Canterbury students tackle career options as interns for the Crusaders

Students at the University of Canterbury are getting valuable, real-life experience working for one of the country’s leading rugby teams, the Crusaders.

This year, nine interns have been working for the franchise as part of the University of Canterbury and Crusaders Internship Programme.

Most of the students are in their final year of a Bachelor of Sport Coaching degree – the only one of its kind in New Zealand – but one is studying Journalism and two are studying towards postgraduate degrees in Sport Science.

The student interns have taken on different projects for the Crusaders, such as performance analysis, strength and conditioning training, event management and communications and media work.

They’ve worked for the team for more than 120 hours this year on top of their regular studies, including helping out at every Crusaders home game.

Cameron Clement, 21, who is in his final year of a Bachelor of Sport Coaching majoring in Sport Leadership and Management with a minor in Marketing, has been working on digital content creation, analytics and event management for the Crusaders as part of the internship programme. “I think the biggest thing for me was that I don’t feel like an intern, I feel like I can add value to the organisation which is really awesome.”

He started in February this year and has been given opportunities to live score games on social media and upload content to the Crusaders website. He prepares reports about the Crusaders’ digital platforms and presents them to the senior management team, allowing the organisation to review how successful posts have been, and detect social trends.

“Any hands-on experience is definitely extremely valuable,” he says. “This experience has helped me narrow down what I want to do as a career. I’ve worked with different software and gained people skills, working with different stakeholders and things like that.

“Getting an opportunity to work for a globally known organisation, which I’ve always been a big fan of, is pretty amazing. My advice to other students who want to be involved is to just be yourself, I know the Crusaders pick their interns based on who you are as a person.”

UC Sport Coaching Lecturer Piet van Hasselt says the internships provide students with meaningful industry experience.

“Our students learn in an area that’s relevant to their interests and where they can gain the most valuable experience.  It helps them put into practice what they’ve learned in an academic sense.

“The students really make the most of their opportunities. They also learn about dealing with people and navigating working relationships and how to communicate effectively and it gives them some really constructive feedback.”

Crusaders Chief Executive Colin Mansbridge says the organisation is fortunate to have the support of UC undergraduate and postgraduate students through the intern programme.

“The enthusiasm and fresh perspectives they bring every year are a real asset to the Crusaders and we’re pleased to be able to give them an opportunity to learn in our environment.”

Crusaders Events and Commercial Partnerships Manager Grace Jones says she has been impressed by the interns’ willingness to go “above and beyond” during the programme.

“We hope the experiences our 2021 interns have had will see them go on to achieve great things and inspire the next group of UC students to step up and take their opportunity in years to come.”

The University of Canterbury also has interns working with other local sports organisations such as the Canterbury Tactix, Canterbury Rams, Sport Canterbury, Mainland Football, Canterbury Cricket, University of Canterbury clubs and high schools.

“We’re lucky to have so many great sports organisations that can help us,” van Hasselt says.

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