New Zealand: Redundancies at Taranaki hotel management school as border remains closed to international students

New Zealand/October 17, 2020/By: Brianna Mcilraith/Source:

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As many as 25 employees at Taranaki’s international hotel management training school are facing redundancy because 60 per cent of its students have been unable to enter the country due to Covid-19 restrictions.

In a statement, Pacific International Hotel Management School (Pihms) chief executive Bill McCallum said 15 to 25 staff would be leaving the school by November.

“I personally see this as a downsizing as it affects all staff across the organisation,” he said.

Although the school was still receiving strong domestic student numbers, international students were unlikely to return for some time, he said.

The globally-connected school was founded in 1995 and operates as a working hotel on the outskirts of New Plymouth in Bell Block.

Courses range from a Level 5 diploma to a Level 9 masters in hotel management, and 98 per cent of students are employed within three months of graduating.

Students are regularly offered training placements in New Plymouth hotels.

The school traditionally has a strong contingent of international students, having previously trained people from countries such as Russia, India and Nepal.

In March, Pihms was waiting for 60 per cent of its roll to arrive from overseas.

“Like many other educational institutions Pihms has been affected to a significant degree by Covid-19 in terms of closed borders halting all international student enrolments,” McCallum said this week in the emailed statement.

“The Pihms’ family are saddened by the fact that some of their colleagues will be leaving.

“But would hope that in the not-too-distant future they may return to continue to build and grow the success of Pihms, for its students, alumni and the educational dimensions of the region.”

New Zealand’s border is largely closed to everyone but citizens or permanent residents. There are exceptions for those with partners and children in the country, and diplomats.

Earlier this month Education minister Chris Hipkins said 250 PhD and postgraduate students would be allowed to enter New Zealand, with the first likely to arrive in November this year.

These exceptions do not cover Pihms students.

The absence of international students is affecting revenue at tertiary institutes and some high schools around the country.

Earlier this year Taranaki’s Witt polytech said its international student numbers were largely unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic as most of their students were already in New Zealand.

The institute had 6029 students, 17 per cent of which were international.

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New Zealand: Redundancies at Taranaki hotel management school as border remains closed to international students – Sarraute Educación María Magdalena

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