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Dunedin businesses and students benefit from internships

Enterprise Dunedin’s business internship programme makes it easy for businesses to take on a tertiary student over their summer break, creating employment and economic growth in the city.

Enterprise Dunedin launches the programme this week for the 2018-19 summer. It helps fill skills gaps in companies and keeps talented students in Dunedin.

An event on 19 September will start the process of matching University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic students with Dunedin companies wishing to take on summer interns.

Enterprise Dunedin Business Development Advisor Chanel O’Brien said the programme is an easy way for growing Dunedin businesses to link to students.

“It allows businesses to take the chance to employ a talented person in a cost effective, low risk way. Businesses are more likely to take on an intern if their risks are reduced. It allows the city to retain the talent the tertiary sector produces, meets business needs, and creates jobs in Dunedin,'' Ms O’Brien said.

“The programme is showing students there are jobs for them in Dunedin and encouraging them to stay,” she said.

Kylie Robinson, Managing Director of Igtimi Limited, a Dunedin company which specialises in GPS telemetry and communication solutions for the elite sports industry, said, “We are a growing business, and we need talented people to help us develop our product range. Enterprise Dunedin’s business internship programme provides a sound platform for us to meet our business needs without commercial risk. The internship programme is one way we can access top local talent to help us grow. The interns we’ve had add another dimension to our work and we have employed several young people who have proven to be invaluable to our business”.

Jackie Dean, Manager of the University of Otago Career Development Centre, says, “We are delighted to be again involved in the promotion of these business internships. We appreciate the continued involvement of the dedicated group of employers who support this programme and look forward once more to introducing them to the talented students from Otago University who take part in this valuable programme.”

“Students who take part in this programme not only gain practical experience of a real recruitment process but, in showcasing their skills and experiences to employers, have a good chance of picking up highly relevant work experience by securing one of this year’s internships. Some of these internships may then lead to full time employment with the same employer.”

In 2017-18, 48 interns participated, 24 were employed after their internship, and 15 new positions were created. Nearly 90% of businesses that took part in 2017-18 were satisfied with the quality of interns.

More than 100 businesses have participated in the programme since its inception in 2009 as a partnership between Enterprise Dunedin, information technology companies, and tertiary education providers. It has placed 374 interns with Dunedin companies, resulting in 240 jobs.

While the programme started with an ICT focus, 13 sectors are now involved, including ICT, biotech and health technologies, education and research, creative, primary production, engineering and niche manufacturing.

Funding is available to help businesses cover the cost of an intern’s remuneration.

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