SOUTHERN tourism company Real Journeys has been named the Supreme Winner at the Diversity Awards NZ, as well as the winner of the Tomorrow’s Workforce Award.
“The tourism business is all about increasing diversity and it’s great to be acknowledged and recognised for the work we do in our part of the country,” Real Journeys chief executive Richard Lauder said.
“To bring the top award down south is a huge honour for us.”
Other Diversity Award category winners were Air New Zealand, The Warehouse Group, ANZ and Coca-Cola Amatil.
The Tomorrow’s Workforce Award was for an initiative to solve an industry-wide shortage of qualified skippers and to address a lack of career pathways for maritime staff. Real Journeys’ training initiative has seen it become the country’s biggest maritime training employer after the New Zealand Navy.
Real Journeys director of people and performance Kevin Sharpe said his team worked closely with Competenz, Coastguard Boating Education and Maritime NZ to design and build the qualifications, training structure and even the content of the workbooks.
The scheme has not only provided opportunities for younger staff but it has also provided a new challenge for some of the company’s most senior skippers, he said.
“Involving these talented skippers in this way has been a win-win. It’s given them a new purpose, their experience is being genuinely recognised and respected and they’re enjoying passing on their skills in a practical way where they can really see the positive outcomes,” Mr Sharpe said.
“We started this whole thing from scratch but now we have had other companies approach us who would like to use the training, too, which is incredibly rewarding, and we’re more than happy to share our learnings. It benefits all of us.”
The maritime initiative is just one of several diversity and inclusion initiatives that Real Journeys has launched in the past year, including being a signatory to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, running Unconscious Bias workshops and setting up a Diversity and Inclusion Council.