Scholarship opens doors to hotel industry

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Atalo de la Rocha (Sudima Lake Rotorua Hotel Manager), Sudima Hotels & Resorts' Maree Judd and Trust deputy chairman Pita Anaru. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Atalo de la Rocha (Sudima Lake Rotorua Hotel Manager), Sudima Hotels & Resorts' Maree Judd and Trust deputy chairman Pita Anaru. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

School leavers of Ngati Whakaue descent who want to get into the hotel industry have just a few more days to apply for the Sudima Lake Rotorua scholarship.

The strategic partnership established in 2013 between the Ngati Whakaue Education Endowment Trust Board and Sudima Hotels & Resorts has heralded a hearty tick of approval from its first recipient Awatere Douglas, who completed a 12-month paid employment placement at Sudima Lake Rotorua and is now in his second year of a Hotel Management qualification at the University of Waikato.

The education endowment has been helping local descendants of Ngati Whakaue into secondary education since 1880.

The inaugural Sudima Lake Rotorua scholarship recipient, Mr Douglas, made a huge impact on the hotel's team during his year-long tenure with the hotel.

"As the scholarship is aimed at school leavers, the main traits we look for in applicants are attitude, passion, drive and commitment - and Awatere brought these attributes in spades.

Awatere is incredibly driven to succeed at management level in his chosen career path of hospitality," said Sudima Hotels & Resorts Director of Human Resources and a co-panel member in the judging of scholarship applicants, Maree Judd.

"Although Awatere began with limited understanding of the workings of the hospitality industry, that quickly changed. He was consistently enthusiastic about his duties, which ranged from bed-making to cooking in the kitchen and working on the front desk, during his year-long tenure with us. A strong upbringing centred on respect and work ethic gave Awatere the foundation for success. We have every bit of faith in his future prospects and know that we'll see more of him as he continues to advance in the industry."

Mr Douglas said the scholarship had given him an entire new set of skills and the opportunity to connect with the right people.

"I am a family and iwi-oriented young man, so I'm also incredibly grateful for the opportunity this has provided me to represent my iwi, make my friends and family proud and make a name for myself.

"Looking back at my year-long employment at Sudima Lake Rotorua, I have really grown as an individual. Improving my people skills and working across all facets of the business has been an essential part of the mix. I've learned so much about the hotel industry and how all departments need to work well together for the business to succeed. I have also learned the need to be flexible and the importance of time management. My work at Sudima has given me an edge over my university peers who perhaps don't have the same level of work experience as I now have."

Mr Douglas is studying a bachelor of tourism management majoring in hospitality, and a second major in te reo Maori. He encourages others to apply for the scholarship, through which he says the interview process itself was a great experience.

The scholarship is open now to school leavers and young locals of Ngati Whakaue descent. It was established to encourage locals into leadership roles within the hotel industry in and around Rotorua and Bay of Plenty.

It offers formal qualifications through the successful candidate's chosen New Zealand-based tertiary institution as well as a paid 12 month placement with Sudima Lake Rotorua. The tertiary study has a monetary value of up to $7500, not including the opportunity for employment with Sudima Hotels & Resorts in the future post their study.

All applications are reviewed by a judging panel consisting of an Ngati Whakaue Education Endowment Trust Board representative; Sudima Hotels & Resorts' Maree Judd and Atalo de la Rocha, (Sudima Lake Rotorua Hotel Manager); and Pauline Gray, the Student Relations Coordinator at the University of Waikato.

Applications for the 2016 round must be received by March 26. Application forms are available from the Sudima Hotels & Resorts website.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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