A woman who has managed Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace says her tutor position at a Rotorua tertiary institute has been "by far the best job I've ever had".
Clare Crawshaw has held a number of positions in some of the world's most prominent establishments, including marketing manager for the royal palaces, marketing and events for Longleat Stately Home and general manager of Powderham Castle.
Mrs Crawshaw and fellow tutor Bronwyn Alton are now using their international knowledge to help Waiariki Bay of Plenty Polytechnic's tourism and hospitality department revitalise its qualifications.
Head of department Bart Vosse said the bachelor of applied hospitality and tourism, to be rolled out in 2018, is set to replace the current degree that has been running for 25 years.
The department has also revamped its tourism and hospitality diploma, rolled out this year, and will introduce its new Level 6 diploma next year.
Ms Alton, who has worked in multiple sectors of the tourism industry, said there was a clear skill shortage in the tourism industry and it was important to create ties between education and industry professionals.
"It is important these newly developed qualifications are not just about sitting in the classroom and learning from a textbook. It's easy to say 'make connections with stakeholders' but it's not always that simple, so the practical side of these courses will allow people to actually practise what they're learning."
Mrs Crawshaw said her main focus was making her classes engaging and fun.
"The students go out to meet industry leaders in Rotorua and we also bring people in as guest speakers to keep the students stimulated and creating those connections."
She said the tutor position at Waiariki appealed to her because she wanted to stay in tourism but did not want to do anything she had done before.
"I wanted a new challenge and that is exactly what Waiariki provides. When I applied it seemed like the perfect job and I have absolutely loved it - I've had some fantastic jobs but this is by far the best job I've ever had."
Mr Vosse said passionate, experienced tutors like Mrs Crawshaw and Ms Alton were key to refreshing the department's brand. "As the tourism industry in Rotorua grows, we want to grow with it. It has been great Clare and Bronwyn have been using their knowledge and skillset to take the learning outside of the classroom and straight to the industry."
Mr Vosse said it was also great they were able to go to industry and ask what they wanted to see in the new, revamped qualifications.