Life after PIHMS

12 June 2023

Introducing Kelsey May, she is a 2019 Degree Graduate who has been able to transfer her business and management skills into a new position within the Royal New Zealand Air Force.  

Kelsey May – 2019 Degree Graduate

My time at PIHMS 

I loved my time at PIHMS, I really enjoyed the subjects covered in my studies, it was a great mix of practical and theoretical knowledge and skills, and it was awesome living and working with my mates. Particular highlights included a team project organising a high tea for a retirement village for my events class and mastering fine dining table service. The customer service and business skills I learnt in the classroom and while working in the PIHMS restaurant and reception allowed me to be prepared to work effectively in the industry and the management and leadership skills have been hugely beneficial in my current role as a Supply Officer in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). 

Life after PIHMS 

My time at PIHMS and my industry placements made getting a job after graduating incredibly easy. PIHMS ensured I had the skills, knowledge and work experience needed to step into a job and hit the ground running. After completing my studies, I moved into a full-time role at a local café I had been working in part time while I’d been at PIHMS. Within six months I was promoted to Co-Manager with one of my colleagues. I’m sure it was this work experience along with the skills I’d learnt from my degree that allowed me to perform well at the RNZAF Officer Selection Board when I applied to join the Air Force and were contributing factors to getting selected to train as an officer. 

I applied to join the RNZAF when Covid reached New Zealand and I could no longer travel overseas to participate in a hotel internship as planned. I was fortunate to pass the selection process to become a Supply Officer in the RNZAF and following this completed a six-month RNZAF Officer Commissioning Course at RNZAF Base Woodbourne in Blenheim. It was during this training that I was able to learn military skills and further develop my leadership abilities. I would describe my current role as an HR and finance management. I complete staff work for the large number of personnel that come under our management team, I ensure we effectively manage our finances and I look after health and safety.  

Favourite part about my role!

I love that I am always learning, and every day is different. I work with amazing people and it’s a huge privilege to serve my country. Particular highlights have been participating in military exercises both in New Zealand and overseas, helping out with the New Zealand Covid response and the Hawkes Bay flooding response. 

There are so many parts of my job that I love. I have an amazing team of people that work in my trade, who are all so hard working and exceptional performers which is incredibly inspiring. My managers and team are always willing to help in any way they can, enabling me to perform at my best. There is also so much variety in my job, no two days are the same. I could be working on health and safety, responding to emails, helping out in some way with a disaster response, and providing logistics support to an exercise. We also are able to complete physical training sessions during work time and the course opportunities available are endless for both trade specific knowledge and skills and professional development. 

My 5-year plan 

In 5 years, I intend to still be working for the NZDF. I’m unsure where exactly I’ll be working as there are so many opportunities available both within New Zealand and overseas that the possibilities are endless. 

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