Bay Venues staff upskilling on the job

Published 1 August 2022
Bay Venues in Tauranga is supporting its staff with work-based learning to help them step up and grow their skills within the business.

Shyann Parkinson (pictured above left) has spent four years working at Baypark, which is a 20,000-seat arena and multi-purpose events complex managed by Bay Venues. After starting off as a receptionist, Shyann came to appreciate the big variety of events on offer, from expos and sports matches to music festivals.

Her manager encouraged her career progress, and when she expressed an interest in getting involved in events, supported her to enrol in the Skills Active Entertainment and Event Operations certificate.

Shyann is now an event coordinator, and not only works in the events team, but also takes on duty manager shifts which means she is on the ground during the events to make sure everything runs smoothly.

The team gets handed a new event, she says, and from there they get in touch with the client and start planning the event: writing the run sheet, sorting out equipment, furniture, audio-visual support, catering and much more. There’s lots of back and forth, following up with people, meeting deadlines, and improvising when necessary.

Shyann says she loves getting to work closely with teams across the venue.

“When I was on reception, everybody would come by and say hello. But now I’m sitting down and talking with other departments, and you really see how much they do and how much you rely on them for the event to go ahead.

“So, I enjoy working with our internal staff, and I also like seeing everything come together and presenting an awesome event at the end of it.”

Asked what helped her to get through the qualification, Shyann said it was great completing it at the same time as her colleague Bailey Grey (pictured above right). Like Shyann, Bailey works in reception, as well as often taking on duty manager roles.

“As a receptionist at Baypark you end up helping out all the different departments in the lead-up to events, without even realising it as such,” Bailey says. “So, I’m constantly immersed in the events going on here, and I was really eager to learn more.”

Being the duty manager involves getting a handover on the day from the events team, and then being the main point of contact for the client throughout the event.

“On event day, you get to experience the event first-hand obviously which is fun, but it’s also great seeing everyone come to your venue and enjoy themselves, staff and attendees included. Seeing a happy client is really rewarding.”

Bailey says completing the Skills Active certificate helped her get a big picture view of what it takes to work in events.

“Learning everything I can on the job here is great, but getting behind the scenes and understanding the industry itself has also been really important for me. If an opportunity arises for an events role, I can feel confident in my skills after doing the certificate, and having that backup behind me.”

Bailey says she and Shyann got tons of support from the team at Bay Venues when they took on the Skills Active qualification.

“Our manager and team leader were always encouraging us to learn and upskill, so they were happy for us to enrol in the certificate. We were also lucky enough to be given permission to work on our studies if we had a quiet period at work.

“Our event coordinators were also really helpful, and gave us incredible feedback and attestations for us to submit for the qualification.

“And because you’re already working at an events centre, you are almost doing your qualification without realising. You have to do the events, and you’re doing them without even thinking about it, which is absolutely a blessing when you go to tick things off for the qualification. You’re like, ‘Wow I’ve done that, and I’ve done that, and I’ve done that!’”


Media contact for Skills Active: Esther McLaren | | 021 195 5127

Skills Active Aotearoa is the transitional industry training organisation for recreation, exercise, sport and performing arts. We are a non-profit organisation, 50% owned by Māori shareholders, and funded by government to support Aotearoa businesses, organisations, iwi and community enterprises to get their staff and volunteers trained and qualified. We will transition our arranging training services to Te Mahi Ako on October 1, 2022.