make a career in hospitality, with a good understanding of the industry,” he said.
“... they tend to possess a sound understanding of the fundamentals of the industry and expectations.”
Selena Coburn, Programme Leader - Hotel Management, from SIT School of Business and Management, is excited to see Hotel Management graduates finding roles in the industry; over the years SIT students have worked in a wide variety of ILT establishments across the city, she said.
“Opportunities have come from having an excellent relationship with Bryan Townley, a long-time supporter of SIT students coming through the Hospitality and Hotel Management programmes... we previously worked with Bryan and his team at the Ascot Park Hotel to provide students for functions and special events.
SIT Hotel Management students were in high demand, both during their studies and after graduation, Ms Coburn said.
“Having both practical experience and a wider theoretical understanding of concepts within the business and hospitality industries means these students are work ready and able to use their skills to support the efficient operation of the business.
“We are thrilled to have such a close relationship with the management team at the newly opened The Langlands, and to have students and graduates employed in a variety of roles in the hotel,” she added.
All SIT Bachelor of Hotel Management (BHM) students are required to complete a sixmonth internship with a hospitality employer in their final semester, Ms Coburn explained, however, for the first time, students are able to apply for an internship with The Langlands, providing them with the opportunity to move around and learn in different departments of the hotel.
BHM student, Lourdes Kirana, felt grateful to be selected as the first intern from the programme – she said gaining a place at The Langlands was her dream. Joining the reception team in a full-time role after graduation in December, Miss Kirana said while there were challenges working in a newly finished hotel, the upside was all the staff were learning together.
For SIT BHM graduate, Ann Chan, experience in customer service is paying off in her role as Guest Services Agent – she worked part-time through high school and her degree – and she’s grateful to be on the right path, working in the field she has trained for. “This has always been my dream to have a place in the tourism industry, having contact with people from all over the world...
Fellow Guest Service Agent, Halie Allan, is a Diploma in Hospitality Management (Level 6) graduate, and said her studies really helped to secure a role by fine-tuning her approach to the hospitality sector. “It gave me a better understanding of the industry as a whole and how it works.
Mr Townley added that hospitality as a career provides many opportunities for personal and professional growth, with an array of paths to follow. Aside from front-of-house positions or kitchen, there were other options: sales and marketing, accounting, human resources, industrial law, technology, maintenance, and more.
“Solid careers are there for those who have a genuine desire to be involved in this everevolving industry,” he said.