Internship lands Bachelor of Business student a job before graduation

Keely Houghton Work Integrated Learning Griffith Business School
Keely Houghton.

When Keely Houghton first began her internship at YCL Jewels she was just hoping to get some experience in a marketing role. What she ended up with was credit towards her degree and a portfolio of experience that would help her land her first marketing job before she even graduated.

“I’ve been offered a marketing co-ordinator position at a place called PLB Group–a restaurant and entertainment group with four restaurants in northern NSW,” Keely says. The Bachelor of Business student is thrilled with the position because even though she doesn’t graduate until the end of 2019, the business was so impressed with her they offered her the option of being part time until she completes her qualification.

Keely puts her new employment down to the internship she did under the Griffith University Work-Integrated Learning program. “If I hadn’t had my internship experience, I wouldn’t have felt confident enough to apply,” she says. “Having that practical marketing experience on my resume definitely helped me get the job.”

Initially the student had sought out an internship under her own steam, and was drawn to the business YCL Jewels via their Instagram page. She wrote to the business, asking if they were looking for interns and expressing interest.

She then applied for the internship to be considered as a course requirement and Griffith were happy to oblige. “I felt like being in a small business would be most beneficial to me,” Keely explains. “I could have a big impact and see my ideas implemented.” Which is exactly what happened, with several of Keely’s brand engagement ideas being implemented by business owner Fabienne Costa shortly after she started.

Keely Houghton with Fabienne Costa, creator of YCL Jewels.
Keely Houghton with Fabienne Costa, creator of YCL Jewels.

“There was something about Keely that really stood out to me,” Fabienne says, explaining she’d had others contact her about internships but hadn’t been compelled to hire one until Keely. “She came in to her interview with this incredible proposal about giveaways which showed me she had really researched what we were doing in terms of social media marketing. She knew all about the brand, our tagline, what she gathered to be our target demographic. I was really impressed.”

And Keely was over the moon to see so many of her ideas come to fruition. “I think it’s a big confidence booster to know that what I am doing is being heard and adding value to the business. Being here at YCL Jewels and having my ideas implemented actually has grown my passion for marketing and it’s cemented the fact that I want to do marketing as a career.”

One of the reasons Keely was drawn to working with YCL Jewels was the fact that they aligned with her own personal values of ethical standards and sustainability. “As a brand, YCL Jewels try to do whatever they can to be sustainable and ethically conscious with minimal packaging and compostable bags… their manufacturing processes are 100 per cent transparent, you can see everything online. They know that their standards in where their jewellery is being manufactured is ethical and sustainable and they are not having an impact on the environment. That’s something that really resonated with me.”

She says she developed a keen sense of social responsibility as a result of studying at Griffith University. “My time at Griffith and the courses I did definitely started my want for an ethical workplace. I have a strong passion for ethical businesses and working to be more sustainable in my everyday life as well as the place I work. I know Griffith had an impact on that. I did a few electives that made me aware of the ethical responsibility that companies should have and it’s been so great to work for someone who does that.”

Fabienne says that as an employer, having Keely on board as part of her university studies really helped the process. “Knowing that Griffith is open to allowing their students to work with small business is so impressive and amazing,” the creator, who started her business when she was just 21, says. “I didn’t even know that was an option as a small business and entrepreneur, and it’s great because in terms of the future of the workplace, there is so much about small business that is leading the way and innovating for larger organisations, which is great for students.

“I think that was really wonderful to see the amount of support Keely got from Griffith. I think that’s a big reason why she has thrived here the way that she has.”