How Aastha found her career calling

Aastha Puri It's a tough world for university-leavers, with "experience required" entry-level positions and unpaid internships lurking around every corner. For many, the transition from study into the workplace can be a real uphill battle. That's why Be. Accessible's Be. Employed Internship programme, directed by Lesley Slade and managed by Jake Mills and Sarah Mitchell, was brought into being: a four- to 16-week placement with an excellent organisation, part-time or full-time, and fully paid through the Ministry of Social Development.

For Aastha Puri, this internship was the exact bridge she needed to pursue the career of her dreams. Hailing from Auckland, Aastha moved down to Dunedin with an interest in the health sector.

She graduated from the University of Otago with a Bachelor of Science with Honours, majoring in psychology. Throughout her degree, Aastha was looking for paid work to gain knowledge and experience in her chosen field.

"Voluntary work was easy to find, but I was frustrated with unsuccessful job application outcomes when I applied for paid mental-health related work. I also lacked confidence as a new graduate in finding a job related to my field."

After being told about the Be. Employed internship programme through the university’s Disability Information and Support Centre, she immediately applied for the programme and sent in her CV.

"At this stage I did not understand which avenues I could pursue, but Jake was good at targeting my skills and expertise in the field in order to establish a few job options for the internship. He also helped me polish my CV to standards so that it would appeal to employers."

"Overall, I did not find the process of getting linked to an internship through Be. Employed difficult … There is some effort involved from the student's side in terms of actively applying, working through the CV and preparing for an interview. However, there’s lovely members of the team to provide assistance with every stage of the process"

"Jake was extremely persistent with networking and got me an interview with Mirror HQ", which is a mental health team that provides clinical care services for young people experiencing coexisting Substance Use & Mental Health Problems."

"It was a bridge to the start of my career in Psychology. It has really helped me build my confidence as a student entering the working field."

"I was connected to a lovely supervisor at Mirror HQ, who is willing to support me beyond the internship in being my referee for any future prospects."

For businesses seeking to diversify their workforce, it's easy to get involved. An email gets the ball rolling and the Be. Employed team will take it from there, searching through the applicant pool to find a perfect match. The process is simple, and involves a quick interview with the student before a meeting is facilitated with employer and intern. It may take a few tries with different prospective interns, but it's crucial to take the time and find a good fit. That is when the magic happens!