From Westlake Girl’s High school to Queenstown Resort College to Antibes in France, QRC Hospitality Management graduate Amber Colle is now carving out a career for herself in superyachts on the high seas.
Like many people she was drawn to the hospitality industry because of her love of working with people, the variety of positions available and the opportunity to travel the world.
She was attracted to QRC due to the practical nature of our programme, our reputation for excellence and our extensive industry network.
Read on the learn more about Ambers journey since leaving QRC.
On the Couch with Amber Colle
Why did you choose to follow a career in tourism/hospitality?
Hospitality has always come natural to me, and I thrive off providing people with incredible experiences. I definitely think “follow your passions” is the best advice I was given. Also, hospitality has so much variation that you could never get bored!
Why did you choose QRC?
I chose QRC because I wanted a course that provided a lot of practical experience and was highly recognized! QRC has a great reputation across New Zealand and that allowed me to experience incredible internships.
Where did you undertake your internship? (job/position)
I did my internship at Eichardts in Queenstown as Guest Service Agent/Concierge, and then did a small internship at The Hills Golf Course in an all-rounder position after.
What was the biggest “take away” from your internship experience?
My biggest lesson was to make yourself invaluable – and remember how important a smile is! – Make people remember your name.
All of my work references make mention of my positive attitude and how I can raise the energy in a room with my smile. When I apply for jobs, I focus on how I would be an asset to their team.
Tell me about your journey since leaving QRC.
I have thrived in seeking out every opportunity I can.
After QRC I was lucky enough to get an internship at a high-profile wedding production company, Oren Co, in Los Angeles with a J1 visa as assistant event coordinator.
I then went to the Netherlands and worked at Conscious Hotels in reception but found another opportunity working as a ‘hostess’ cooking and cleaning for guests on sailboats in Croatia for a company called The Yacht Week – This was an incredible experience that included everything I learnt at QRC!
Then I came back to New Zealand for some time with my family and soon after I got my dream job at the private golf course Tara Iti in Northland in a Concierge position. During this time, I was introduced to super yachting and did my STCW 1 week course to allow me to build on my hospitality skills and enable me to commence my career on super yachts. The course is required by all seafarers who are working onboard commercial ships or Superyachts and covers basic safety training while at sea.
Yachting has been an eye-opening job that requires lots of hard work, long hours but you also get to travel to incredible destinations with great salary packages and savings.
What role are you in now?
I am now working onboard a super yacht based in the coastal town of Antibes, France.
What are your main responsibilities?
I work in the interior department and rotate between housekeeping, laundry, and customer service. On other boats you stay in one department, but I have been getting lots of cross training working on yachts from 20 to 75 meters in length.
How did your time at QRC help prepare you for your current job?
QRC taught me the highest level of service which is crucial in getting a job for yachting (We do plenty of silver service). The internship also provided me with a great backbone to gain plenty of experience as a young person in the industry and allowed me to stand out.
What do you enjoy the most about your current position?
I enjoy that the industry is very connected worldwide. You can have a job in Europe one season and then the next be working on a boat in the Caribbean, jobs can be for a few months or permanent, so it allows you to be really flexible! My partner and I took a 6-month holiday/break from work this year which is very normal in the yachting industry.
What are your plans for the future?
The plan is to keep gaining knowledge from my seniors in the industry then in a year my partner and I will take on a smaller boat in collaboration with a charter company where we can manage/work their boat for a full season in a couple’s role with him as Captain and me as Stewardess and Cook.
This allows you to be your own boss, create incredible experiences for guests and earn great money in beautiful destinations.
Any words of wisdom to young people starting on their career?
Anyone you meet is a connection for an opportunity – so always be kind and make yourself memorable and be ready to say yes to any opportunity!
I have been able to take advantage of opportunities as they arose because I was assertive and jumped on them immediately. For example:
- While working at Oren Co, one of the world’s leading luxury experience firms based in Los once I had to act quickly to submit an emergency visa application and be ready to move continents to take up a new position on a yacht.
- At Yacht Week, a yachting recruitment agency in Croatia – I had to make a tough decision to quit a current job for something new and outside of my comfort zone. It was the best risk!
- Tara Iti, NZ – I took an interview call at 2am because I was overseas and wanted to show them, I truly wanted it.
- Motor Yacht ARROW – I had just landed in Stockholm to see my friend and I got a phone call to start the job in 2 days so I had to pack my stuff and fly back to Amsterdam
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
An older, successful man who was a guest on a sailboat I worked on told me ” Focus on what you are ALREADY good at, rather than trying improve your skills in areas you are not so good at – to be successful you only need to thrive in one thing, everything thing else will fall in place”
If you are considering a career on board superyachts and want to learn more about our range of programmes click on the following link to request more information: https://www.qrc.ac.nz/contact-us/