Liliana and Alex new graduates

Our two new graduates think we're cool

Our two new graduates think we're cool

Last updated 6 March 2017
Last updated 6 March 2017

We have recently taken on two university graduates under our Graduate Development Programme. We started the programme in 2015 to contribute to the career development of high potential graduates.

Alex Penrose and Liliana Rabel were selected from 150 applicants after an intense and comprehensive application process. They both graduated from Victoria University of Wellington (Victoria) – Alex with a LLB and a BCom (Majoring in Public Policy) and Liliana with a BA and BCom in International Relations, Political Science, International Business and Marketing.

Alex has joined our Organisational Performance team and Liliana our Implementation Design team, where they will both spend a year before moving to a new area of the business for the second year of the programme.

So just a few weeks into their roles, what do they think of TEC?

“It’s pretty cool, the CE sits out on the floor with everyone else,” says Alex. “We met him on our second day and he told us that if we see a problem we shouldn’t be afraid to change it.”

“I’ve always looked at the state sector as just a policy shop, but working here is almost like working in a commercial business. Lots of stuff gets done and things get turned around really quickly.”

Liliana is impressed with people’s openness and willingness to embrace change.

“We are encouraged to put our ideas forward and they are listened to. The mission and values are really clear, everyone knows why they are here and people seem to really care about tertiary education,” she says.

Pathways to university

For Liliana, going to Victoria was a natural, given that both her parents work there. After graduating she found full-time employment at the university and wasn’t really on the look-out for a new job when she noticed the advert for the graduate internship.

“I thought it would give me a taste of the public sector, what type of roles there are and where my skills might fit in,” she says.

Alex enrolled at Victoria because he wanted to leave home and he had always had an interest in politics and government. He was looking on the Vic Careers website when he noticed the graduate internship.

“Last year I did an internship at MBIE in policy. I wanted to get away from policy and move toward implementing policy. It’s getting exciting now, with lots of things being put on my desk. I am starting to get a perspective of what TEC does.”

Views on the tertiary sector

Alex thinks more students should be encouraged to consider apprenticeships and trades, rather than enrolling in university.

“High school students often don’t have the knowledge or resources to know what career path they want to get into. I think this leads to people being encouraged into a field of study that’s not a good fit for them. For example, when I did Law at Vic, there were 800 students in first year, and only 300 in second year. That seems like a waste of everyone’s time.”

Being both a student and an employee at Victoria gave Liliana a broader perspective. She says the university has a dynamic environment and is facing many challenges. She thinks there are opportunities for it to be more innovative around how it caters to older students, delivers learning and keeps up to date with changes in technology.

“Studies show that you learn more face-to-face than online and smaller class sizes are better. When I did a short course of study overseas during my degree, I learned so much more being in a class of 20 because we were all expected to put up our hands and ask questions.  Back at Vic, sitting in a lecture hall with 300 students, no one puts up their hands – there’s little engagement. There’s certainly room for improvement and that’s why I’m so excited to be at the TEC. Everyone here seems really passionate about improving the current system and I’m looking forward to being part of that evolution.”