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Golden weather for manufacturing summer internship

Published 26 February 2015, from

Press Release

24 February 2015

Golden weather for manufacturing summer internship

A pilot manufacturing student internship from the Summer of Tech programme is proving mutually beneficial for a Lower Hutt business and a Wellington university student.

The Summer of Tech programme, which connects tertiary students with technology companies from the Wellington region, has been extended this summer to include manufacturing companies looking to incorporate technology into their products.

Robbie Lopez, an engineering student from Victoria University, has spent his holiday working for Pertronic Industries, which designs and manufactures fire detection systems. He has found the internship experience challenging but enjoyable. "There is a steep learning curve and you have to extend yourself," he says. "It's a great opportunity to work in a real industry environment."

Electronic design engineer, Mark Hetherington, who is supervising Mr Lopez over the 10 week internship, is been delighted the results to date. "Robbie is a real high flyer and always up for a challenge."

Grant Lumsden, Sector Development Manager, Manufacturing for Grow Wellington, says the success of the pilot is extremely encouraging. "The aim with Summer of Tech is to make it easier for employers to find the right graduate and to showcase the talents of our students and help them start their careers in manufacturing."

Grow Wellington, the region's economic development agency, has been working with the programme for nine years, says Mr Lumsden.

"In order to be successful on a global stage, Wellington and New Zealand manufacturers need to develop products which use high level technology. Through these internships we are teaming up business with the very newest workforce talent."

Mr Hetherington says the Summer of Tech programme has simplified Pertronic's recruitment process. "We normally have little problem attracting students, but we have found with the Summer of Tech programme there's no need to carry out an extensive interviewing process. It saves a huge amount of time."

Mr Hetherington believes providing a good level of support in a manufacturing environment is also crucial for a student's success as an intern. "We don't believe in a high pressure environment. We want students to apply themselves, but don't expect them to necessarily have completed a project over their internship. We want to help them develop skills which will be relevant to our industry and make it a pleasurable experience for them."

Mr Lopez will begin the final year of his Bachelor of Engineering (ECEN) in March. He says he was not always focused on a career in engineering, but became drawn to its requirement of problem solving and hands-on tinkering. "There's a lot of creativity in problem solving. As a child I was always taking things apart, to my parents' dismay," he says.

Summer of Tech CEO, Ruth McDavitt, says the summer of 2014/15 has been the biggest ever, with 107 interns in paid summer jobs in local industry. "Grow Wellington's support has helped us bring industry mentors to support student with developing skills in hardware and electronics, and expand from our traditional focus on software development."

For further information please contact:

Rochelle Maroon, Communications Advisor Grow Wellington, 021 628 144 or DD 04 382 0064

  • The Summer of Tech Programme was established in Wellington in 2006.
  • Since then, 65% of students involved in the programme have gone into employment with businesses (or related businesses) in which they were interns.
  • This summer (2014/15) 90 interns were placed in the region, the best outcome yet for the programme.  A third of the interns were women, comparing favourably with the industry average of 20%.
  • This summer, the programme included a pilot involving Auckland manufacturing and ICT businesses. 15 further interns were placed in the Auckland region.
  • Through the programme, companies obtain student interns for 10 weeks between November and February.
  • Students are mainly from Victoria and Massey universities, WelTec, Whitireia, and Yoobee, who have been taking part in events in the Summer of Tech calendar since July 2014.
  • Events for prospective students have included CV clinics, site visits, speed interviews, robot building hackfests, meet and greet events, and a Women in Tech empowering event - all to prepare them for future employment.

Upcoming event
Introduction to Summer of Tech, Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce, 10 April. For further information go to