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Sky's the limit for students

SCOTT MORGAN
Last updated 08:43 12/07/2012
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SCOTT MORGAN
JOINING FORCES: MIT external relations director Stuart Middleton and Auckland Airport corporate affairs manager Charles Spillane are pleased with a plan to have MIT students undertake internships at the airport.

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Two OF South Auckland's biggest organisations are joining forces to get more local people into jobs close to home.

Auckland Airport needs more staff to work for its retail, food and beverage providers and the Manukau Institute of Technology wants to train them through a new internship scheme.

The two organisations have agreed to work together as part of the Auckland Council's Southern Initiative, which aims to increase living standards in the south.

Airport corporate affairs manager Charles Spillane says there's great demand from some of his tenants who can't find the right people to work for them.

"They have great difficulty in recruiting appropriate people to work at the airport."

The 24/7 nature of many outlets and lack of public transport to the airport makes it hard for tenants to retain staff, he says.

"Both those issues could be significantly addressed if we could recruit locally for jobs.

"It struck me as a real opportunity to play a role, not in employing people directly but possibly in facilitating connections between an educational facility and the large number of employers at the airport."

And he says the programme isn't focused on creating low-paid jobs.

"We're talking about creating careers and providing career paths in organisations for appropriately qualified students. It's a very exciting opportunity."

MIT external relations director Stuart Middleton says the organisation is "totally committed" to the Southern Initiative so working with the airport wasn't a hard decision.

"It seemed to us totally in tune with where we want to go."

Students will get real training under the internships rather than just being "someone standing around watching someone operate a cash register".

"We know this programme will put people into jobs."

Dr Middleton has previous experience running programmes at the airport.

Secondary students ran a business centre in the international terminal for three years in the 1990s during his time as Aorere College principal.

MIT is in the process of adjusting some if its courses so more students can be trained and put into internships. The courses should be ready in time for the new academic year and it's expected some interns could start in the summer of 2013-14. Dr Middleton says the key is to start small and watch the programme grow over time.

Auckland councillors were impressed when updated on the programme's progress last week. Deputy mayor Penny Hulse says the programme seems like a good fit for young people in the south.

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And North Shore councillor George Wood agrees it's a good start. "Every person we can place in a job is a bonus."

- Manukau Courier

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