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Summer students showcase Tauranga council internship experience

Tertiary students from across New Zealand have spent the summer soaking up sunshine and knowledge while completing summer internships and research projects at Tauranga City Council.

After 12 weeks working in teams across Council, the 24 students presented their learnings and research, highlighting the value of their contributions not only for personal growth and development, but for Council and the community.

Olivia Simmonds, a geography, environmental management, and history student at Otago University, completed her internship in the Emergency Management team.

She says she’s enjoyed the opportunity to put her academic learning into a role with a practical community focus.

“It’s been such a great experience. I’ve been helping build the community’s ability to respond to natural disasters through exploring available facilities for civil defence centres, educating the public with the team’s new virtual reality earthquake and tsunami simulation, and mapping tsunami evacuation routes including sign placements.

“Through the internship, I’ve seen the breadth of career opportunities available within my degree choice and areas of specialties that I may be interested in pursuing.”

Summer interns Emily Pilbrow and Olivia Simmonds

Sophie Cooke is studying a property and commerce degree at the University of Auckland and spent the summer interning with Council’s Property and Leasing team.

Through her work undertaking inspections of community leases on council-owned reserve land, Sophie says she now has a better understanding of how local government operates and the properties it owns.

“My role at Council has been my first real industry position and I’ve gained at a lot of knowledge that I don’t believe my university course alone would have taught me. Due to the large variety of factors that are governed by lease agreements, I was continuously learning new information and processes.

“The internship programme has confirmed to me that I enjoy working in the property field and has given me more confidence to continue my studies.”

Summer intern Sophie Cooke

Lorena Kuchenbecker was one of five undergraduate students who completed a summer research project as part of the Tauranga Moana Futures programme, a collaboration between the University of Waikato, Tauranga City Council, and Priority One.

Lorena researched international examples of council policies that incentivise green roofs. As her first time working within academic research and local government, she says being a summer research student has significantly contributed towards her personal and professional growth.

“I gained unique skills in research, policy analysis, communication, presentation, and much more. It’s an opportunity I’d recommend to anyone with an interest in exploring new and important ideas, while also being able to experience the professional work environment as a student.”

Marlene Herewini, Employment Pathways Lead at Tauranga City Council, says the summer programme of internships and research projects provides students with a broader view of the career opportunities available to them.

“These initiatives help to support and grow our future workforce and expose students to opportunities that can inform their career goals.

“The culmination of the showcase in the final week, with students presenting on their experience and research outputs, has been a fantastic opportunity to reflect on their learnings, share these with Council, and network with peers and Council staff. It’s more than just work experience, it’s a chance to broaden horizons.”

Tauranga City Council will advertise its next round of summer internships in September 2024. For more information on the summer research projects for University of Waikato students, visit the University of Waikato website.

 

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