The career track helping Indigenous and refugee students

20 Jan 2017

Before Brandon Grosse arrived for his first day at his internship with Macquarie Group, he didn’t really know what to expect but anticipated it would be “a bit harsh, somewhat unforgiving and quite strict”.

To his relief, that wasn’t the workplace he found. 

“In reality, it was probably the complete opposite of that,” he says. “It was very relaxed, with very bright and friendly people.”

The Indigenous university student from Gosford, on the New South Wales Central Coast, was part of the CareerTrackers Internship Program in 2015 and returned for a second three-month internship stint in 2016. Both times he has worked in the legal team within Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group.

Macquarie has partnered with the non-profit CareerTrackers for three years, providing internship opportunities for 23 Indigenous university students so far. Students can be at any stage of their degree, from anywhere in Australia, and can be studying any degree.

Macquarie also chose to pilot a partnership with CareerSeekers in 2016, a non-profit organisation founded by Michael Combs, CEO of CareerTrackers. The program identifies local work experience opportunities for asylum seekers and refugees and 12 CareerSeeker students were placed into internship opportunities across Macquarie’s Sydney office over summer.

Macquarie’s ANZ Graduate Recruitment Lead Jo Moore said the purpose of both programs for Macquarie was to create opportunities for the students and to encourage diversity within the organisation.

She added that many of the CareerSeekers students are studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects, which are highly sought after skillsets within Macquarie and the broader market - so the program also has a strong alignment to hiring practices.

Two students from the 2015/16 CareerTrackers cohort returned as part of Macquarie’s 2017 graduate program, while six out of the ten CareerTrackers students in the 2016/17 cohort (including Brandon) were returning students from the previous year.

With a further two years of his Bachelor of Laws degree to go, Brandon said his two internships at Macquarie have helped inform his choice of subjects.

“I’m very passionate about the law and before I started at Macquarie I thought I wanted to be a prosecutor,” he said.

“But my experience at Macquarie has definitely pushed me towards thinking about a banking and financial career, and I’ve changed some of my units to be more around banking law and regulation.”

He said he “slotted right back into the team” at Macquarie for his second internship, and was particularly impressed that his Macquarie buddy during his first internship (and manager during his second) had checked in with him during the intervening year to see how he was progressing.

The success of the CareerTrackers program is reflected in the high conversion rate of its interns both graduating from university and also embarking on a full-time job of their choice, compared to non-participants.

Image caption: Macquarie’s 2016 CareerTracker and CareerSeeker interns on an introductory tour of Macquarie’s Sydney headquarters (Brandon Grosse is second from left, back row).