A new partnership between New Zealand’s largest travel and tourism school and one of China’s fastest growing airlines is creating global opportunities for aspiring flight attendants.
Last week Tianjin Airlines staff set up shop at the New Zealand School of Tourism (NZST) Auckland Airport campus, interviewing 42 of the provider’s students from around the country for potential roles as international flight attendants. Those who make the final cut will be flown to Beijing for a three-month induction programme, before starting their new jobs as cabin crew on the airline’s long-haul flights.
An HNA Group subsidiary, Tianjin Airlines launched in 2009, and expanded into the long-haul sector (including Auckland) last year. This is only the second time the airline has recruited outside of China, and the partnership marks its first-ever recruitment drive in Australasia. According to Head of International Recruitment for NZST, Tom Parker, the unique initiative will bring benefits for both Tianjin Airlines and NZST graduates.
“Chinese airlines are keen to partner with NZST because we have strong number of graduates that are Work Ready, World Ready,” he says.
“Tianjin Airlines is undergoing aggressive expansion. They know that in order to become the next Emirates or other global airline, they need more multinational crew. That’s where we come in. They can interview New Zealand, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Indian students all in one place. Better still, our students all speak fluent English and have completed the relevant qualifications. We are a one stop shop and take the hard work out of the recruitment process for them.”
At the same time, the partnership offers some fantastic opportunities for NZST students who have their sights set on flying the skies.
“Many students would not have dreamed of working in China, so NZST is expanding their vision and creating opportunities that are exciting. At the same time, they are trying to make the process as simple as possible and so having the airline on site is a big step forward in that. Working in China and learning the language will give a huge career advantage, giving successful graduates the chance to start flying internationally straight away.”
Earlier this year, Hainan Airlines (who is one of the owners of Tianjin Airlines), interviewed and recruited 10 international flight attendants from NZST by using a similar model of being on site. Impressed by the calibre of candidates, Tianjin Airlines decided to follow suit. Last week’s rigorous two-day interview process included both individual and group sessions. Fourteen students have been selected by Tianjin Airlines to move forward to the final stage of the interview process.
NZST student Temare Katipa travelled all the way from Hamilton to attend the interview.
“The Tianjin Airlines interviews have been pretty intense and nerve-wracking but also a great opportunity. I really hope I get selected – I’ve never been out of New Zealand and it would be so cool living in a foreign country and adapting to a new culture,” she says.
For her classmate Lucky Marshall, becoming a flight attendant has been a life-long dream, and the opportunity to live in China has huge appeal.
“I became fascinated by the Chinese culture after my brother went there on a high school exchange programme,” says Lucky. “Chinese follow their traditions just as we do in the Maori culture, so living there really appeals to me. I did a lot of research before my interviews and our trainers also helped us prepare and gave us lots of handy tips. I’m not sure whether I’ll get accepted or not, but regardless of the outcome it has been an awesome experience.”