Chantal Mackle has the best job in the world. “I make people’s dreams come true,” says Chantal, who takes tourists from all over the world to swim with or view the dolphins at Kaikoura.
Chantal got her dream job at Encounter Kaikoura after completing ServiceIQ’s Gateway Tourism programme in her final year at school. When summertime arrived, she dived into an exciting new career when the company offered her a full-time role as a trainee tour guide.
“I was stoked and felt so privileged,” says Chantal. “I swam with the dolphins as part of Gateway work experience and I’d always wanted to work in the outdoors.”
“I enjoy meeting visitors from all over the world and love to watch their expressions when they first see a pod of dolphins, which can sometimes number in the hundreds or more, swimming beside the boat. I have the perfect job.”
Her fantastic role includes the significant benefit of on-job training: her boss provides ServiceIQ’s workplace programmes and five years into the job, Chantal is well on the way to becoming a fully qualified tourism guide. She has completed the National Certificate in Tourism Level 3 and will soon complete her Level 4 qualification in Tour Guiding.
She says earning as she learns is the perfect way to pursue a career she loves, and at the same time, gain the expertise she needs to develop a career.
There is a lot to master. Every trip to sea, Chantal is on deck helping tourists prepare for their swim and learn how to use the diving equipment. She also needs to keep a close watch on all customers on board and each swimmer every moment they are in the water.
Excellent health and safety skills are a top priority to ensure that visitors enjoy a great experience. Chantal holds a current First Aid Certificate and she has also completed oxygen and defibrillation training in case of an incident at sea.
She also provides visitors with informative commentaries about the region and its wildlife, and adapts her presentations so that she is able to be understood by many different nationalities.
For Chantal, learning on-job is an ideal way to upskill:
“You’re always working with a senior guide who has years of experience and who doesn’t mind if you ask questions. We are all about questions, especially as there is so much to take in. If you’re a hands-on person, it’s a fantastic way to learn because everything stays fresh in your mind.”
If you happen to be at school and don’t know what to do when you leave, Chantal has some advice to help you decide.
“Get a job where the employer offers ServiceIQ on-job training programmes, and just give it a go and see what happens. There’s always going to be a learning experience that comes out of it and you may just find your dream career.”