Auckland Airport - Student Internship Programme a Great Success

13 December 2012

Students from Manukau Institute of Technology have been offered internship placements at businesses based at the airport.

The internship programme, which officially began last week, was facilitated by Auckland Airport to contribute to Auckland Council’s Southern Initiative and is aimed at helping get local people into local jobs.

Although only in its pilot phase, the internship programme has shown fantastic results with 10 students from Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) being offered placements with five different businesses based at the airport.

The structure of the internships will see the students working through their summer holidays, from December until February, with the potential for further employment when the internship finishes.

Charles Spillane, Auckland Airport’s general manager of corporate affairs, says the outcome of the pilot scheme is impressive and demonstrates there is real potential for the initiative to expand in the future.

“Our role here was to facilitate connections between employers who are based at the airport and a local education provider, with the over-arching goal of getting local people into local jobs,” says Mr Spillane.

“We are committed to the Southern Initiative. With the large number of employers that are based at the airport, it seemed there was a real opportunity to play a part in helping to get people who live in South Auckland into jobs that are located on their doorstep.”

“To have ten students placed in internships in the pilot scheme proves that a real appetite exists amongst employers at the airport for this sort of initiative and shows the potential for growth of the programme in the future.”

MIT Director of External Affairs, Stuart Middleton, says the partnership with Auckland Airport is a wonderful opportunity for MIT students.

“Managing pathways into tertiary education and, just as importantly, out of study and into employment is a major trend. This programme is setting the pace in making these transitions effective and in the best interests of all," Dr Middleton says.

JR/Duty Free (NZ) and DFS New Zealand are two of the businesses based at the Airport that have employed students through the internship programme. Both organisations are committed to providing the students with exposure to all areas of the business so that the students can get a feel for what potential career paths may suit them.

John Ryan, HR Advisor for JR/Duty Free, says the pilot programme has proved to be successful for the company and they will definitely be looking to continue with the programme in the future. “The students are very enthusiastic – the attitude that they have shown to date is aligned with what we seek from our team.”

“We are always looking for the best applicants so to have a source of high calibre people is very advantageous for us and even better that they are local as it means they are familiar with the area and with transport options.”

JR Duty Free interns Allistair Bell, 20, and Lesley Metuarau, 21, say they feel very lucky to step straight into sought after positions at the airport after completing certificates in Travel and Tourism at MIT.

“It’s such a wonderful opportunity and I’m so grateful to be here. I’m doing everything I can to impress,” says Allistair.

The dedication of the pair is demonstrated when they take time to role play different customer scenarios and study hard to increase their product knowledge.

Assistant General Manager Operations for DFS, Glen Norton, rates the scheme as an outstanding success. “We talk a lot about localisation at DFS so for us it was a great opportunity to support the local community and be part of the programme. The internship programme provides an avenue for DFS to provide the students with exposure and experience in the travel and tourism industry through travel retail and gives them another career avenue to consider on graduating.”

DFS interns Loren McEwan and Andrew Smith say the internship is the perfect entry point into the tourism industry.

“I love it. The team are really helpful and friendly. It’s a great job that lets you meet people from all over the world. I know I’m lucky to be here,” Loren, 18, says.

Andrew, 17, says the experience he is gaining is invaluable and he feels well supported in the job, which is the first he has had since completing his Certificate in Travel and Tourism at MIT.


For further information, please contact:

Kate Thompson
+64 21 385 446