Honing professional skills before even graduating and trying out career options were a couple of the benefits of an internship, according to the co-winners of the inaugural PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) internship Excellence Prize.
Law and Arts student Amelia Mcluskie and Bachelor of Arts Media and Communication student Laura Zonnevylle collected their awards and $1000 in prize money at an event at the University of Canterbury (UC) last night.
The prize was introduced this year to recognise outstanding students.
Mcluskie worked for ChristchurchNZ, the city’s economic development and promotion agency, for three months earlier this year. Her role, in the agency’s Food and Fibre Team, involved researching STEM industry engagement and assisting with a needs analysis of the food and fibre sector in Canterbury.
“Across my internship I learnt an immense amount. Having next to no knowledge about this sector before beginning the internship, I was surprised to learn about the projected demand in the sector and about the amazing innovation currently going on in Canterbury,” she says.
“I was able to put my research, report writing and communication skills to the test in a supportive environment and contribute to relevant projects. I also learnt an immense amount from my supervisors who had a vast range of knowledge.”
Zonneyvlle worked for Antony & Mates Digital Content and Advisory, where she created content in the form of videos, interviews, livestreams, and graphic posts for a community-focused Instagram and Facebook page.
She says PACE was “one of the most valuable things I have done during my time at university”.
“It was reiterated to me that it’s important to be adaptable and confident in a work setting, as different projects or unexpected events will require you to utilize your skills in different ways. I also gained an understanding of what kind of workplace I would ideally like to work in – it was great to work with such a small and personable team who were always helping each other out.”
The experience will help Zonneyvlle with her future career decisions. “I have always wanted to study media in some form, but my passion is quite broad so it was important for me to experience working in at least one area. The PACE internship has definitely given me a better idea of what direction I would like to head in after I graduate at the end of this year.”
“It has helped me gain more confidence in applying what I have learnt in university to a professional setting. Knowing that there is so much that I will need to continue to learn on the job, I feel a lot better about applying for jobs fresh out of university as I have seen that my degree is just the basis of my skills and knowledge.”
“Overall, I feel a lot more prepared to apply for jobs than I did at the start of this year.”
The PACE programme is an opportunity for UC students to intern with local businesses and community organisations on real-world projects, gaining valuable knowledge, skills and work experience that will help prepare them for future careers.
The PACE internship programme is based in UC’s College of Arts but students from other disciplines across the university can apply.