Nodero develop software for larger companies. They are based in Palmerston North, and Mark Easton, Managing Director, describes a point of difference as being able to work face to face with their clients in the Manawatū region. At the time we interviewed Mark for this profile, the company had four staff who were either international graduates, or had migrated to New Zealand.
Mark has developed a close association with tertiary providers in Manawatū, including UCOL and Massey University. Nodero has offered internships to a number of students – both New Zealand born and international. The company has decided to offer internships partly as a way of giving back something to their industry and community, and because it’s a good way to meet potential staff.
Mark gave an example of one international student who applied for an internship with Nodero when she was studying at UCOL. Nodero offered her an internship, and she spent six months working with the company doing a variety of maintenance projects and support for various client projects. Mark explained that they selected tasks carefully for their intern, and allowed her time to complete tutorials and other upskilling to ensure she was able to contribute fully to the projects. They also made sure that they had good processes in place to review her work, to ensure that what went out to clients met company standards.
After the internship was completed, Nodero offered a junior developer position to the intern. She took it and worked successfully at the company for 18 months before moving on for her own personal reasons. Mark explained that the internship ‘gave us a good opportunity to gauge how she was going to be, and so we knew we wanted to offer her the job’.
Mark advises employers to make sure you are offering internships for the right reasons. He explained that you have to be prepared to support your intern and give them the right sort of work to help them develop. You can’t give them the same level of responsibility that you would give a permanent employee.
Mark also offered these suggestions to employers:
- “Make sure you understand what you’re looking for in an employee before interviewing interns. You need to find people who will potentially develop into what you need them to be.”
- “Make sure all the employment agreements are in their legal name – the same name that they have on their passport.” Mark described a time when there were issues with getting a visa for one of their international graduate staff, because the name used on the employment agreement didn’t match the passport. “It was easy to fix, but it was a something we could have avoided.”
- “We work hard to make sure all of our staff feel part of our company. Do the stuff quiz together, have an international lunch where everyone brings something from a different country, celebrate events by going out for lunch together.” Mark talked about how some international students feel isolated, and doing activities like these and helping them outside of work (e.g. lending tools) can help them feel part of the team.
- Finally, Mark offers this advice for other employers: “We’ve noticed we’re not communicating our requirements clearly sometimes. Encourage people to ask questions, and be prepared to sit with them and talk through how to tackle a challenge.”
For International Students
Mark has great advice for international students too. He says:
- “Work on your English language communication. Go to Toastmasters, go out of your way to mix with groups of kiwis and speak English with them. The more comfortable you feel with Kiwis, the more comfortable they will feel with you.”
- “Take the opportunities to demonstrate your enthusiasm for your craft. Software developers can get involved in open source development, or volunteer to help with IT for community organisations.” Mark explained that as an employer Nodero looks for people who really want to work with them, and someone who has done these kinds of activities will stand out compared to others who have not.
- Mark talked about how important it is for international interns to ask questions. He’d advise you to ask if you are not sure about an instruction, ask if you don’t understand something, and ask for help when you need it.
- And finally, Mark would encourage you to fully engage with company activities. “Join in with the quiz, bring your best dish to the shared lunch, join in when we’re celebrating events – this will help you to feel more connected.”
Facts & Figures
Each year Palmerston North welcomes 3,000 international students to the region.
Population Born Outside Palmerston North
Palmerston North has a diverse and vibrant population, with 130 cultures and 90 languages spoken.