Wednesday, 24 June 2015

One Last Chance!

By Dayne Swanepoel

It has been a very interesting and busy time since my first blog post. I can’t believe we are just past the halfway mark for the upcoming season’s presentations and interviews, so here’s a little update on what’s been happening on my side.

We recently hosted a presentation at the Capital Moloko Hotel in Johannesburg.  As it was Father’s Day, the turnout was not as good as our first presentation, but I was really grateful for the amazing people who came through. I hope to see all of you at the Country Club interviews soon!

The returners attending the presentations have shared some really fascinating stories, and have helped ensure that these sessions run smoothly.  They’ve also been on hand to answer all your questions along the way.  A big thank you to everyone involved – without you, our successful presentations would not be possible, and you have all been fantastic!
The hospitality schools have always been a great place for us to host presentations and find candidates - that has been no different this year.  I really appreciate them all welcoming us back again, and as always, we have found some great potential recruits.

The Workaway interviews are taking place at Regus in Sandton this year, and have been fantastic. This is the part of the recruitment process that I have enjoyed the most, and I’ve been blown away by what Johannesburg has to offer.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know everyone on a more personal level and I hope we can keep ‘em coming!  I’m sure you all are going to do great with the Country Club interviews.  

During our marketing in and around Johannesburg this year, I have met an abundance of really great staff working in the hospitality industry.  Some of the restaurant managers I’ve met are open to their staff applying for our program, affording them the opportunity to gain valuable international experience.

We have one more presentation in less than one month, and this is the last chance for potential Joburg candidates to grab this once-in-a lifetime opportunity. Tell your friends and their friends too. We still need many quality recruits for our upcoming season! 

Going strong

By Melissa Chauvet

Going into my fifth week of marketing and representing Durban for Workaway International - hoping to find the right candidates - is challenging, but exciting at the same time.  It involves a lot of travelling, which means I’m able to revisit towns that I haven’t seen in ages!

I’m used to the warm Durban climate, so my trip to Howick was a chilly one.  There is always a silver lining because upon reaching my destination, I was welcomed by a crackling fireplace – an unusual, but pleasant surprise.
During this particular period of the recruitment process, interviewing and getting to know some interesting and skilful people gives me great pleasure.  It makes me happy to know that some of them will be granted the opportunity to work at some of the most prestigious country clubs in the United States.

A word of advice for the applicants who are put forward for the interviews:  Please ensure that you are professionally groomed and well prepared for the Country Club interviews!  This means that you should be clean shaven, no visible tattoos and no facial piercings.  A note to the guys in particular:  Don’t forget your ties!
Remember those famous words you learn early in life: “Your first impression is the most lasting impression”... you’ve come so far - don’t mess it up.

Keep an eye out for upcoming presentation dates in your area.  I look forward to meeting more great candidates along the way!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Workaway, Behind the adventure - Part One

By Lise Kotze

So there I sat, in an office in the corporate finance world - a job I did indeed love. I was surrounded by an ocean of numbers, but soon realised that this is not where I would find the answers I was looking for.

With my contract coming to an end I had a feeling that it was time to find something ‘more.’  As this expiration date slowly started to creep up on me, the excitement of a new adventure continued to beckon inside my heart like an endless echo between hills.

It was during this time that I, by chance, saw the light at the end of my daunting job-hunting tunnel.

This light was in the form of a Workaway International vacancy advertisement.  I stumbled upon this while perusing the exciting opportunities that a friend had led me to since finding his own adventure on the program.

Armed with nothing but an email address, I jumped in to high gear and sent off a list of my worthiness in the form of a neatly typed out curriculum vitae and motivational email. With a willful determination I pressed send....

Then I patiently waited, not knowing that this would be the beginning of my journey to the behind-the-scenes team of Workaway international – the factory where I believed opportunities and adventures were created for the lucky few who were deserving….

18 May 2015 - This date now holds a new significance as it marks the day I finally stepped in to the Workaway offices as part of the team.

I was welcomed with the warmest of smiles as I arrived on my first day. Immediately the fast paced environment was clear as we started preparing for a day of presentations and interviews. From the day I entered those doors I was thrown in to this whirlwind world with no yearning to ever look back.

