Ronald Gardebroek - Managing Director
Ronald is both a family man and a successful business man. Originally from the Netherlands, Ronald has a bachelor’s degree in commerce and he is the founder of New Zealand Internships. As the company’s director, he enjoys traveling and assisting young people in having the adventure and experience of a lifetime.
You are a co-founder of New Zealand Internships. Can you give us a brief overview of how the organization was conceived?
How to tell your company’s story…great question?! It started in 2006 when I wanted to do an internship in New Zealand myself. I approached multiple companies but nobody decided to hire me. I think the reason for this is because no one was familiar with the internship concept at the time. So instead, I decided to do my internship in the Caribbean by organising the placement with an internship agency. This is where the idea of establishing an internship agency in New Zealand came from. After graduating from university, I decided to give it a go and we have since assisted thousands of candidates from all around the world with successful internship placements in New Zealand.
You used to work in restaurant management. How and why did your career goals shift so drastically?
This was the job I did before and during my study. I loved it. Great to be working in a team and still very handy, but not what I was studying for. I was looking for a bigger challenge.
What makes New Zealand a great place for international internships?
New Zealand has a healthy economy with multi-nationals from all around the world. Besides this New Zealand is known as one of the best countries to live on Earth. New Zealand has a reputation for being a welcoming, friendly, and safe destination.
It also offers an outstanding quality of life! There are few places in the world where, within the space of one day, you can experience mountains, beautiful forests, volcanic landscapes, and stunning coastlines, all whilst spotting the unique New Zealand wildlife.
What sets New Zealand Internships apart from other intern abroad program providers?
Well I think a key one is that we are based in Auckland, so the country where our participants will be working! They come to the office and meet the team, and have a personal orientation when they first arrive. They know who we (the team) are and where we are, if ever they have any problems, and I think that personal touch really makes a difference to some of the candidates when this may be there first time travelling on their own!
We were also the first company to provide educational internships in New Zealand. This is where the internships are actually counted as part of a student’s degree or studies for the length of time they are away.
At New Zealand Internships it is not only about the internship placement; we offer more! During the placements our candidates have our ongoing support, so we don’t just place them and then see them as a number! They are also offered the possibility to join social events and weekend trips among other international interns. A great way to meet other young people from all around the world and hopefully make some friends for life! Our program is unique and offers the most to a candidate who would like to do an internship in New Zealand.
In your daily work, how do you ensure that each internship is a success?
Over the years we have established a very organised system for our interns. This starts from the moment the candidate applies for our program, through the application stage and interview process with different companies, their placement in New Zealand, to the very end of their internship. As we deal with hundreds of candidates each year, this system has to be sleek, professional, and proven to work! We are constantly tweaking it to ensure our candidates get the best possible experience from us
How does New Zealand Internships prepare and support interns?
One of our team is on hand to Skype with the participants if they have any questions even before they arrive in New Zealand. We even have ambassadors operating in Europe who candidates can contact at job fairs and things. Numerous emails are sent throughout the whole process so that the information is at their finger tips and can be referred back to. If anyone has any questions, they can simply hit reply and one of us will answer their questions at the earliest convenience. Once they arrive in New Zealand, they are offered an orientation at our office. During this orientation our team will welcome the candidate into their new environment and provide tips and recommendations about what to do, where to go, and what they need to know about their internship and New Zealand as a country.
What international experiences of your own do you draw on during your work?
As our candidates are from all around the world, I have to travel a lot. Over the years I have joined exhibitions and fairs and done presentations all around the world. I often combine this with stop overs, which give me a chance to explore whatever country I found myself in. This is certainly one of the perks of my job as these opportunities have provided me with many amazing memories and I believe it is good memories that make a person happy in life!
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
I am passionate about assisting young people to have an adventure of a lifetime.
As I mentioned, we offer our candidates a life changing experience! They leave New Zealand with not only great memories, but also new skills that they have learned, practiced, and developed in both their preferred industry and daily life. This can have a great influence on the development of a young candidate at the start of his or her career.
What is the number one thing you hope interns take home with them from their internship?
I am sorry, I don’t think I can limit that to one thing, so I know I am not answering your question directly; but, I hope that our interns leave having completed a successful internship which has improved their skills and knowledge in their preferred industry, giving them an all-important foot in the door in the job market and making many new friends, beautiful photos, and memories lasting a lifetime!