Through NZI's partnership with the First Foundation we offer the Austin Hemmings Memorial Scholarship to cover the university fees of talented youth. We also offer on the job experience. Junior Lafaele received the scholarship in 2014.
Junior has just completed his first year at Waikato University, studying Law and Arts. It’s also his second year of work experience at NZI during his summer holidays. He’s had a taste of handling motor claims, and now he’s working in the marketing team.
Hear from Junior about his experience in the Insurance Industry and advice for students entering their last year of high school.
What do you enjoy most about working for NZI?
I enjoy working in a professional environment where there is a lot of guidance and support. It’s also helped me mature as a young man. I’ve learned a lot not only about insurance, but also about the real world.
As part of the scholarship I’ve been given a mentor, Phil Barclay, General Manager Business Partners at NZI. His advice has helped me learn that there’s a time to act professional and a time to have fun. It’s helped me prepare for meetings, and take some of the stress and nervousness away that I was previously feeling.
How do you think your work experience at NZI will help you with your future/career?
I’ve learned a lot about how important time management is. Especially when there are a lot of tasks to get through. I’ve learned how to manage and utilise my time wisely.
The biggest lesson that I’ve learned at NZI is that hard work, determination, and sacrifice is what will get you your degree and help you get ahead in your career. It’s important to have fun, but you have to put in the hard work as well.
What are your thoughts on the insurance industry? Have any perceptions you had changed?
At first I found the insurance industry complicated because I didn’t know much about it. However, now that I have become more familiar with insurance I’m finding it more interesting and I wish I had learned about it before. I understand now how important insurance is when hardship confronts you. It’s amazing to begin to understand all the different types of insurance policies people can receive.
What’s your best piece of advice for Year 13 students?
Make sure you get your U.E (University Entrance) Credits. Secondly, there are a tremendous amount of scholarships on offer so get applying. Thirdly, apply for more than one university to increase your chances of getting accepted into one of them. Also, surround yourself with students who are eager to learn and who you can depend on when having group study sessions. Finally, which is also at the top of my list – work hard and while doing so, have fun and make the most of your last year of high school.