As the new academic year has commenced, we said farewell to our three interns from our 2022-2023 programme. They shared their experiences of gaining industry experience and whilst working for Edison.
“I’ve learnt so much during my internship. University is the just the tip of the iceberg.” explains Sam Eardly, who recently completed a one-year internship in Edison’s design team. The exposure to clients, a breadth of projects and observing equipment in the field have proven to be powerful learning experiences for Sam and his summer intern colleagues Lucy Frengley, and Daniel O’Connor.
Understanding the client perspective is an example of valuable workplace learning for students who complete consultancy-side internships. “I had no idea about the importance of the relationship between a client and consultant,” said Lucy. “Understanding why some things are important to them, what their expectations are and how to meet and manage these has been my biggest learning.”
The breadth of projects and working with clients from generation through to distribution has been beneficial too. “I enjoyed the broad amount of experience and knowledge a consultancy offers. As an intern this is great. You get to see and try out different things, and that has helped me work out what areas I might want to work in when I graduate,” said Sam.
Seeing equipment in the field built on the intern’s academic studies. “Seeing how the equipment works in reality has helped me a lot” explains Daniel “I was lucky enough to get out on site and see some of the assets. I got to see one of the big generators at the Clyde Power Station being pulled apart which was cool. That’s been a highlight for me.”
Creating opportunities for interns to develop their skills and gain valuable industry experience required a proactive management style. From daily check-ins, to coaching via work reviews and trips in the field, the interns found Edison’s supportive environment helped them get the most out of their time. “Each day I would be given tasks to do by Martin from the Design team. He would invest the time in reviewing my work with me so I could improve. I’d never used AutoCAD before, so this was a great way for me to learn,” said Lucy. Sam loved being thrown a challenge. “I love learning and being outside my comfort zone. I think to get the most out of your internship you should be outside your comfort zone.” For Daniel he found the approachability of the team valuable “I found the team made time for me and were always happy to help. It was a really supportive environment to learn.”
Since finishing, the interns were asked to reflect on their experiences and share their advice for others considering an internship. Sam felt that interning at a consultancy is a great way to get a broad exposure to the industry, whilst learning to be flexible was a key point raised by Daniel. Lucy gave some great interview advice “Make sure you ask questions in your interview about what experience you are going to gain by joining an organisation. It’s important to remember it’s a two-way relationship.”
Tani Hansen, Edison’s People and Performance Manager believes the investment in students will benefit the electrical engineering sector for years to come. “Right now, there is a shortage of qualified Electrical Engineers and Project Managers, along with significant growth in sector. We’ve thought long and hard about how we bring new talent into the field. Combined with international recruitment of experienced professionals, we know that encouraging and investing in our next generation of engineers is key. We’ve got a responsibility to grow the size of New Zealand’s talent pool.”
In addition to the intern programme, Edison has been a proud member of the Power Engineering Excellence Trust (PEET) since 2021. PEET support the pipeline of engineering talent and we will be at their career expo at Canterbury Expo again on 27 July 2023.
Sam Eardly has started his fourth year of a Bachelor of Engineering with Hons in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). A born “tinkerer” he makes his own electronics, has an interest in electric cars and enjoys nature.
Daniel O’Connor has started his fourth year of a Bachelor of Engineering with Hons is Electrical Engineering and a minor in Power Engineering. He plays an active role in musical theatre taking on roles such as Sound Director, Musical Director and Stage Manager.
Lucy Frengley has started her third year of a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at University of Canterbury. During ski season she hits the slopes at Mt Hutt. She also enjoys sewing and singing.