ChannelLife NZ - The value of internships

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The value of internships

As the ACE Diploma students prepare to take up their internships, The Channel spoke to two of the companies that will be employing them. What do they have in store for their interns and what will both parties get out of the arrangement?
 Now that the inaugural ACE Diploma in Computer Technology has come to a close, the next step for ACE students Shayna Bryers and Michael Lovell is to begin their working internships at Microsoft and Axon Computer Systems Ltd respectively. At the time of writing, Lovell still had a couple of exams to finish before he could begin working at Axon, and Human Resources Manager for Axon, Dianne Dumper, did not expect him to begin until mid-June. But the company was eagerly awaiting his arrival and already has a hectic schedule planned for him from day one.

“He will go through an induction process. It takes about three months,” began Dumper. “For the first couple of weeks he will be in rigorous training mode, learning our internal systems, our customers, that sort of thing. And then he’ll be introduced to the clients as he moves through in those weeks.”

Although Axon has taken on tertiary-level interns in the past, the ACE Diploma in Computer Technology has given the company the opportunity to sponsor an intern from the very beginning of their studies. “We were consulted as to what they were going to do upfront,” explained Dumper. “What [ACE] didwas they showed us what they were actually going to do as part of the course and asked if that would suit us – and it did suit us quite well with the content.”

According to Dumper, Axon appreciates the value that an intern with the appropriate qualifications can bring to a company when integrated into its culture. Also, she feels the ACE Diploma demonstrates that the student has what it takes to thrive and survive in a demanding environment. “A lot of what you need is the soft skills. The technical skills can always be taught.”

And having previously had Lovell on board for a week earlier in the year, Dumper is confi dent that he will prove to be an asset to the team at Axon. “We think he will fit our culture and he should fi t in really well,” she said.

By now, Bryers will also have begun her working internship at Microsoft, with her scheduled start date being June 2nd. And similarly to Lovell, it looks like she has a full diary to look forward to. “Shayna will be part of our Services team, working for a year as an associate technical account manager. She will help deliver premier support services to our large corporate customers,” began Sally Doherty, Director of Human Resources for Microsoft New Zealand.

Over her fi rst few weeks, Bryers will have a buddy watching out for her while she undertakes some role-specifi c training and a new orientation program for Microsoft employees.

For Doherty, the value in taking on interns lies in the fresh thinking that they bring to any working environment, not to mention that the students that ACE rears are perfectly suited to Microsoft’s requirements. “As a Microsoft Gold Certifi ed Partner for Learning Solutions, ACE produces students of a high standard. ACE delivers world-class technical training using Offi cial Microsoft Learning Products taught by Microsoft Certifi ed Trainers, leading to internationally recognised certifications,” she explained.

Given that the IT industry is still in the throes of a skills shortage, as Doherty explained, internships are a logical way for IT companies to ensure that they get the people they need into the positions they require. It’s also a way of encouraging students into the industry and allowing them to get a feel for their future career at an early stage in their studies. “Having an intern program offers an incentive to during their training. It’s an opportunity forus to offer employment for 12 months, as well as for students to get a feel for the workforce for a year before they commit to further study or an alternative employer. It is also a potential path to permanent employment.”

And much like Axon’s experience with Lovell, Bryers has already had the opportunity to wow week’s worth of experience back in mid-February. “We have no doubt Shayna will fi t in and rise to any challenges. We went through a careful selection process that allowed us to get to know Shayna, and for her to get to know us,” said Doherty.

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