Date posted: 12/07/2019

What’s an Achiever Programme internship really like?

We speak to students Krizelle Requilman and Courtney Creighton about their Achiever Programme internship experience, and how it’s helped to prepare them for careers in finance and accounting.

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Courtney and Krizelle are studying at the University of Waikato New Zealand in a Bachelor of Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services, and Bachelor of Business Analysis courses, respectively.

They were looking for a way to gain valuable workforce experience to pair with their studies and discovered the CA ANZ Achiever Programme. The Programme places tertiary students in paid internship positions at CA ANZ's network of participating employer organisations.

Courtney and Krizelle both applied and ultimately were placed as accounting interns at NZ fuel supplier, Waitomo Petroleum Ltd.

The application process

Designed to be similar to graduate recruitment processes, the application process includes an online form, cognitive testing, video interview, attending an assessment centre or phone interview (depending on your state/region); and a face-to-face employer interview for successful candidates.

"It was initially nerve-wracking but I think it's essential that the process is really detailed because it did help find a well-matched company for me. It provided me with good practice for applying for graduate roles after the Achiever Programme as the processes were really similar to each other. I knew what to expect and learned how to manage my nerves," Krizelle says.

For Courtney, the recruitment process taught her to always aim to put her best foot forward.

"I learnt how important it is to keep a positive attitude and try your best. It's important to make sure you read all the role requirements clearly and have good references lined-up if needed," Courtney says.

The Achiever Programme experience

In terms of day-to-day tasks, Courtney worked with the finance team, providing admin and project support. She also got the chance to see the customer-facing side of the business, taking part in a 'truck day'.

"I spent one day in the truck with a driver. That was really good because it gave me a diverse experience and broad understanding of the operations management in the petroleum industry. Then I also got to learn about supply chains, where fuel comes from and how to transport it.," Courtney says.

For Krizelle, her tasks initially revolved around data entry, invoice reconciliations and transaction reviews as an introduction to the company and its accounting system. Eventually, she began taking on asset management responsibilities.

"The Achiever Programme was great because it gave me an opportunity to see how accountants work in other industries."
Courtney Creighton Student & Achiever Programme Intern

"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," Krizelle says.

As part of the Achiever Programme, students are paired with mentors within their host organisation to help show them the ropes and monitor their progress. Krizelle and Courtney each had senior team members as coaches and reported to Waitomo CFO, Leanne Milligan.

"Being able to work with Leanne, and hear about her experience and have her share her knowledge was incredible," Courtney says.

How it's shaped their future

Krizelle says one of the best parts about the programme was gaining insight into how an organisation works and the connections she made.

"My favourite part about the placement would be the relationships I gained. Waitomo Petroleum staff have been nothing but supportive and friendly. 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," she says.

For Courtney, she credits the Achiever Programme with providing her a clearer idea of the career opportunities she could have as an accountant.

"The Achiever Programme was great because it gave me an opportunity to see how accountants work in other industries. I really want to work somewhere like Waitomo which isn't primarily accounting, but as a CA. This opportunity showed me that was a possibility."

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