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Politics student turns DCC internship into summer job

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 8:22am

Image of Will CosgriffAn email advertising a Humanities internship programme may have been overlooked by many students, but for Will Cosgriff, it was the start of a whole new academic adventure.

HUMS301 Humanities Internship Practicum enables students to gain work experience whilst earning points towards their Otago degree.

Will was placed in the Corporate Policy team at the Dunedin City Council, where he worked for eight hours a week over Semester Two in 2016. His primary responsibility was producing a report and subsequent presentations on the use of pesticides by Council workers and their contractors. Much of the work surrounded the use of glyphosate and the council’s response to the WHO’s recent classification of the pesticide as ‘probably carcinogenic’.

Another internship project related to the proposed development of the 5-star hotel in a Filleul St carpark. Will contributed to the then-confidential project through assessing demand for such a hotel in Dunedin using Statistics NZ details about tourist numbers and growth rates.

Having impressed his mentor, on the completion of his internship Will was offered a summer job with the DCC. He is now working with his mentor to implement the recently adopted Environment Strategy, which includes analysing and measuring the success of the DCC’s Economic Development Strategy. Not one for taking it easy, Will is also completing a Politics paper at Summer School.

It was a busy semester, but with the support of the DCC and the University, Will didn't find it too hard to juggle his responsibilities. “The DCC has been flexible about my hours of work and I was able to access podcasts for a couple of classes I had to miss due to internship commitments.”

To students considering taking the internship themselves, Will’s advice is to do it! “There are interns working in a wide range of DCC departments so it’s definitely not just for people interested in policy,” Will says. “It has been an interesting experience getting to see the inner workings of local government, including sitting in on a council meeting just prior to the election.”

From sitting in a lecture theatre one hour to rubbing shoulders with the Mayor in the DCC kitchen the next - just another day in the life of an Otago intern!