A need for speed: Internships with Kawarau Jet

As one of our QRC National Scholarship recipients for 2023, Ben Canton has been flourishing in the Adventure Tourism Management industry from day dot. Ben’s internship with KJet in Queenstown has been a journey of growth and rapid career advancement. Initially hired for customer service, he transitioned to a trainee jetboat driver role on the first day, fulfilling his dream of speeding across Lake Wakatipu giving guests the experience of a lifetime.

What’s a day in the life for you?

A day in the life for me as a Jetboat Driver is incredibly varied. I start the day by heading into work at 8am at KJet on the Frankton Marina to perform the pre-trip safety checks on the boats. From there, I’ll launch the boats and drive into town to pick up my first booking. Depending on the size of bookings, I’ll take 3 or 4 trips a day, covering 45 kilometers of Lake Wakatipu and the adjoining Kawarau River.

Over a 60-minute trip, I’ll take the customers around the Queenstown Gardens, down the Frankton Arm and through the Kawarau River completing 360-degree spins and tricky maneuvers throughout, reaching up to 95km/h speeds. To wrap up for the day, I’ll perform the post-trip safety check and load the boats back into the shed at the Frankton Marina.

What has been a highlight of internship so far?

We see a range of customers, from thrill seekers to those just keen to step out of their comfort zone for the first time, and the best feeling is seeing them walk away knowing that they’ve truly enjoyed themselves. You’re only with the same group of customers for 60 minutes so it is a small chance to leave a lasting impression on them but also a great challenge that I have been so excited to meet head on.

I’m very thankful for the friendly team at KJet for being so supportive of my growth in the industry and I’m looking forward to continuing with my career in the industry after internship and study at QRC.

How did the internship managers help you find your internship?

I knew I wanted to be a jetboat driver from the outset of my course and at the time of internship, there were unfortunately no roles for this. Lizzie helped with interview skills and arranged for me to do a work experience day for an advertised customer service role at KJet as a stepping stone. However, even before starting this role, they approached me about a driver role that had popped up and I took it immediately. If I hadn’t been supported by my internship manager to take the initial role, this would have never happened!

Any advice or tips for students preparing to go out on internship?

Just go for it! Even if it’s not your dream role or it’s outside the realm of what you think you’re capable of, internships are a time for you to grow and challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and to step outside of your comfort zone.

Confidence is the key to most things in life and by living and working in Queenstown, with easy access to all the great outdoor activities, there are limitless opportunities to find your dream role in the industry.

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