Taste of future career for interns

The Northland Regional Council’s summer internship programme – a valuable opportunity for students to gain real life work experience – is coming to a close for another year as its young participants head back to their tertiary studies around New Zealand.

The council has been offering the roughly three-month long internship programme for more than 20 years and with many of the typically young participants hailing from Te Taitokerau, says it is a great way to give back to the region’s communities.

However, the benefits flow both well as the students gaining valuable practical experience across a wide variety of the council’s work, some also return to the council in fulltime roles once they have finished their studies.

“Council is pleased to be able to offer this opportunity which will hopefully encourage some of the participants to return to council once they’ve completed their studies to enrich the region and its people with their knowledge and skills,” the council’s Chair Geoff Crawford says.

Chair Crawford says the value of the programme is reflected in the fact that it has enjoyed the support of successive Chairs, including himself, for many years.

Council People and Culture Manager Beryl Steele says the council hosted 17 interns over this summer, five of whom were recipients of the council’s Tū i te ora Scholarships. (The scholarships – which are now open for applications – each include $4000 to assist with study costs, plus paid full-time work experience with NRC over summer.)

This summer’s crop of interns included Charly-Jade Cairns, 21, from Westport in the South Island, who is currently living in Whangarei and studying at NorthTec ,and Cory Mackay, 20, from Whangarei Heads, who is about to start his third year of a Bachelor of Science degree at Auckland University.

Charly-Jade is about to start her second year of study and she’s currently working towards an Environmental Management Level 6 diploma. Next year she hopes to return and study for a Bachelor of Applied Science in Biodiversity Management.

She started her coastal science internship in late November and finished recently on 16 February.

Her time with council was spent doing dune surveys and litter surveys on the coast.

She says she would definitely recommend the internship programme to others.

“It has shown me a lot of what I’m interested in.” “It has been a good practical experience and is a lot different to studying.”

Charly-Jade says she had worked independently for much of her time with the council which she had enjoyed.

Cory spent his time working with the council’s compliance monitoring staff, mainly around the region’s marinas.

He too would recommend internship and says he had very much enjoyed the opportunities to work outside and explore what Northland had to offer.

He says the experience had been a good indicator of the type of work someone could get into after completing a degree.

He too started work with the council in late-November last year and finished recently.

Beryl Steele says the internship programme is a valuable opportunity for students to gain real life experience where they can apply what they have learnt.

“A number of interns have gone on to subsequently apply for – and secure – jobs with council so for us the benefits go both ways as it’s a valuable pipeline for future employees.”

Even when interns’ careers took them to other employers, the council was privileged to be able to invest the time and effort involved to help them gain additional skills that would stand them in good stead.

Want to know more about a career with Northland Regional Council?Visit:

Interns at Ruakaka Beach.

Interns Cory Mackay and Charly-Jade Cairns at Ruakākā Beach.