Studying Motivates Travel Agency During COVID

Studying at UCOL Te Pūkenga gave the helloworld Travel
Palmerston North team a boost while they worked through the
disruption of COVID-19.

The helloworld
Travel Palmerston North team Berta Ohlson-Down, Ellise
Buckly, and Kim Dunwell

helloworld Travel
Managing Director Kim Dunwell and Travel Professionals Berta
Ohlson-Down and Ellise Buckley are finishing up their New
Zealand Diploma in Business programme.

Thanks to a
scholarship from UCOL
Te Pūkenga and the Manawatū Chamber of
, the team studied part-time for two

In 2020, UCOL Te Pūkenga and chambers of
commerce in Manawatū, Whanganui, Wairarapa offered
scholarships to chamber members to help them upskill and
recover from the impact COVID-19 had on their businesses.
The scholarship covered the programme fees for the New
Zealand Diploma in Business.

Dunwell saw the
scholarship advertised in a Chamber of Commerce email and
thought it would be an excellent opportunity for her team
while the New Zealand border was closed and the only work
they had was managing credits and refunds on booked travel
in 2020 and 2021.

“I offered the opportunity to the
rest of the team because I thought it would be good for us
to study together. It has been great. We support and drive
each other. We’re always checking in on one another.”
says Dunwell.

Dunwell changed how the businesses
operated in the short-term so the team could attend classes
during work hours.

“We all have classes on Mondays,
so there is a point in the day when we have to close the
doors. We’ve had to limit our opening hours since the
borders opened even though business has picked back up. It
is a short-term measure to see our studies through,” says

The team found that studying while the
business had been so adversely affected was a good way to
keep them motivated and accountable.

“Studying has
definitely increased my motivation, especially with how slow
it was here while the borders were closed. It was good to
keep motivated to meet deadlines,” says

Buckley says that studying while working
full-time has made her more organised.

“I have to be
more organised because I have to switch off from work at the
end of the day and get into my study. Also, I have to fit in
time to go to classes, so I have to make sure I have all of
my work done.”

Studying business at UCOL Te Pūkenga
has given the helloworld team a better understanding of how
COVID-19 has impacted the global economy and has given them
more confidence in working with clients whose travel plans
have been affected.

“Working in tourism has been a
real challenge because of reduced availability. The airlines
are only at 60 to 70 percent. The industry itself is only at
60 to 70 percent. Everything takes longer, and replies
coming back from providers take five or six days as opposed
to 24 hours,” says Dunwell.

“I’ve got more
confidence, particularly with explaining things to
customers. The leadership and management side of my studies
have helped me understand Kim’s position more,” adds

Business has gotten busier for helloworld
since the border reopened, which has made studying more
challenging for the team. Dunwell encourages business owners
and employees to work together to find ways to balance work
and study commitments.

“If people are going to
upskill while in full-time work, there has to be an element
of outside your work time and during work time to get the
qualification done to a good

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