Internship fears unfounded

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Queenstown Resort College is rejecting a claim coronavirus is disrupting its industry internship programme.

The father of a Diploma in Adventure Tourism Management student tells Mountain Scene only a handful of students in his child’s intake have found internship positions, which are due to start next month.

The father, who doesn’t want to be named because he doesn’t want his child impacted, claims tourism operators are offering few internships because of the health scare.

But college boss Charlie Phillips is rubbishing the claim, saying the internship programme is on track, and the college has “a couple of plan Bs” should coronavirus cause issues in the future.

The 21-month diploma starts with three months’ classroom study before students begin a minimum 1000-hour paid internship with tourism operators in New Zealand or overseas.

The father says that of the 20-odd students in his child’s October intake, “only two or three” have found positions.

While he accepts coronavirus is an unforeseen problem, he says it has the potential to “wreck” the students’ education.

“Queenstown Resort College has been happy to take their fees, and take the government’s subsidies, but doesn’t have any plan B on this.

“These kids are being hung out to dry.”

Phillips says that of the 22 students in October’s intake, three have confirmed placements, 11 are in the application process, and the rest are still deciding what kind of internship they want.

There’s always a “rush on jobs towards the end of the process”, he says.

“It’s not unusual to not have a lot placed this far out from the end of the term.

“Going into April it’s always a slower period … but we always get there.”

He’s confident the college can adapt to whatever impact coronavirus has on its internship programme.

“We do have contingencies in place.

“We have the ability to do a couple of things – which would come at a cost to the college – to ensure we got the right outcome for students.

“We promote an outcome, which we achieve.”

Noting it’s the first time anyone’s raised concerns, he’s surprised the father hasn’t contacted him directly about the issue.

“We’re OK, and I’d encourage him to give me a call.”

guy.williams@scene.co.nz