Raglan’s professional-looking new information centre — in the foyer of the $1 million museum building opened recently — has now been mirrored behind the counter with certification in tourism for two of its fulltime staff.
Both Te Aronui Reweti and centre manager Anthea Jackson have recently received national qualifications, bringing an extra edge of know-how to an i-SITE previously staffed almost entirely voluntarily by capable and knowledgeable locals.
Te Aronui — better known about town simply as T — certainly has “no regrets” now at stepping outside her comfort zone and off the dole two years ago when she got the opportunity to front up at the info centre with Winz’s last intake of youth on the Community Max job creation scheme.
Now she’s set to move on from her level three certificate, the basic qualification for an i-SITE, to level four which covers optional strands of learning specific to visitor information including Maori tourism.
Anthea will now progress her own qualification to management level as T continues to train and put into practise the skills she is developing.
Both have achieved their National Certificate in Tourism by distance learning through the Aviation, Travel and Tourism Organisation (ATTO).
Tourism is one of the big employers in Raglan, Anthea points out, and it’s good to acknowledge that by training our young people.
She believes other employers in our community like Waikato District Council, which runs Kopua Holiday Park, need to look at the entry level qualifications on offer for their own staff and help promote Raglan as a tourist town too.
T is a “real asset” to the info centre, Anthea adds, as is Veliste Barnes who works weekends. She also took the opportunity to train and upskill there through the same Winz scheme as T and now has her sights set firmly on the tourist industry.
Veliste is currently training at Wintec and hopes for a career in corporate travel.
Te Aronui,23, and Veliste,22, are both former Raglan Area School students.