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Tier 1 Procurement’s unique internship program aims to expand junior talent pool

Internship Program

Melbourne-based specialist recruitment firm Tier 1 Procurement is running a unique procurement internship program to help students gain hands-on industry experience, while aiming to expand the pool of junior procurement talent across Australia.

Currently operating out of Melbourne with plans to expand nationwide, the Procurement Internship Program is a not-for-profit offering, meaning it’s free for both students and the clients who employ them.

Led and managed by Tier 1’s Operations Manager Linda Heidstra, who provides customised matching of interns to clients, the program allows students to enjoy paid work during the holiday period for a minimum of six weeks depending on business requirements.

Providing students with real insight into how the business of procurement works within an organisation, the program allows participants to experience on-the-job challenges while benefiting from achievements that will help them to grow in knowledge, skills and confidence.

Organisations are responsible for providing their interns with projects and tasks that matter to the business, with students from RMIT and the University of Melbourne targeted via online career boards and LinkedIn advertisements.

Steve Jamieson, Director & Managing Consultant at Tier 1 Procurement, said the program began due to a demand for strong junior talent but too few entry points for newcomers.

“We started the internship program to enable a pathway into the profession, as we believed there to be too few pathways into procurement careers and a developing shortage of talent at analyst, specialist and category manager level,” Steve said.  

“The Australian market is fairly strong for experienced procurement and more senior talent pools, but less so for junior talent. We believed there was going to be a demand for these students and so created the program. It was a “no brainer” from my perspective. We are helping clients with supply of talent, and in future years creating experienced hires we can place into jobs. A real win-win”.

Tier 1 Procurement offers a $1,000 charity donation for successful referrals, representing a unique positioning in the recruitment market. The company also runs a less formal mentoring program, partnering with professionals to identify mentors at no cost.

Intern Melissa Ong said participating in the internship program with a market-leading industrial business is an “invaluable experience”. 

“Such programs offer a unique opportunity to gain real-world insights and practical skills that complement academic knowledge. I work alongside experienced professionals, contributing to meaningful projects and expanding professional networks. A well-structured internship program can be a pivotal stepping stone in personal and professional development, offering a bridge between academic learning and the challenges of the workforce,” she said.

Meanwhile, former intern Raymond Chen progressed to more senior roles following his internship.

“Back in 2018, as a fresh graduate stepping into the world of procurement, I had my first experience through an internship program at an ASX listed company, with the help from Tier 1. It was a pivotal moment in my career,” he said.

“Through this program, I was exposed to the complexities and challenges of managing supplier relationships, understanding market dynamics and mastering negotiation strategies. It provided a unique platform for applying transferable skills from my major in a new context, enhancing my analytical and problem-solving abilities. 

“This initial plunge into procurement was not just about acquiring new skills; it was a transformative process that reshaped my career trajectory and ignited a lasting interest in the procurement field. And after that, I progressed to more senior roles within and outside the organisation”.

Amelita Valle, Head of Procurement at RWE in Melbourne, said the internship program has streamlined hiring efforts and enhanced the company’s talent pipeline.

“As an employer, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the internship program facilitated by Tier 1. The ability to be able to foster and nurture people in their procurement journey very early is a game-changer,” she said.  

“It’s allowed us to tap into a pool of talented individuals, providing us with a diverse range of candidates to choose from for internships and potential future hires at little to no cost. It has streamlined our hiring efforts and has consistently delivered value by making sure the alignment in values is guaranteed. I highly recommend this program to any company looking to enhance their talent pipeline.”

To find out more about the Tier 1 Procurement Internship Program as a student or employer, email info@tier1procurement.com or call 0448 336 771.

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