People's Stories | Opeti Tu’ipulotu Lomano

The Gateway Programme opened up all the opportunities there are to work in the Aviation sector. I reckon if it wasn’t for the Gateway Programme I wouldn’t have known about this course, let alone been on it.

Next time you receive a warm welcome at the airport it could be thanks to a Gateway programme aimed at getting more school students into Aviation careers.

Our Flight Attendant Gateway programme is a prime example of this. One of the bright new talents discovered on our inaugural ServiceIQ Flight Attendant Gateway Programme was De La Salle College student Opeti Tu’ipulotu Lomano, 19, who was then awarded a scholarship place on the Airline Customer Service programme at the esteemed Air New Zealand Aviation Institute.

Opeti, who has just graduated from the 17 week course, said that the Gateway programme opened his eyes to the opportunities in Aviation.

He said: “I was thinking about what I would do after school and then the Gateway Flight Attendant Programme came along, so I felt I’d give it a try then I started to enjoy it.

“At the start of the programme Air New Zealand explained to us what they looked for in staff, things like being confident when meeting new people. Everything they were saying were things that I’m good at and I thought to myself, that’s something I could enjoy.

“Coming into the Aviation Institute was quite a change, for a start everyone is treated like adults, and since I went to an all-boys school the first week was like paradise!

“Every day was different, you met lots of new people and there were assessments each week, so it was pretty intense.

“This course really helps with building confidence.  A lot of students in the class started off shy, but since a big part of it is standing up in class and presenting and by the last week they were saying that through the course they had really gained confidence and self-belief.

“When I heard of the Gateway Programme, the first thing I thought of was Flight Attendants, now I know that there are lots of other roles as well such as Customer Service Advisers, Airline Assistants and contact centre staff.”

Opeti said he would eventually like to be in one of these customer service facing roles. He said: “I see those as areas where I’m really strong, because I’m confident meeting people, talking to them and making them feel welcome.”

Following his graduation he’s now using the skills he gained to get more real life customer service experience to help him get his first role in Aviation.

Opeti made such an impression on staff and students at the Air New Zealand Aviation Institute that he was offered valuable work experience in the Koru Lounge during the school holidays. The core customer service skills gained in the Air New Zealand programme have also helped him get a part-time job, demonstrating power tools at a major DIY chain.

He has also become a great ambassador for the Aviation sector, returning to help represent the Institute at the careers day at his high school.

Opeti said: “The Gateway Programme opened up all the opportunities there are to work in the Aviation sector. I reckon if it wasn’t for the Gateway Programme I wouldn’t have known about this course, let alone been on it.”

For more information about *ServiceIQ Gateway courses, visit www.ServiceIQ.org.nz

*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.