Jay Gillian, Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, USA: They are an asset to our operation because some of the international students arrive early in the pre-season, around May, and there is a large number who will stay into our post-season, through until September/October. Having the international students here allows us to remain open well into the post-season, when our domestic staff return to their colleges and high schools.
Steve Cook, Gold Reef City, South Africa: For us I think it pays dividends to look to the local market. In South Africa we have over 40% unemployment, and I think if people were to come here and find staff from another country they would ask: “Why are you here?” We have people here who need the work, who value the work and mostly they do the work. Also they are great ambassadors for the park and help spread the word. One of the things I’ve always wanted us to do, however, is set up some sort of staff exchange with other theme parks around the world, so we can learn from each other.
Carol Albert Hill, Astroland/Coney Island, USA: We simply can’t get enough domestic employees on a seasonal basis, so use a number of international college students during the season. However, we try to use as many local people as we can. It’s only when we run out of local resources that we go down the international route.
Gordon Gibb, Flamingo Land, England: We started employing Eastern European staff at the park four years ago. This season we have invited between 70 and 80 foreign staff (out of a total 550) to live and work on the property. These people have been a tremendous success for our organisation, bringing energy, enthusiasm and pride to all departments, but especially food and beverage. These positions were traditionally filled by applicants who were unreliable and often moved on quickly. This was disruptive and costly but thanks to our foreign friends is no longer a problem.
Helmut Fischer, Tripsdrill, Germany: Although we attract guests from Italy, France and Switzerland, as well as Germany, it is only our visitors that are foreign. We prefer to employ German staff at the park because they speak the language of most of our guests.