Nearly a month later, the immense amount I have learnt is something I cannot explain. It is like stepping in to a secret that thrills you and never manages to leave you once it’s entered your mind.

As I know I am only in the beginning stage of my journey, I eagerly sit, day after day, awaiting the unconditional knowledge that is still to come on this path of new experiences.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Exciting opportunities!

By Melissa Chauvet

My name is Melissa Chauvet and I'm super excited to be the new Durban representative for this year’s recruitment campaign!

I was born and bred in Durban, living on the south coast I spend a lot of time on outdoor activities. At a young age, while still in school, I got involved in the hospitality industry as a waitress/bartender.  I eventually became involved in bigger opportunities and was selected to work at a 5-star hotel in Dubai as a waitress.  I grabbed this opportunity which allowed me to gain more experience and knowledge. Upon my return, I realised that the hospitality industry, and working in another country, was my forté.

I decided to join an events company as a hostess for a famous music artist who visited Durban quite often.  When the Fifa World Cup was hosted in 2010, I was approached to participate in this event in the form of hosting visitors to our country, and ensuring that they were offered excellent service.
My brother, Craig joined the Workaway International program for two years.  He planned to return to the US for the winter program and told me to join him as it would be a lifetime experience.  I didn't hesitate, and my journey in the US was unbelievable!

I must admit that I was nervous in the beginning - working at the Country club is hard work and long hours, but having staff who makes you feel welcome, and who work hard as a team, makes the working conditions enjoyable.
There are always functions being hosted by the country clubs – from Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. We even had a South African evening which introduced the club members to our South African dishes –and they all loved it!

With some time off, I got to see Miami, went to a Redsox Baseball game, and also visited Universal Studios in Orlando. Time flew and before I knew it, it was time to come back home. I made lifelong friends which I am still in contact with today.

I am currently the Durban representative for Workaway International, and I look forward to meeting many potential candidates and being of assistance to you. The Workaway International experience is definitely an opportunity of a lifetime!

Monday, 1 June 2015

To Boca and back!

By Dayne Swanepoel

I’m pretty sure most people don’t know who I am, so I thought it’s best for me to start from the beginning…

My name is Dayne Swanepoel, 27 years young and all the way from that little town Johannesburg, born and bred. I am extremely proud to introduce myself to you as the JHB representative for Workaway International for the 2015/2016 recruitment program.

I recently arrived back from my amazing adventure in America a little over a month ago, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it has been the single greatest decision of my life.
Before I found myself crossing the big lake, I was bored.  I had a really well-paying job in Human Resources with my family’s business - my life was set, but that was too easy.  I was in need of a challenge, travel and adventure.

I had a bit of waitering experience whilst growing up and managed a bar in my varsity days. This was enough for me to be accepted onto the Workaway International program, working as part of the Banqueting team as a Bartender/Server at Boca West.

I found the work really challenging, but rewarding at the same time. Some days I thought it was impossible, but we pulled off the biggest parties - even a surprise performance from Shaggy!  Valentine’s Day was the banquet that stood out for me the most, simply because we were desensitised to the enormity of each party as the season went on, but even that day I was amazed at what we had pulled off.

Besides work, I made some of the greatest friends I could have ever have imagined. Some of the guys I worked with and the people I stayed with, as cliché as it may sound, became my American family. I really wish we weren’t all spread out back home - some of us live in Cape Town, Durban and even as far as Ireland and Romania.

It isn’t all just work, there was also ample time to explore and travel. My trips to Key West and Universal Studios Orlando are the two that stand out the most, and are definitely places I recommend everyone should visit. They really illustrate why America is an amazing place, and everything is truly bigger and better!

It’s great to be home, and with the recruitment process for next season’s hopefuls in full swing, I’m already excited for the upcoming season and what JHB candidates have to offer! We had our first presentation on 23 May and I was impressed with the all the amazing candidates who joined us. I really hope to see more of you at the next two presentations!

I really look forward to meeting all of you along the way and I hope I can help your dream come true the same way that Workaway did for me. You will never look back from that, I promise.