New internship programme Summer of Biz launches for HR and marketing graduates

SilverStripe chief marketing officer Nicole Williams and Victoria business student Jasmine Rowland are helping to drive ...
CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ

SilverStripe chief marketing officer Nicole Williams and Victoria business student Jasmine Rowland are helping to drive the Summer of Biz programme, which connects Wellington employers with HR and marketing students.

It is time business graduates are seen as more than coffee-getters and photocopiers, one Wellington student says.

Victoria University business student Jasmine Rowland wants graduates to be taken seriously, and is pushing that message to employers around the country.

To achieve this, she is part of the organising committee for a Wellington business internship programme called Summer of Biz.

The aim of the programme is to connect Wellington employers with human resources and marketing students for paid summer jobs.

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However, employers must agree to mentor the students, and help with their development, rather than giving them jobs such as photocopying, or fetching coffee.

Rowland said some employers did not see the value in employing university graduates.

"I see the problem. I know the problem is about to hit me, and I want to help others pass this hurdle too," she said.

About 110 students had signed up to the Summer of Biz programme so far.

The programme gives students the opportunity to attend workshops  throughout the year to help learn practical skills.

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Then, at the end of the year, students would apply for a paid summer internship with a Wellington business.

Rowland signed up because she became aware of how difficult it could be getting a job in HR straight out of university, she said.

"Some people have to go into admin for a couple of years beforehand. It's a real shame."

Often students had theoretical skills, but not practical skills that would enable them to "hit the ground running" once they secured a job, Rowland said.

SilverStripe chief marketing officer Nicole Williams – one of the lead industry people behind the programme – said the programme was a two-sided coin.

"We are creating an opportunity for the people of Wellington, for talented university graduates … while also acknowledging there is a gap between the theory at uni and the practical side."

Graduates contributed a lot to the workforce through their ideas and enthusiasm, Williams said.

However, often they had knowledge without context, and that gap was the area the workshops would target, she said.

Summer of Biz is described as the "younger sibling" of the Summer of Tech, which connects technology graduates with businesses for paid internships that could lead to jobs.

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (Wreda) chief executive Chris Whelan said it supports the programmes because it was an investment in Wellington workforce development.

"Because it's business-led, we know it's meeting a genuine need, creating opportunities for local graduates, and strengthening Wellington businesses."

 - Stuff

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