Internships seem like the ideal solution to a basic problem: students need work experience, while companies need labour. Where the system breaks down is when the money factor comes into play.
But for companies taking part in the Ministry of Science and Innovation's internships programme, it's a win-win on all counts; the programme aims to give future innovators a head start through experience in a commercial research environment, while businesses are reimbursed for wages paid to students.
MSI is funding 200 internships this year to the tune of $16 per hour for up to 400 hours of work upon proof of the company's payment to the intern ($6400 max.). This is paid directly to the company employing the student. MSI will also pay businesses GST on top of this ($7360 in total max.)
The programme is open to businesses of all sizes that have a focus on
research and development.
Applications close at 12pm on Tuesday September 27 – organisations will be notified about funding decisions by November 9 and need to have interns in place by December 2.
Tony Brenton-Rule, MSI project manager for the undergraduate internships programme, says the scheme plays an important role in fostering the next generation of New Zealand scientists and researchers.
“Students gain and develop technical skills and at the same time contribute to R&D projects that will deliver an economic return for companies. One of the key ways in which businesses gain a competitive edge is through the development of new and improved products,” he says.
YouDo managing director Dan Lee says the programme gave life to company research and development (R&D) projects last year that may not have got off the ground otherwise. In fact, YouDo went on to hire its intern Remy Flatt as a fulltime web developer.
“Having a student to work on these projects is very advantageous, as they can do things we wouldn’t otherwise have the time to do,” he says. “The internship programme has been successful for us – it gives students an opportunity and enables us to find new talent.”
Criteria for funding
* An R&D project must be defined for the student. General work experience is not acceptable.
* The project does not have to be novel R&D. It can be project, process or efficiency focused.
* There must be a clear benefit for the company and the student.
* The student must be studying engineering, technology or science at a New Zealand university
* The student must have completed their penultimate or final year of study towards an undergraduate degree
* The student must have the right to live and work in New Zealand to be able to participate in the programme.