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Internships "a win-win-win" for graduates, businesses and Wellington's economy

By Lance Walker 23 Jul 2019

WellingtonNZ Chief Executive Lance Walker shares his thoughts on the value that the Summer of Tech and Summer of Biz internship programmes bring to the local economy.


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Jamie Sanson & Simon Young, Trade Me

"Recently the Senior Leadership Team at WellingtonNZ were presented with a compelling, well-reasoned analysis on the potential benefits of chatbots and how they could enhance the delivery of information to those interacting with us via wellingtonnz.com. It wasn’t presented by one of the experienced members of our marketing team, nor from an external digital technology consultant.

Instead, it was presented by an intern who’d been working for us over the summer through the Summer of Biz internship programme. It was a big moment for her to be presenting to a group of senior leaders, and it was a big moment for us as we reflected on the value she had brought to our team.

Unlike in many countries where internships are the norm, New Zealand does not have a long tradition of internships. While some organisations have established excellent internship programmes, and organisations like Summer of Tech and Summer of Biz do a fantastic job in providing internship opportunities, many businesses still seem to reluctant to make the investment.

...the Summer of Tech programme has far more students than there are available internships. We’d love to improve on that.  We want Wellington to be a leader in this area. 

This year’s Summer of Tech programme saw up to 150 IT graduates handpicked by Wellington companies for internships. But the Summer of Tech programme has far more students than there are available internships. We’d love to improve on that. We want Wellington to be a leader in this area. Educating, developing and retaining local talent is something that lies at the heart of Wellington’s economic development – and internship programmes are an important part of that.

The benefits for both the employer and the intern are significant.

For the intern, it’s an opportunity to proactively address the challenge that comes in transitioning from tertiary education to full time employment. Those looking to enter the workforce often don’t have relevant work experience to help sell themselves to a prospective employer and they have great difficulty in gaining the sort of experience employers seek. What graduates need is to be given a first opportunity on their career path. Internships provide that opportunity as well as helping to retain our talent here in Wellington.

The key to growing internships is getting more Wellington businesses to offer them. It will create a win-win-win situation for graduates, businesses and the overall regional economy while paving the way for an enduring pathway to success for our talented graduates.

Businesses also benefit. They get young, passionate, motivated talent focused on succeeding and making a difference in the workplace. They get new ideas and new ways of looking at old problems. And they get technologically savvy employees raised in the brave new tech world.  Internships also provide a professional development opportunity for existing staff who work with these interns. Importantly, internships are a low risk investment in unearthing the next superstar.

WellingtonNZ has stepped up to the mark this year by filling 13 internships, up from three the previous year. It has led to some lovely success stories.  One WellingtonNZ intern, who came to us through Pathways to Employment, went on to pick up a Digital Marketing Assistant role at a digital video production company. Her WellingtonNZ experience was instrumental in helping her secure the job.

Another intern employed through the HR and marketing-focused Summer of Biz programme is now working part time at WellingtonNZ as a digital assistant while she continues her studies at Victoria University.

We’ve also had a string of international students interns with three going on to get good jobs based on their respective WellingtonNZ experiences.

WellingtonNZ is motivated to continue offering internships. We see the great benefits they bring to our working culture and we know that many other Wellington businesses do to. The key to growing internships is getting more Wellington businesses to offer them. It will create a win-win-win situation for graduates, businesses and the overall regional economy while paving the way for an enduring pathway to success for our talented graduates."

Find out more about hiring an intern through Summer of Biz and Summer of Tech.

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