Like many young people attracted to a career in tourism, Shakira Kalksma knew, when she was studying the subject at school, that the exciting industry presented her with the perfect adventure. She just didn’t know where or what kind of role she’d land in the dazzling world spanning everything from outdoor pursuits to retail and hospitality.
Today, she’s literally made it to the top of the tourism mountain with a fantastic position as Food & Beverage Supervisor at Skyline Queenstown, New Zealand’s internationally-acclaimed attraction that hosts a staggering 925,000 visitors a year.
Shakira discovered the opportunities available in the hospitality side of tourism when she got her first job with Skyline as an attendant at the attraction’s café and restaurant, six years ago.
“I didn’t know what to expect from the role, but I really wanted to get into tourism and this was a great way to start my career,” says Shakira.
From day one, she was determined to learn as much as she could: greeting guests front of house, table service for thousands of diners enjoying a meal and majestic views from the attraction’s popular Market Kitchen café, and much more.
Spotting her potential, her employer gave her the chance to advance her career with an apprenticeship to gain an industry-recognised qualification, the New Zealand Certificate in Food & Beverage – Level 4.
“They really appreciated my hard work and wanted to grow me in the company. It was an amazing offer and a tremendous vote of confidence,” she says.
The apprenticeship, that helps aspiring hospitality trainees gain the knowledge and know-how they need to run the show effectively, covers bar and restaurant sales, specialist wine knowledge and menu matching, staff supervision, stock control, advanced restaurant service and staff supervision, health, safety and security practices, food safety, legal compliance for a licenced premises, and more.
Shakira successfully completed the apprenticeship in only two years. She says she was impressed at just how direct and easy it was to learn and upskill on the job – the last time she’d studied was at a tertiary institution for her Diploma in Tourism.
“For me, the apprenticeship was a better way to learn because you put what you’re learning into action. Sometimes when I read something it would go straight out the window, but when I apply the information, I retain it.”
Market Kitchen Manager Steven Wallace and ServiceIQ hospitality training advisor Andrea Gibson were a huge help in guiding her through the programme, answering questions, marking her assessments and mentoring her progress, says Shakira.
“Everyone has been amazing. They’re so supportive it feels like one big family. I genuinely love working here.”
It’s Shakira’s job to ensure that the whole dining operation runs smoothly, customers are happy, fresh stock is maintained at the right levels, and any issues are dealt with professionally.
As well as a stunning location, what she loves most about her role at Skyline is working with a great group of people and seeing them develop.
“It’s pretty cool. These days I have the chance to pass on the knowledge I’ve learned to help my team grow. The atmosphere is always vibrant and we’re lucky enough to help thousands of visitors from different cultures and nationalities enjoy the time of their life in New Zealand. There’s always heaps to do and new people to meet. No two days are ever the same. I’m really blessed to work here.”
Her next career goal? “I’d love to work my way up to become a manager and then see what doors open.”
For more information, please contact ServiceIQ on 0800 863 693 or email intel@ServiceIQ.org.nz