Premier New Zealand ski company NZSki Limited has picked up its ninth* award of the summer for its innovative employee development initiative ‘NZSki-U’.
The company, which also operates New Zealand ski areas at Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, won “Overall HR Initiative of the Year” at the 2009/2010 Human Resources Institute of NZ (HRINZ) awards held in Wellington last.
On hand to receive the award was NZSki’s HR Manager Kevin Sharpe, who also won the regional “Young HR Practitioner of the Year” award for driving the initiative.
The 30-year-old Englishman, now in his fourth winter season with NZSki, was delighted with the acknowledgement.
“We have created these initiatives with a long term goal in mind, which is to develop career pathways and opportunities for NZSki staff. Being recognised at this stage of the process is fantastic. I’m absolutely thrilled.”
Mr Sharpe said that while he created the initiatives around NZSki-U, the programme was a combined effort of NZSki CEO James Coddington and NZSki’s leadership team.
“James had the vision and leadership and supported me driving the programme through our leadership team.
“Since we implemented NZSki-U in 2008, we’ve had great results in many facets of the business. In particular, it’s driven a very positive culture change and our staff retention rates have doubled.”
Mr Coddington commended Kevin’s hard work and said he was proud to lead such a talented team of people, all of whom had contributed to NZSki receiving the award. Mt Hutt is just 1 hour from Christchurch - the main center of the South Island New Zealand.
“It’s fantastic to be recognised at a national level for what we’re doing. Now that we’ve benchmarked ourselves against the best in New Zealand we know we’re on the right track and we’ll continue to be innovative leaders in all areas of our business.”
NZSki-U programme initiatives include assisting staff to upskill and further their tertiary education. Partnerships have been developed with key institutions Otago Polytechnic, Queenstown Resort College and Skills Active.
Otago Polytechnic’s world-leading Centre for Assessment of Prior Learning (CAPL) works with NZSki staff to assess their knowledge, skill levels, experience and existing qualifications and provides credit towards a Bachelor of Applied Management in the field relevant to them. If further learning is required, a course of study is planned to complete the qualification.
This year Queenstown Resort College, in partnership with NZSki, launched the first Snowsports Business Management course in the Southern Hemisphere. The award-winning college is now offering New Zealand’s only Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management specialising in snowsports management, aimed at producing graduates who are not only passionate about the industry but who have strong business skills.
NZSki has also been working with Skills Active over the past two years to implement a five year qualification framework. Within this framework there is a range of different levels and qualifications that encourage and enable NZSki staff to progress their careers within the snowsports industry.
“This year we’ve had 761 staff sign up for qualifications whereas in previous years it’s been around 200. It’s fantastic to see NZSki staff challenge themselves both personally and professionally,” said Mr Coddington.