James McNally from Ecozip is one of the faces of Go with Tourism.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s ‘Go With Tourism’ careers initiative has been boosted with a NZ$5.2 million (AUD$4.9 million) funding boost from New Zealand’s recently introduced International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy.

Launched earlier this year at TRENZ, the initiative in partnership with Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) aims to help promote careers in the tourism and hospitality industries via a job-connector platform aimed at addressing ongoing skills shortages.

So far, more than 60,000 unique visitors have been recorded on the platform, with 186 companies registered as employers. More than 700 potential applicants have signed up for the job connector system, with 31 people guided into employment. Initially marketed to the 18-24 age bracket, this has now been overtaken by the 30-65 segment, indicating tourism is well suited to those returning to the workforce or changing careers later in life.

Based on a 2018 Perceptions Research study to identify the barriers, myths and misconceptions people had about a career in tourism, the ‘Go With Tourism’ website was initially launched in Auckland, with a view to a progressive wider rollout across the rest of the country.

Utilising the funding, this expansion will now see one of three coordinated work streams implemented nationwide, aimed at building the tourism workforce over the next 3-5 years. ‘Go With Tourism’ will be expanded into new regions, with a national hub set up to manage the system along with regional coordinators. A comprehensive online knowledge hub will be built, supported by engagement opportunities such as school ambassadors, industry open days and more.

“The other two workstreams are about improving education and workforce planning, and upskilling programmes for businesses. TIA is continuing to work with government officials and ATEED to pull together the full Investment Plan for Building the Tourism Workforce,” Roberts said.

ATEED General Manager – Destination, Steve Armitage, said the government’s endorsement of the initiative was welcomed and that the rollout of the platform across the country would yield dividends.

“Getting more people into tourism is one of the key strategic imperatives to emerge from the Destination AKL 2025 strategy and is a particular focus for us given the mega opportunities that are fast approaching us in 2021, starting with the 36th America’s Cup.”