Stockland's Stepping Into story

Sun 22 February 2015

Stockland has a reputation as one of Australia's most progressive property investment and development organisations, so you won’t be surprised to learn that its diversity and inclusion agenda is just as forward-thinking.  Stockland values diversity and aims to create a vibrant and inclusive workforce, which is reflective of the communities in which they operate.

Stockland has been an enthusiastic participant in our Stepping Into internship program over the last four years, and usually takes on board about five students every summer.

Stockland’s Diversity Coordinator, Lorraine Ward, points out that the company’s Diversity & Inclusion vision is led “from the top down”, with support across all sectors of the organisation.  This builds a more inclusive workplace enabling greater diversity of thought, more informed decision making and ultimately better business outcomes.

“We’ve had a lot of success with the program,” says Lorraine. “Stepping Into is a great opportunity for both the student and employer.  It allows time for the student to put in practice what they have studied at university, and it gives the employer enough time to give suitable and quality projects for them to be involved.  To date we’ve had more than fifteen students join us with many extending beyond their initial four weeks.  Ultimately, I’d like to see the program as a potential pipeline for these students to become permanent employees.”

Stockland Stepping Into program participants
Stockland's Lorraine Ward with Queen Khoo and Kalem Bronner.

Kalem Bronner is such a student, having stayed on at Stockland in a casual capacity after completing his Stepping Into internship last summer.  Kalem likes the fact that he can experience corporate life and put the marketing component of his UTS business studies into practice.  “A lot of people do degrees but the studies aren’t really relevant to real life,” says Kalem.  “My Stockland experience helped my degree.  My marks have improved in the six months since I’ve been here.”

Kalem’s initiative has come to the attention of different departments within Stockland, who have asked him to undertake various tasks for them.  “I’ve been assisting with the First Home Buyers campaign,” says Kalem.  “I help with photo shoots and designing brochures.  I’ve also been working on house and land packages.  I contact the builders about their floor plans and upload them to the web.”  

“I think the work culture at Stockland is fantastic.  Everyone is thoughtful, insightful and my team is very inclusive, they see me as one of them.  They’ve put my disability aside and know I can do the job.  I’d like to increase my skills in marketing and systems and use the skills I’ve learnt at university.”

Queen Khoo is another Stepping Into intern who has embraced the opportunities offered by Stockland.  After completing her internship in her final year of her Master’s degree in HR Management, Queen has worked in different parts of the HR department which she says has facilitated her in becoming a ‘well-rounded’ HR Services consultant.  “I brought analytical skills,” says Queen.  “I see things that can be improved, I have a process improvement perspective!  And there are lots of people willing to teach me.”

Queen’s long term goal is to become an analyst in HR or processes that “would help a company run things more efficiently.”  Her work experience at Stockland has given her lots of ideas about this.  “For example, I notice people don’t complete forms, but maybe it’s not them.  I think: ‘How can I achieve a better outcome and make sure forms are completed?’  I’m able to help identify the problems.”

Stepping Into’s coordinators love hearing good news about the “wins” of the program.  “I did laps around the office yesterday when I heard that Stockland in Melbourne had offered intern Jack Milne the fantastic opportunity to continue working in Melbourne,” says coordinator Jenny Watts-Sampson.  “It excites me that Stockland have so many fantastic opportunities for students.”

Queen Khoo asserts that all companies should have a program that caters for individuals with disability.  “My goal is that it should be the norm for a
company to participate in programs like this.  The talent is there, it’s just about people having the opportunity to demonstrate their talents, skills and capabilities regardless of their disability.”

For more information on Stepping Into, please contact Program Manager Stephanie Littlewood at stephanie.littlewood@and.org.au or 02 8270 9200.

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