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A satisfaction survey of businesses and interns has revealed enthusiasm for the value of the Internship Programme and its future.
The aim of the programme is to increase the flow of top quality students into Dunedin’s businesses to help with the skilled staff shortages. The project not only qualified the candidate for the programme but also develops and proves their abilities for the workforce, with the expectation that many will remain and build their career in Dunedin within the companies they worked with.
The Internship Programme is a collaboration between Dunedin businesses, University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic and the Dunedin City Council (through its Economic Development Unit and its Industry Project Fund). Internship Programme surveys were sent to 44 companies and organisations in Dunedin ranging from Information Communication Technology (ICT) companies and Business Service providers to Tourism, Community Services, Fashion and Engineering firms. 18 companies responded.
With 70 students working in 44 different locations, the demand for the scheme was strong, and half of the students who took part have been offered on-going work in term time. Almost 90% of the organisations say they would be keen to take on a student next summer.
Peter Harris, Manager of the DCC’s Economic Development Unit, says that the scheme aims to help show students that there are employment opportunities in Dunedin over summer or after graduation, and to help businesses discover the talents of the ‘best and brightest’ students. “We simply offer a service matching businesses with projects they need done, and students keen to get hands-on experience.”
Anyone wanting to learn more about the scheme or join up should contact Chanel O’Brien of the DCC’s EDU at 477 4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Student interns have voiced strong support for the scheme in the survey just completed with 99% satisfaction, and feedback has been positive.
Among those participating is Hannah Ensor, studying for a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Management, and a Masters of Entrepreneurship at the University of Otago who completed her Internship at marketing, design and brand development company, Firebrand.
“This internship was invaluable in terms of gaining real-world experience. It was fantastic to see the opportunities available in Dunedin, and to be working on real projects with local businesses. Dunedin is now a realistic option post-study, whereas prior to the internship experience I hadn’t realised there were opportunities here. I learnt so much, made so many connections amongst local companies, and have a whole new perception of the career opportunities in Dunedin.”
Ashleigh Jackson, originally from Sydney, has been studying product design at Otago Polytechnic. She undertook her internship at Architecture Van Brandenburg.
“The internship was important for me because I felt the need to get experience before finishing my degree so I felt more prepared when entering into the workforce. It was a great way to become immersed in real work with a great team of creative designers. It would definitely encourage me to stay and work in Dunedin if I could do what I was doing during that experience.”
Businesses that have taken on students are equally positive. Damien Van Brandenburg of Architecture Van Brandenburg.
“We have been really impressed with the interns in our office, Ashleigh Jackson and Niall McColm, whose main role was to assist in building architectural scale models which are an important aspect of the developed design process we go through in the office. We found that both students were enthusiastic about being in the office environment and contributing to the design process. The students found that they were able to develop the skills at a professional level which they were pursuing in Design School.”
Bob Brown, Senior Developer from Turboweb.
“We found the gap between what we required and the actual skill level of our intern to be small, and he brought with him the expected ideals, especially with regard to developing software to industry level standards. The opportunity for us to provide on-the-job training to bridge this gap was an unexpected bonus for us, as we didn't have to deal with pre-conceived notions of how things should work (which are common in our industry).
“We were very happy with the programme and its aim to keep graduates in the city and would fully support its value in developing employment avenues for young people and businesses alike. We are now in an on-going relationship with our intern and intend to offer him a full time job when he graduates.”