Ski company’s college of knowledge upskills staff

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NZSki is proving that long-term careers can be found in the snow sports industry. 

The operators of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are in their fourth year of running NZSki University – an internal education system that provides staff with a range of free qualifications. 

Working with industry training organisation Skills Active, NZSki University runs New Zealand Qualifications Authority-recognised courses for professional development in all 16 departments from maintenance, rentals, food and beverage to management. 

In an industry that largely employs young, seasonal workers for short periods of time the company has found its award-winning tertiary system helps retain staff. 

“There were limited opportunities career-wise for people in the snow sports industry and I felt that there would be a progressive approach to ensure we’re providing not just a career path but also opportunities on that career path,” NZSki boss James Coddington explains. 

“We believe in looking after our staff…and if we do that, they will do the very best job they can for the company, which is exactly what they’re doing. 

“It is a big investment for us but if people want to stay and if people want to grow and develop in the snow sports industry there is no better company to do it than at NZSki.” 

Last year, 580 staff signed up for various qualifications. The company pays for “99 per cent” of the courses. 

Graduates of the two-year Bachelor of Applied Strategic Management – including long-serving Coronet Peak and Remarkables ski area managers Hamish McCrostie and Ross Lawrence – paid half the costly course fees. 

“It was very special for these guys,” Coddington says of their graduation last December. 

“Especially Hamish and Ross – all their colleagues and counterparts have had degrees and they’ve looked at these people as people who have had opportunities. We’ve been able to provide that same opportunity through NZSki, which is pretty cool.”