After 10-weeks of learning new skills and gaining professional workplace experience, the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) 2016-17 Summer Internship has come to a close.
Fifteen New Zealand Scholars from the Pacific and Timor Leste were hand-picked for the second year of this initiative, after an intensive selection process.
The scholars were placed in various organisations around NZ, and for the first time, one scholar Sevefaiga Manu, was placed in her home country Samoa, at the NZ High Commission.
It has been a steep learning curve for the scholars, who at the recent Summer Internship Final Review in Auckland, say their mindsets and expectations have been somewhat altered after being out in the “real world”.
For Simon Hare, a Mechanical Engineering Technology student at Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), his time at Pacific Engineering Projects Ltd has been eye-opening.
As hoped, the 27-year-old has gained experience in project management and procurement, as well as project design.
By learning various skills, and seeing what opportunities there are to use his knowledge and degree, Simon has widened his view about what he might do when he returns home to Papua New Guinea.
New Zealand Scholars are bonded to their home country for two years following the completion of their studies.
Meanwhile, fellow Mechanical Engineering major 22-year-old Jeremiah Tauiliili from AUT has enjoyed his time at Watercare, in Auckland.
A highlight for Jeremiah is being part of a big project, such as the Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) upgrade, and learning how he could practically apply knowledge he has learnt in his degree.
“The internship has taught me a lot, it has been a great opportunity to get out there to communicate and interact with other engineers, and with different professions, while extracting as much as I can from them,” Jeremiah says.
His goal remains the same when he returns to Samoa, and that is to give back to his community and to develop areas where the country lags behind.
He has a newfound confidence to achieve this goal following the internship, and he is more comfortable entering the workplace now.
Programme Development Manager for PCF Leaupepe Taala Ralph Elika says both intern and host agency feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“The initiative continues to gain momentum and grow, and it is starting to reap reward, with the first cohort all now employed in their respective home countries now,” Ralph says.
“We are expanding the internships next summer, with more organisations coming on board as they are seeing the impact internships are having on the scholar, and in turn their home country, but also the host agency – it is a chance for organisations to learn about the Pacific, and its people and what they have to offer.”
On behalf of PCF, Ralph has thanked all host agencies involved with the 2016-17 Summer Internship, who have helped make it a huge success including: Auckland Council, Nelson City Council, Wellington City Council, Beca, Watercare, Pacific Engineering Projects Ltd, Waitemata District Health Board, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Engineering, Pacific Trade and Invest, CAF International, and the NZ High Commission in Samoa.
Next month, PCF is hosting the North and South Island Pacific Island Alumni Network Fono events.
Over 500 NZ Scholars from the Pacific and Timor Leste will come together for weekends of fellowship, networking, guest speaker presentations and dialogue around important issues affecting the Pacific.
Applications for the 2017-18 Summer Internship will open at the Fono.
It is a prime opportunity to enquire about the expanding PCF initiative, with the PCF team and past Summer Interns on hand to address any concerns or questions you have about being a part of the 2017-18 cohort.
North Island Fono – Connecting regional leaders for the future
Where: The University of Auckland
When: March 11-12, 2017
Who: NZ Scholarship Pacific and Timor Leste Alumni students from the University of Auckland, AUT University, Manukau Institute of Technology, Unitec, Massey University – Albany and Palmerston North, Waikato University, Victoria University.
South Island Fono – Connecting regional leaders for the future
Where: The University of Canterbury
When: March 17-19, 2017
Who: NZ Scholarship Pacific and Timor Leste Alumni students from Otago University, Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury.
Scholars should contact their International Student Officer (ISO) for more information on attending the Fono.
(Main picture caption: Simon Hare with the Pacific Engineering Projects Ltd team.)