News Item

​Learnings destined for the Solomon Islands

News 29 Nov 2017

Having never held a “real” job before, Summer Intern Theophilus (Theo) Zobule’s (pictured) nerves were rife ahead of his 10-week internship at CAF NZ.

“I am a little worried about not meeting my bosses’ expectations – I have never had a job before apart from working for my family in the Solomon Islands,” the New Zealand Pacific Scholarship recipient says.

After starting the internship, organised by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), those nerves have turned to excitement, with the second year AUT Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronics Engineering) student thrown into the working environment at CAF NZ.

In 2011, CAF signed a contract for the supply and maintenance of 57 electric units for Auckland, and one of CAF’s core objectives is to create sustainable transport systems.

The company provides new technological solutions to offer some more efficient, eco-friendly means of transport.

For Theo, the Summer Internship is an opportunity to gain practical experience, which also goes towards finishing his degree, and to learn some new ideas and skills to potentially implement when he returns to the Solomon Islands

“I really hope to gain some on-field experience linked to my field of study, and be exposed to the work environment, away from uni,” Theo says.

Even if you gain great marks for your studies, it is not enough to be work-ready and employable, he adds.

“It is mostly all theory at university, so it is great to get some practical experience … for my degree, you are required to do 800 hours interning, so the PCF Summer Internship is contributing to my degree, as well as helping me when I eventually enter the workforce.”

Theo considers himself to be very fortunate, as internships can be difficult to come by, he adds.

With two years of study in NZ remaining, Theo already has many ideas of what he would like to accomplish on his return to the Western Province.

“Most of the villages don’t have power but use generators – my island has many streams and rivers, and I would like to try and implement hydropower there.

“The Solomon Islands has access to natural resources for alternative sources of energy, such as hydro and solar, but there is a lack of skilled human resources and funding to make it happens.”

With experience gained and connections made during his Summer Internship at CAF NZ, along with his degree, Theo is confident he will have the right skills to be able to return home and implement his ambitious plan, he says.

This is the third year of the Summer Internship initiative, and it is reaping reward with interns returning home to give back do great things for their home country.

After reviewing the Summer Internship initiative, the 2017-2018 interns will receive a $1000 allowance to assist with intern related matters such as workplace attire

The extra money has been greatly received, and will go towards and unforeseen circumstances, Theo says.

Visit PCF for more information on the Summer Internship initiative and CAF NZ for more details.