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02 15 2019

NATO Agency launches exciting opportunities for students

Students can now apply to intern at NATO's technology and cyber hub. The NATO Communications and Information Agency is recruiting again for its successful internship programme, a perfect fit for people who are currently taking or have just finished their academic studies.

Since 2015, the Agency has seen around 100 interns take on projects and gain new skills through its internship programme.

This year, the Agency plans to recruit 65 interns.

The programme is designed to give Agency staff a chance to transfer knowledge to a younger generation. And it helps the NCI Agency develop a younger workforce to prevent future skills shortages.

If you don't have much practical experience yet, don't worry.

"We recognize that these students might not necessarily have any relevant practical experience. But they will have a wealth of theoretical and academic studies within their chosen skill set or business area," said Lindsey Stone, Talent Attraction Team Lead at the Agency. "So it's our opportunity as their future employer to show that we support ongoing practical development, and enabling students to test out theoretical skills they've built up."

The internship is a two-way initiative where the Agency passes on its knowledge and how it works as a business, and the interns bring the Agency a completely different perspective. Interns will challenge Agency staff, go against the status quo and ask relevant questions, Stone said.

Cem Erey, who completed in December a ten-month internship at the Agency, said the programme was a chance to work with a highly talented team while getting mentorship and feedback.

"There aren't many organizations that will let you work on projects that are in use, so it's definitely a unique opportunity," said Erey, who worked as a junior Java developer. "I do feel like my contributions have made a difference. It's really been worthwhile for me."

Recent graduates will also have another unique opportunity to apply for in the coming weeks. The Agency will be launching for the first time a three-year job programme designed especially for them.

Erey plans to apply for the graduate programme after finishing the last year of an undergraduate degree in software engineering at the University of Technology Sydney.

The graduates will work as normal employees in the Agency for three years, but will be offered special programming to guide their development. The three years are an opportunity to learn, and a chance to demonstrate that they can deliver on projects.

NATO Agency launches exciting opportunities for students

"The graduate programme is about developing our talent for the future, attracting individuals who want to learn, build their skills and join a team of world-class tech savvy experts" Stone said.

The Agency will give graduates resources and training to help them succeed, including help from a new graduate development staff member. The staffer will look at what competencies, technical skills and behaviours the graduates should exhibit.

The Agency is hoping the programme can bridge the gap for students who may have done an internship with the Agency and then graduated. Stone wants to entice those candidates, and other young talented professionals, to work for the Agency.

"To survive in a competitive IT candidate landscape we've got to do something different to attract and retain new talent," Stone said. "The graduate programme allows us to leverage the skills and experience our interns bring to the Agency and hopefully retain them."

When the NCI Agency recruits for the new graduate programme, it will look for people who have a clear motivation to work for the Agency.

"For graduates, I'd expect that they have already made a conscious decision to work within the defence and technology industry," Stone said.

Graduates should be able to demonstrate they have relevant experience for the area they are applying to, and they should be able to explain how the Agency fits into their career path.

Graduates are paid as other staff members, and receive the same benefits. Interns are also compensated.

The Agency is planning to recruit interns and graduates for a variety of different areas in the Agency, in both technical and administrative roles.

No matter where they work in the Agency, these new recruits will get a chance to work for an organization that satisfies their ethics and values.

"When you join NATO you're working for an organization that is more than just the bottom line profit, more than just the pennies in the purse or a new product to sell," Stone said. "For me that's important, to feel a part of something with purpose."

To learn more about internships, please visit our website.