EIT and Sport Hawke’s Bay enjoy a particularly close relationship that is helped by being neighbours but says more about the organisation’s values being aligned.
“Our relationship is multi-layered,” explains Ryan Hambleton, Sport Hawke’s Bay commercial manager. “There’s a pathway that brings our two organisations together.”
From sponsorship to joint membership of advisory boards to Kirsten Westwood EIT Head of School Health and Sport being a former member of the Sport Hawke’s Bay governance board.
Over a third of the sports trust’s 32-strong team are EIT graduates. A number of the team are continuing to study through a wide range of short courses on offer at EIT.
In addition, over the past six years 23 EIT students have gained invaluable industry experience by working with Sport Hawke’s Bay to complete industry cooperative projects as part of their recreation and sport qualifications.
Each year the Sport Hawke’s Bay team looks at what projects they may have across the many contracts and programmes it runs in the community. EIT’s Diana Kirton as practicum coordinator then assesses the ideas to ensure the project placements will be of value to the students.
From primary school fundamental movement skills programmes, Green Prescription contracts with the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, Active Families’ sessions, and one-off projects, the opportunities for students to gain real life skills are extensive.
“The students add a different dimension and with their fresh thoughts and ideas help keep programmes refreshed,” says Diana. “They are also great roles models out in the community with their enthusiasm for wellbeing.”
From Sport Hawke’s Bay’s perspective the fact that so many graduates have proven themselves to be “work ready” makes taking them on as employees as “a no brainer”, says Ryan.
“Coming here on placement means they get an understanding of how things work here. We are quite a complex organisation working in health, workplace wellness, so unless you understand us it’s a hard place to get your head around.
“The benefit of having our relationship is that students come to Sports Hawke’s Bay and get entrenched in what we do. They get that understanding and that means they come straight in and can settle in straight away and get up to speed quickly.
“They come to us with a willingness. They are engaged and they have a passion for what we do. We can be confident that they have good knowledge and the skills to lead.”
“It’s a genuine win-win relationship,” says Kirsten. “EIT students get real world experience at Sport Hawke’s Bay and the ability to make a real difference in our community.”
The two organisations are now exploring how they can include placements for School of Business students.
This year a couple of business students volunteered to work on the Sport Hawke’s Bay sports awards managing the social media component while the marketing communications person was away. They also helped set up for the event, taking the Pettigrew.Green Arena sports stadium into a dressed up function centre.
“We’re looking for more opportunities like this to expand this.”