From Intern to Trailblazer: UTS Alum’s Journey at Westpac
Have you ever wondered what can set people apart during the recruitment process? Or, how an intern can transform into a thriving professional?
I recently talked with Natalie Gibbons, Graduate Programs Manager at Westpac, about UTS alum Srishti Suri’s recruitment journey. Srishti was a UTS Bachelor of IT student who landed a placement at Westpac and went on to be hired for the Technology graduate program. Fast forward a few years and Srishti now works as a UI Framework Engineer in Westpac’s tech space.
In this interview, we dive into what sets people apart during the recruitment process, what it’s like to work with UTS Graduates, and how organisations like Westpac engage with them.
So, Natalie, it’s great to chat to you. To start, can you tell me what made Srishti stand out during the recruitment process?
I first met Srishti in 2019, when she was applying to the 2020 Technology Graduate Program. She stood out to me for a few reasons, the first being that she was extremely curious. I was impressed that she would ask so many questions not just about the grad program experience, but life beyond the grad program. I could tell she was thinking about this opportunity as a long-term investment, which is pleasing to see.
She is also extremely collaborative – I’ve seen her work with many individuals outside of her day-to-day job, and have also had the pleasure in working with her – and this is a great trait to see in someone as they progress in their career.
What value has Srishti added to Westpac’s contribution to diversity in tech?
Srishti is a huge advocate for STEM, and particularly women in STEM. It’s been great to see Srishti get involved in so many external and internal initiatives since joining the grad program and she is a valued mentor to so many of our grads that have followed in her footsteps.
I can see Srishti has gone from intern to graduate to valued employee at Westpac. Does this talent pipeline happen often?
Absolutely, Srishti is just one of many individuals that have gone on from a student placement to have successful and prolonged careers with us. We place our summer intern applicants through the exact same recruitment process as that of our graduate applicants as we want to ensure that any summer intern hires are ultimately positioned to transition to our Grad Program and beyond, dependent on performance, of course.
We appreciate that not every summer intern applicant will want to stay on and pursue further career opportunities with us. However, we design our programs to ensure that summer interns have enough exposure to our business to feel that they can make an informed decision, if presented with an offer to transition on to our Grad Program and beyond.
In your experience, what is it about UTS students that make them good candidates?
If I look collectively at recent UTS alumni, I can say they all are clearly aligned to our company values. They demonstrate behaviours of being helpful and ethical. They have shown they are capable of leading change. They can also perform in their role and have the ability to keep things simple. In addition, they are extremely motivated and driven individuals who want to help create better futures for our customers, our company and themselves.
How do you reach out to UTS students to let them know about your programs?
We have a great relationship with UTS and the UTS Careers team. Through regular communication, we are able to inform the team of when we are looking to recruit and then plan our engagement strategy.
We have participated in many of the events that UTS Careers offers to us employers – from both in-person and virtual career fairs to panel events, we’ve done them all! More recently, we have participated in the ‘Pitch your Program’ series and a networking event as part of ‘TechFest’, both of which were really valuable. In addition to this, we are fortunate to have many UTS alumni working at Westpac, so we make sure to feature them within our events so they can showcase their experiences first hand to students.
Do you have any advice for other recruiters looking to hire UTS students or graduates?
Make sure to connect with the UTS Careers team, to fully understand the suite of opportunities available to you an employer to connect with UTS students. It takes time to build these partnerships, but investing now will absolutely pay off in the long term.
It was great to hear all about Srishti’s success at Westpac. We love hearing from our industry partners about some of the things our alumni are doing in the workforce. It was also great to get an overview of how the talent pipeline at an organisation like Westpac functions, and their experience hiring UTS students.
If you’re a student interested in opportunities at Westpac, Natalie and her team are now recruiting for Westpac’s summer internship programs. Or, if you work in industry, and are interested in connecting with UTS Students, discover the opportunities available to you.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Nicole Woll is the Project Officer at UTS Careers, with a background in marketing and project management. She loves talking with UTS students and alumni, finding out what makes them tick and re-telling their career stories to inspire other students. Outside the office, she is a dog enthusiast, a wave watcher and is always chasing her next travel adventure!
Graduate Programs Manager at Westpac