RNZ launches hospo training for RWC 2011

Rugby New Zealand 2011 has launched a “short, sharp” training programme that hopes to get the 10,000 to 15,000 staff needed to serve 1.7 million fans over the Rugby World Cup up to speed.The programme, called EventStarNZ will be run through workplaces, polytechnics and institutes of technology from May and training will take place in hospitality, kitchen, retail and bar venues.Developed jointly with the Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI), the programme could be used beyond the cup to other large events in the future, RNZ said.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 has launched a “short, sharp” training programme that hopes to get the 10,000 to 15,000 staff needed to serve 1.7 million fans over the Rugby World Cup up to speed.

The programme, called EventStarNZ will be run through workplaces, polytechnics and institutes of technology from May and training will take place in hospitality, kitchen, retail and bar venues.

Developed jointly with the Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI), the programme could be used beyond the cup to other large events in the future, RNZ said.

Caterers, which RNZ has stadia procurement rights for, will need to train staff who will wear a badge reflecting the training, said RNZ hospitality and logistics manager Ian Crowe.

“We will be asking them to comply with a very high proportion of staff to be trained through this programme. It’s a bit of a carrot and stick thing but it enables buy-in.”

Consistency of service was key, he said.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 would operate an extensive marketing campaign, starting at school level, through to universities, Work and Income and the Hospitality Association of New Zealand and hotels schools across the country, which would promote the product.

Training courses will consist of six modules, from half day to two days and will incorporate KiaOraMai – the customer service training programme launched last year.

Mr Crowe said the EventStarNZ product was self-funded and as it was short and sharp and operated through most hospitality venues, the cost was “minimal”.

The HSI would run the certified programme. “They are the lead agency so it’s right and proper that they run it.”

But he said Rugby New Zealand was looking for “operational excellence”, so needed to be close to the standards. “We need to get people to understand the expectation around RWC as opposed to training that gets sold out to various training providers.”

RWC was trying to breed a culture of high expectations and competitiveness in the hospitality sector and between catering companies, he said.

“We want to create a bit of peer pressure between the venues.”

An audit committee run through RNZ would be responsible for checking standards.

The 48-match, 45-day tournament held in 13 stadia throughout the country was the biggest hospitality event ever hosted in New Zealand, said HSI chief executive Steve Hanrahan.

“We were conscious that RWC 2011 would create an unprecedented demand for well trained service staff familiar with the requirements of a major event so we needed to respond to ensure the sector was match-fit by Tournament time.”

RWC 2011 is expected to attract 60,000 overseas visitors and pump more than $500 million into the New Zealand economy. The overall economic impact is estimated at $1.15 billion.

RNZ chief executive Martin Snedden said the training programme would contribute to the valuable legacy of RWC 2011.