Being an intern for a year helped University of Otago Business School accounting and marketing student Erica Stevens work out what she wants from a career.
“University studies are academic until you actually put your skills to the test in an office situation,” said Erica, who spent 12 months working with Foodstuffs in Upper Hutt.
“It’s really only then that you understand your skills – what you are good at, what you enjoy, and what you want to do with your learning.”
For Erica, that has meant focusing her career on a role that taps into her people skills as well as her accountancy qualifications. The experience gave her the confidence to alter her career and study path. It set her sights on a job that didn’t confine her to the office, helping to land a plum rural banking role.
“It’s made me appreciate that work opportunities don’t come to people, you have to make them happen.”
An internship provides both the employer and the student opportunities, but the Programme is a lot more than that …
“It’s understanding about the job market, it’s helping with the real practical things that working in an office means, it’s about making contacts and getting a good reference. It’s about understanding different roles and seeing what you’ve learnt in practice. It’s pitching in to do whatever job is asked of you, and having the right frame of mind to work an eight-hour day and learn.”
And of course for the business, it’s having extra help for a specific project or busy period.
Erica completed her degree and is now working for ANZ in Gore – a great result as Erica was keen to return to Southland post-study to utilise her skills.