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Flying high with Aspeq

A group photo of Aspeq employees with QMC students
Lucy Sladden (second right) and Bella Ashill (far right) with the Aspeq team

Two Senior School students took to the sky in the July school holidays as part of an internship pilot programme with Aspeq.

The week-long collaboration with the international assessment company came as part of a Queen Margaret College strategy to increase community partnerships and introduce students to the workforce. Bella Ashill (Year 12) and Lucy Sladden (Year 13) were chosen following a video application process.

As part of the internship, Bella and Lucy were introduced to the day-today tasks of Aspeq staff, including security, facilities management, finance, business development, project management, IT, bank management and customer service. They were also treated to a flight in a small aircraft to visit the Christchurch air traffic control tower and the Christchurch engine centre.

Lucy says her favourite part about the internship was the trip to Christchurch and learning the variety of jobs one can have in a particular industry.

“We got to fly in a small plane and talk to and ask questions of professionals in the air traffic control tower and the engine centre.

“I learnt there is a range of career opportunities in the industry. From IT to piloting, there is a role that could suit pretty much everyone. It was interesting to find out what Aspeq staff studied at university as there was a big range, and some people were now doing things completely irrelevant to their degree.”

Bella says the pair learnt lots of interesting things, especially about flying.

“I learnt a lot of cool things about all the different components that make up a business and how a  small company runs. It was really interesting to see all the different sections to Aspeq, like the question bank team, IT, customer service and projects managers.

“I also learnt a lot about aviation and flying planes, as I got to fly one myself. To my surprise, when a plane is on the tarmac and taxiing for takeoff, you use the foot pedals to turn it left and right. The flight instructor, explained that it was like riding a bike. You can lean left and right, but then you can also turn left and right with the handle bars.”

The internship also gave the duo insight into how they act in a work environment.

“When I am around new people, I get really nervous and struggle to ask questions. However, during my week at Aspeq, I opened up and did not feel so frightened. I also learnt that I have a passion for organising things. That’s why I think air traffic control would be a really interesting option for me,” Bella says.

“Now that I have a greater understanding of how I act in the work environment and what I potentially want to do in the future, I am slowly going to set my path in stone to ensure that I can do what I want when I leave school.”

Both Lucy and Bella would recommend the internship, or others like it, to other QMC students.

“It was super-interesting to see how a business runs because as students we have no idea what it’s actually like in a workforce. It was cool to see people at Aspeq collaborate on their projects” Lucy says.

“I learnt so much, met a lot of amazing people and figured out what I am working towards in the future. I think that anyone who is struggling to find their passion should do something similar to this, due to the exposure you get to all the different aspects in a company,” Bella adds.