People's Stories | Helen Gower


Aviation - Airport Operations

Training Pathway

National Certificate in Airport Operations
National Certificate in Business (First Line Management)
Communications Award

Working towards:
Unit standards in team leadership

Because the airport is paying for you to do this training, it feels like they’re really investing in you.

Keeping New Zealand’s biggest airport running smoothly is no easy feat, but for Helen Gower it’s what gets her out of bed every morning. The highlight of her role as Airport Operations Team Leader at Auckland International Airport is making sure passengers get where they need to go quickly, safely and painlessly.

The training Helen has completed through *ServiceIQ  over the past eight years has helped her to do her job with confidence, while gaining nationally recognised qualifications.

Helen is one of 50 staff that work in the Airport’s Landside Operations Team. Since starting at the Airport in 2003 as a Customer Service Officer, Helen has completed a number of qualifications and now oversees 15 staff in her role as Team Leader, alongside her Shift Manager.

With a background in office administration work, Helen had never completed formal training before taking on her role at Auckland Airport.

Since then, she has completed the National Certificate in Airport Operations and a National Certificate in Business (First Line Management). Communications Award She’s now working towards unit standards in team leadership.
She says the training hasn’t been stressful, with most of the work fitting easily around her normal workload.

“When I first started the training it was like ‘oh my goodness’ – as it seemed a lot to get though, but I just paced myself,” she says.

“A lot of it I’ve already done through my everyday job, so it’s actually just writing it up and working slowly through the workbook. Surprisingly I haven’t found it very hard to get through the material.”

She says the training is very practical and based around the kinds of things she does in her role every day, but writing it all down for assessments has helped reinforce the learning and shown her areas where she can improve behaviours or processes.

Auckland Airport strongly supports work-based training and is committed to ongoing training for all of its staff. Where possible, they’ll help staff make sure they can fit training around other commitments in their work day.

“Because the airport is paying for you to do this training, it feels like they’re really investing in you,” says Helen.

Helen has also just completed the KiaOraMai customer service training course, which gives frontline staff in the service industries an introduction to uniquely Kiwi customer service and helps them better understand their local area and its stories.

“That was a lot of fun. I learned a bit more about different towns and places, that sort of thing. I’ll be able to pass that information on to passengers. That was probably one of the highlights for me. I think it’s really helpful knowing a bit more about Auckland.”

Helen says that she really enjoys her job and has no plans to move on, but ongoing training will help her fine-tune what she’s doing and provide a better service to passengers.

*1 January 2013 the Aviation, Tourism and Travel Training Organisation (ATTTO), the Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI) and Retail Institute (RI) merged, transforming into ServiceIQ - the service-based Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for the aviation, tourism, travel, retail, wholesale and hospitality industries.