Two years ago when I began my internship at the Innovation Centre, I had no idea what to expect. I certainly did not foresee the years of incredible support, invaluable experience and abundance of opportunities that would follow.

I began as a first-year university student, with no clue or direction regarding the future. I met the IC’s Marketing and Events Coordinator on campus waiting in line. By the time we were at the front of the line, we had already arranged an official interview and discussed opportunities. It was the only time I was thankful for long lines!

I had always liked the idea of working in events and was studying a minor in advertising with a focused interest in social media, so the internship proposed seemed really exciting. I initially thought there was no way I was qualified enough for the role, nevertheless, I went for the interview and was overwhelmed with support from the Innovation Centre team. They were so eager to help me gain experience for my future career ventures.

I started working one-day-a-week and soon almost every day as more and more opportunities for work and experience presented — which had a lot to do with being situated in a hub of innovators and industry professionals. That is one of my favourite things about the Innovation Centre — the connections you make. Through these connections, I was able to work as assistant event manager of the 2018 GrowCoastal Program. That program was an exciting opportunity as I not only played a role in the organisation of events, but also managed the social media and was an integral part of a program providing tools for local business growth. It was because of my role in GrowCoastal, that I was offered a position to work for six months in London.

In London, I worked as an assistant manager for a major event as well as managed various social media platforms all the while living in and exploring the incredible city. I can say for certain that I would not have been able to have that experience if it hadn’t been for my internship at the Innovation Centre.

The IC gave me the experience, skills, support and confidence I needed to be able to go from doubting my qualifications as an intern, to being confident enough to accept a high-level position for a company in another country. I owe so much to the Innovation Centre, the team and of course the people with whom I have made lasting connections and networks with during my time there.

Jessica Curreri is a second-year student studying a Bachelor of Creative Industries with a Screen and Media Major at USC Sippy Downs. Growing up on the Sunshine Coast, she also works for her family’s restaurant in Caloundra. She enjoys travelling and has been fortunate enough to do so over the past few years and also in her spare time loves to read.