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Western Bay Summer Students: Surveying, sampling and social media

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Creating maps, taking water samples and filming TikToks with the Mayor are just some of the tasks Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s Summer Students have been keeping themselves busy with.

The Council’s Summer Student Programme offers an opportunity for students to get valuable hands-on experience, an insight into what Council does and a taste of potential career paths they could follow.

This summer, 11 paid positions were filled, assisting the building services, compliance, communications, water services, library, emergency management and information technology teams.

For most of the successful students, it is their first paid employment in their chosen fields of study.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for both the students and Council,” says Head of People and Capability Darren Crowe.

“The next generation will play a huge role in creating new solutions that make our communities’ lives better. Having these great young minds on board brings different insights and energy.

“Whether it’s responding to climate change, helping deliver affordable housing or growing authentic Te Tiriti based relationships, as a Council we’re committed to making the Western

Bay the best it can be, and our summer students are helping us to address the important issues facing our community, while hopefully inspiring them to pursue a career with Council when they finish their studies.”

Paris Allum, who has just completed a Bachelor of Science with the University of Waikato majoring in Environmental Science, has been helping out the Compliance Support Team.

“I have been amazed by how much goes on behind the scenes at the Council. There are so many people who are passionate and working hard to make the community a better place for everyone in it – there are so many different areas all working towards one goal and I think that’s really cool,” says Paris.

“I would definitely recommend it to other students. It provides you with new skills, introduces you to new people and gives you an insight into how many different jobs there are out there for your degree. It has eased some of my worries about what I want to do in the future as you learn there are more opportunities than you realise.”

Zac Hemmings, who is halfway through a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with Honours at the University of Canterbury, and Daniel Guilford, who has just finished his first year of a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Waikato, have both joined the Water Services Team for the summer.

“Most days I’ve been getting out in the field doing sampling and surveying. It’s really interesting and a great opportunity to get an introduction to so many fields of work that are available after graduation,” says Daniel.

Zac says he is enjoying applying the skills he’s learnt at university and being able to work on real-life projects.

“When you’re studying full time, it can be hard to see how what you’re learning can actually be applied in a real-life scenario. Working with engineers who specialise in water services is interesting as I have studied the processes and done sampling before, but the capital works side is different altogether. It will set me up well to continue my studies, with experience in what it’s like to work as a civil engineer.”

In the Communications and Engagement Team, Brooke Wilson has been busy behind a camera making council staff TikTok famous.

“Every day has been so different, going out into the community, creating social media posts, editing, and basically anything to do with creating content,” says Brooke, who is studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Otago, majoring in Marketing and Accounting.

“It’s so valuable, learning about how digital marketing systems are used in real life, and the strategy and branding that happens behind the scenes. It’s been super interesting and beneficial.”

For Ashleigh Keach, who is gaining experience with Council’s Building Services team, it holds “special significance” as it is her first job related to her studies, having just graduated from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies. Next year she will return to Wellington to start her Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning.

“The practical experience I’m acquiring here is immensely valuable. University has undoubtedly equipped me with knowledge, but the on-the-job learning at the Council surpasses it,” says Ashleigh.

“I highly recommend it. Not only do you acquire invaluable knowledge, but it’s also your gateway into the professional arena. Earning while gaining essential experience for personal growth is a fantastic perk. And the opportunity to forge lasting friendships and establish connections with seasoned professionals is invaluable. These connections can play a crucial role in your journey ahead.”

Hayley Grieve, Michael Kean, Grace Camplin and Melanie Arron have also been employed by Council as Customer and Library Services Summer Students, while Matthew Adlam is working in IT Support and Jordan Sadlier in Emergency Management.

For those interested in future Summer Student opportunities, Western Bay of Plenty District Council advertises the positions in October each year, with the programme running from November to February.

Related: Western Bay joins taskforce to get young people in work 

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