Be. Talent Story - Danielle and Xero

Find out how our Tertiary Internship programme provided Danielle the platform to kickstart her career in software and explore her strengths.

Text on a blue background that reads 'Be Talent Story Series. Danielle. A decorative image of a woman using a laptop is on the right

Meet Danielle

Danielle has a vibrant energy— kind, warm and welcoming. She is ambitious and committed to becoming the best software engineer she can be.

Originally from Rolleston, she spent 4 years pursuing a Computer Science degree at the University of Canterbury, overcoming Covid disruptions from her first year.

Danielle collects Lego, stamps, coins, and CDs in her downtime. With an eye for detail and passionate about sharing knowledge, she enjoys contributing her unique collections to online databases.

A search for industry experience

When she was close to graduation, Danielle knew it was time to create a plan to get some work experience. Internships are a desirable asset on any graduate’s CV, though she notes that they are practically expected in the software industry. Wanting to expand her work opportunities and gain some project experience, she began attending events to see what opportunities were available.

“The whole process seemed very intimidating. Talking to people at busy, fast-paced career fairs and going to ‘speed interview’ events aren’t very accessible for lots of neurodivergent people.”

A welcoming experience

Danielle joined Student Disability Services in her last year of study, which led her to receive an email about our Be. Tertiary Internship.

After getting in touch, she reports the experience was much easier than other internship experiences appeared to be – both in the application process, and how welcoming and friendly the Be. Team were.

Within 2 months of reaching out, she scored an internship at Xero as an Intern Software Engineer!

Developing skills through meaningful mahi

Danielle absolutely loved the team culture at Xero. Despite working remotely, she felt connected through daily meetings with her close-knit team, and the various online channels at the company for both formal and informal communication. Her tasks involved exploring new technologies, testing them, and creating helpful documentation for the wider company to refer to.

She also speaks passionately while reflecting on the projects she worked on, saying they were meaningful and helped her to develop her skills. She felt included in what the team was doing every step of the way, and had a sense of adding real value to the company.

Another standout was Xero’s friendly recruitment process – Danielle says it was both accessible and welcoming. The recruitment team stayed in touch to ensure she felt good during the whole process and sent her questions in advance for the final interview.

Xero speak equally highly of the experience. "Danielle exceeded our expectations. Danielle was quick to pick up concepts, even ones where she'd had no experience with previously. Danielle always contributed to meetings and always got involved. Even though she was working remotely, this never stopped her from being an enthusiastic member of the team." - Dion Westwood, People Lead

Overcoming challenges together

Danielle recalls a time during her internship where some imposter syndrome was creeping in. Talking to the Be. Talent Team helped her solidify that she was the right candidate for the role. Imposter syndrome is a common experience, and our team are trained to help people navigate it.

“The team were great to work with, I felt I could contact them with questions at any time both before and during the internship.”

Lifelong learning and a new opportunity

Danielle is committed to lifelong learning, focusing on becoming a skilled engineer and expanding her knowledge of programming languages and technology.

She's thrilled to have accepted a 1-year graduate role at Xero starting in 2025! Danielle will be moving out of home and relocating to Wellington for this exciting opportunity next February.

Danielle highly recommends the internship experience at Be., saying it's a fantastic program for individuals with disabilities and diverse backgrounds – even if you don't identify with the term 'disability.’

Looking to kickstart your career?

Our Employment programme connects tertiary-registered New Zealanders to accessible work experience opportunities in their field of study or aspiration.

Find out more about our 12-week programme, including how to check eligibility here, or get in touch with our friendly talent team today.


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