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During the 2019 program, the Achiever Program successfully placed 278 business and accounting students with 131 employers, providing paid industry experience ranging over a duration of 3-12 weeks.
"It was actually impossible to not enjoy the work I did, because everyone was really nice and helpful."
Achiever Program intern Krizelle Requilman undertook a placement at fuel supplier Waitomo Group in New Zealand and found the program to be a great way to get her foot in the workforce door. We spoke to Krizelle about her internship experience:
Q: What sparked your interest in the field of accounting?
A: My mother was an accountant in the Philippines and seeing her work during my childhood got me interested in the field. I started doing accounting in high school to see if it was the right thing for me and I ended up enjoying it because of the variety of areas I could pursue. I continued to study accounting at university and discovered that I enjoyed analysis and investigation best.
Q: Why did you apply for the Achiever Program?
A: I applied for the Achiever Program to get a sneak peek of what it's like to work in the accounting industry. I thought it would provide a really valuable experience for me to not only use the practical skills and knowledge that I learnt at uni, but also provide a chance to build relationships and learn from key industry professionals.
Q: How did you prepare for your internship placement?
A: During the application process, I focused on being myself and expressing myself naturally. I think that actually made the process less nerve-wracking than I initially thought it would be.
Q: What has the recruitment process taught you?
A: It provided me with good practice for applying for graduate roles after the Achiever Program as the processes were really similar to each other. I knew what to expect and learned how to manage my nerves.
Q: What did your role entail?
A: At the start of my placement, I was given a wide variety of tasks. I helped with fuel card distributions, invoice reconciliations, and eventually took on projects that revolved around assets. As I did more asset management tasks, it then became my main focus during the placement.
Q: How did your responsibilities progress from when you first started to the end of the program?
A: At the start, account analysis, journal entries and reconciliations formed my day-to-day responsibilities. Eventually, the tasks became more detailed and complex. At one point, I had one-on-one meetings with the sales and operations teams to discuss key tasks and decisions being made.
Q: What were your expectations going into the program?
A: I was looking forward to gaining essential skills, learn about the industry and put what I had learnt at uni into practice.
Q: How has the Achiever Program matched to your expectations?
A: My colleagues helped me a lot in understanding the company's processes. There were moments where I thought, "Oh, so this is what they were trying to teach us at uni." The practical experiences allowed me to piece together the real-world applications of what I had learnt in theory.
Q: What was your favourite part about the placement?
A: It would definitely be the relationships I gained during the placement. Waitomo Group staff have been nothing but supportive and friendly. It was impossible to not enjoy the work I did, because everyone was really nice and helpful.
Q: What have you been able to take away from the placement?
A: Great connections with my colleagues. It was a good networking opportunity for me because I spoke with people about their different roles and that helped me to decide what I'd potentially like to pursue after uni.
Q: What kind of skills did you learn from your placement that you may not have had initially going into it?
A: I believe I lacked some communication skills prior to entering the program but the placement helped me work on that. Waitomo pushed me out of my comfort zone through challenging tasks like meetings and visiting the depots outside of Hamilton. I'm very thankful for it because it helped me work on my weaknesses.
Q: What do you think was one of the most important things that you've learnt from the Achiever Program?
A: Being inquisitive and never being afraid to ask questions are the two most important things I have learnt from the Achiever Program. Uni was an important time for me to grow as a person and also in my career. The Achiever Program provided me with a great chance to seize opportunities, absorb knowledge and gain a lot of hands-on work experience.