Lauren Campbell is a Senior International Trade Consultant with the Interislander and KiwiRail. She’s enjoying a fantastic career in tourism.
Q: What qualifications and subjects did you attain at school?
I achieved NCEA up to Level 3 and University Entrance. My subjects in Year 13 were Statistics, Economics, Physics and ICT.
Q: Outline your career path once you left school?
After school I lived in the USA as an exchange student for one year. When I returned I went to Victoria University studying a postgraduate degree in Tourism Management. While studying I started volunteering as a Wellington City Ambassador, and through this got my CSR position at the Wellington i-SITE.
Once I graduated I needed a permanent full time role and came across this role at Interislander. I kind of stumbled into my tourism trade role by chance, but I’m very glad it happened! Since starting at Interislander I have also taken on a whole new product, the KiwiRail Scenic Journeys trains, and also had a more senior role created specifically for me after working for one year.
Q: What have been the highlights for you?
I enjoy my role as I am able to interact with both inbound operators and travellers alike. No day is the same, there’s always something new to challenge me. I get to travel both domestically and internationally with my role as well, which I really enjoy as I’m a traveller at heart!
Q: What attracted you to the industry and kept you in it?
At university I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I did a bunch of random papers and one of them was TOUR101. Out of the many subjects I was studying, tourism was definitely the most interesting for me. I’ve decided to follow a career path in tourism as it is such a diverse industry and there are so many different paths to go down. I just feel very passionate about the industry and showing off our beautiful country to the world!
Q: What are the challenges for young people?
Tourism has a bad stigma as an industry that is low skilled and low paid, so young people may not be very motivated to get into the tourism industry. However, most people are not aware of the wide variety of roles available in the tourism industry. Young people can also find it hard to get into employment due to a lack of previous work experience.
Q: Any advice for a school-leaver?
Definitely go to university! Even if you gain a qualification that doesn’t necessarily relate to the jobs you end up in, university study teaches you self-discipline, time management, work ethic and many other skills that greatly benefit you in the workplace. If you don’t know what you want to do at university, don’t worry! I had no idea and just tried a few different things until I found what I was passionate about.
I also strongly suggest that you do volunteer work while you study, as this gives you something to put on your CV and shows you are willing to put in the hours to gain more experience. I got my job at the i-SITE directly because of my volunteer work with cruise ship passengers.