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NZMA Joins Forces with St Vincent de Paul

A unique partnership between NZMA Hamilton and St Vincent de Paul is building skills and boosting goodwill in the local community. The new initiative sees NZMA business, contact centre and retail students staffing St Vincent de Paul shops throughout the Waikato every Friday. The team of students volunteers their time and expertise, and in exchange gains valuable work experience. Retail students and contact centre students hone their customer service skills while business students work in areas such as stock control and balancing the books.
According to Senior Tutor Krissy Witehira (pictured) it’s a win-win for everyone.Kristine Witehira

“Our students get to practise everything they are learning in class – relevant work experience looks great on their CVs! It also gives us the opportunity to reach out and help those in the community who need us most.”

Helping those in need has always been top of mind for Krissy. She initially joined forces with St Vincent de Paul last year, sending a group of NZMA hospitality students to cook and serve lunch for the homeless once a month. On many occasions they ended up feeding more than 100 people in a sitting, and the initiative proved so successful that they are carrying it on throughout 2016.

“That was really amazing for our hospitality students – but then our business, retail and contact centre students said they wanted to get involved too. I had to put my thinking cap on and come up with another way they could help, that would also enable them to practise skills that were relevant to their training.”

Krissy’s new plan was launched last month, with students now working in St Vincent De Paul shops throughout the Waikato (including stores in Chartwell, Glenview and two in Frankton). Not only are they learning in real-life shops, but their tutors are also on hand to monitor their progress and assess them in the workplace as part of their training.

All in all, it is proving to be a winning community partnership.

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