Partnerships help foster employment opportunities for First Nations Australians, Māori and Pacific Islander students


Suncorp Group is committed to playing a proactive role in driving employment opportunities for First Nations Australians, and Māori and Pasifika peoples in Aotearoa (New Zealand), starting with action at the student level.


 Partnerships help foster employment opportunities for First Nations Australians, Māori and Pacific Islander students

Increasing visibility and accessibility of the corporate world to university students is one way Suncorp Group can help young future leaders realise their potential.  

To do this, we proudly partner with two leading education not-for-profit organisations - TupuToa in New Zealand and Career Trackers in Australia.  

These two organisations are instrumental in ensuring Suncorp’s internship programs reach the right student candidates at the right time in their studies and drive a tangible positive impact every year. 

We believe an inclusive and diverse culture that empowers all peoples to realise their full potential and participate in the economy. This drives greater innovation and helps us better serve the needs of our community and customers.  

In this feature, we take a peek into our internship and graduate programs in Australia and Aotearoa (New Zealand) and share some of the experiences of our most recent summer intake.  

Whakamihi and congratulations to our interns! 

What is the TupuToa Internship Program in New Zealand?  

Suncorp New Zealand is a Major Partner of the TupuToa Internship Program, which focuses on growing the next generation of Māori and Pasifika business leaders through the creation of employment pathways in corporate and professional sectors.  

The program provides interns with three months’ work experience with New Zealand organisations, typically during their final year of university. Suncorp New Zealand has partnered with TupuToa since 2018, and together have placed 43 interns across the business, starting with three per summer, and growing to 10.

Haere rā to our summer TupuToa interns   

It has been an action-packed experience for this past summer’s nine interns – Maliana, Muriwai, Fa’afetai, Luke, Shekyna, Danielle-Jennyse, Ofa, Maureen, and Darrlynn. They have recently finished their Suncorp New Zealand internship and returned to complete their university studies or have ventured into the corporate world for their first full time job.  

Meet TupuToa intern Danielle-Jennyse

TupuToa intern Danielle-Jennyse Smith joined Suncorp’s Consumer’s Sales & Service team and participated in a program of work designed to improve the efficiency of an internal interface used by call centre consultants.  

Danielle enjoyed working on the project and was pleasantly surprised by the welcoming corporate environment at Suncorp New Zealand and the hybrid way of working.  

"The warm and inclusive environment helped me soothe my nerves about working in a big corporation, but what surprised me most is the flexibility and work-life balance available to people, and how working from home is not only accepted but embraced," she said.

TupuToa interns also had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to senior leadership  

The TupuToa interns worked together on two projects focused on recommendations to attract and support Māori and Pasifika talent.  

In their final week with Suncorp, the interns presented their recommendations to Suncorp New Zealand CEO Jimmy Higgins and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT).  

Mr Higgins said the presentations were well received by the SLT, who picked up some ‘quick wins.’  

“One takeaway for me was the natural ‘humility’ that exists within Māori and Pasifika cultures that may not be fully appreciated. This humility can sometimes come at the expense of appropriate self-promotion when seeking employment or even promotions within organisations,” he said. 

Suncorp NZ CEO - Jimmy Higgins

There is also an opportunity for us to improve our recruitment processes and even internal candidate selections for roles within our various businesses, to ensure we get the best mix of experience within our teams.

What is the Career Trackers First Nations Internship Program? 

Suncorp Group in Australia is a proud employment partner of Career Trackers, a national not-for-profit organisation that supports pre-professional First Nations university students and links them with employers to participate in internships.

Suncorp Group has partnered with Career Trackers since 2017, and together have placed 19 interns across the business. 

Kelly Pfeffer leads the graduate talent program at Suncorp Group and said partnering with Career Trackers to provide internship opportunities for First Nations students has been an invaluable experience.  

“We’ve been delighted to welcome some talented individuals into our business over several years. I really appreciate the dedication the business has in providing a supportive environment so that our interns feel welcomed and finish their placements with increased knowledge and experience in their chosen field,” Ms Pfeffer said.

From L to R: Kelly Pfeffer (P&C Advisor Graduate Lead at Suncorp Group), Talua Lui, Sam Hudson, Karla Hume (First Nations Advisor at Suncorp Group), Blayse Zamiak and Taylah Murphy

Highlights from the recent summer cohort of Career Tracker interns  

This past summer, Suncorp Group welcomed four Career Tracker interns – Talua, Sam, Blayse, and Taylah – joining our teams across Insurance, Bank, PC&A (People, Culture & Advocacy), and Finance & Advice. 

Meet Career Trackers intern Talua Lui  

Talua Lui is studying a double degree in a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Psychological Science, and was placed in the Suncorp Insurance team from November 2023 to February 2024. 

Talua is passionate about pursuing a career in marketing research after completing her studies and enjoyed working within the insurance marketing and operations team.  

“The work was immensely meaningful and gratifying,” Ms Lui said. 

“What sets Suncorp apart is its exceptional workplace culture – where collaboration and empowerment flourish. The positive atmosphere, combined with fantastic colleagues, transforms the daily routine into a shared journey of learning and exploration.” 

Suncorp’s internship programs help pave the way for graduate employment  

Suncorp Group's Justin Vickers completed a Career Trackers internship with Suncorp in the summer of 2020-21, before completing his university studies in software engineering and computational mathematics.  

Justin went on to secure a place in Suncorp’s Graduate program which led to him securing a full-time role as a Software Engineer in the Group's Technology and Operations function.  

Justin credits both the peer connections made in the internship and graduate programs, and supportive Suncorp leaders, for pushing him towards his career goals.  

Meet Suncorp Group employee Justin Vickers

“Senior members of my Suncorp team genuinely shared my passion for the work and gave me projects to upskill. Working with leaders who walked a similar career path to mine accelerated my learning and gave me clear goals to work towards. It was amazing to have this vivid picture of a goal, especially while I was in my last year of university,” Mr Vickers said. 

“The program also gave me access to a network of peers, from similar cultural backgrounds, which helped me navigate the early stages of my career.” 

"As a committee member of One Mob Employee Resource Group (ERG) at Suncorp, I'm proud to be connected to a group of like-minded people, who share my goals of fostering cultural awareness and understanding about First Nations people and their culture."

Since securing a full-time role at Suncorp, Justin has provided support and mentoring for new students in the program and encourages current university students to apply. 

Justin Vickers - Suncorp Group Software Engineer

While it can be scary applying for an internship role you know nothing about, the whole purpose of these junior roles is to teach you. You learn by doing the work.

Expressions of Interest (EOI) is open for Internship roles starting November 2024 and Graduate roles starting January 2025.

Applications will open in August 2024. 

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