Twelve hundred students and more than 50 of New Zealand’s leading employers descended on NZMA Sylvia Park last Thursday, all with just one thing on their minds. Employment.
The fourth annual NZMA Careers Fair was the best yet, with more than 35 students landing jobs on the spot, and hundreds more submitting applications, and lining up work experience opportunities. Top employers from all over the country participated, including all the big name hotels like SkyCity, Millennium and Heritage Hotels, as well as major players like The Warehouse Group, McDonald’s, Defence Careers, St Pierre’s, the Hip Group, Wendy’s, Vital Hospitality and several security firms. Some international companies even attended, such as Swiss hotel management school Htmi. About 60% of the employers had participated in last year’s Fair; however there were also many first-timers, such as Toni Booth, Sales and Central Reservations Manager at Waldorf Apartments.
“This year we came along for the first time and I’ve been so impressed – both with this amazing venue, and the students themselves. It’s fantastic seeing how many people want to work, and want to learn,” said Toni.
“We’re always looking for housekeeping and front desk staff. We’ve received about 30 CVs so far today and amongst them are some real gems. These are the sorts of people we need in hospitality. We need people with dreams and goals that want to better themselves and are passionate about customer service. And that’s what you’ve got here. We will definitely be hiring some of these students, and we will also be working with NZMA Careers to look at six week blocks and internship opportunities.”
Toni and her team – along with many of the other employers - attended both the Auckland Careers Fair, and the Waikato Careers Fair which was held a week earlier. Though only in its second year, the Hamilton event was also a resounding success. For many of the participating employers, it’s the perfect way to take the headache out of recruitment, and offers a fantastic alternative to traditional ways of hiring.
Takeshi Takada, Retail Operations Manager for St Pierre’s International is a huge fan.
“The students NZMA produces are great – in fact we currently have two interning with us and have another two NZMA graduates working for us full-time. We used to work with a selection of hospitality schools to help find staff; however NZMA has such great students, and such an excellent Careers Team, so now we just work with NZMA. We find the NZMA Careers Fairs to be extremely worthwhile,” he said.
Not only does the Fair present students and graduates with potential job opportunities, but it’s a good way for them to improve their interview skills and build confidence. It also gives them an insight into who they might like to work for in the future. For employers, it’s the perfect way to showcase their business and snaffle talented new staff. With hundreds of trained job seekers onsite, it’s easy to find skilled and motivated students who are the right fit for their organisation.
HR Consultant for McDonald’s Laure Piguet said that several new initiatives meant that McDonald’s was now looking for some new skill sets from potential staff.
“Now we have new offerings such as our Create Your Taste Burger, so we need to hire people with culinary knowledge. We also now have hosts so we need people with great customer service skills. We believe that NZMA students could be a great asset for our company, as they are learning the specific skills we are looking for.”
NZMA Careers Advisor Leilani Hoyt said the Fairs are unlike any other event of their kind.
“No other provider has anything like this. This is such a great way for employers to see potential from all over Auckland, from Auckland South, Sylvia Park, domestic students and international students, students from all sorts of different backgrounds. It is such a diverse mix,” said Leilani.
“By running these events NZMA is helping tackle unemployment and get youth into jobs. We are helping our communities rise up and be empowered. And every single employer here has also bought into that vision. It’s an extremely inspiring and powerful event to be a part of, and I have no doubt that 2016 will be even bigger and better!”