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Internship helps entrepreneur call Christchurch home

13 November 2018

International explorer Séku Skandan travelled through 24 countries before deciding to call Christchurch home.

Originally from Tamil Nadu in Southern India, Skandan planned to equip himself with an international marketing degree, then return home to continue his self-funded business.

But ultimately, Christchurch’s supportive business community, education opportunities and international accessibility made him decide to stay.

Upon completing a Graduate Diploma in Applied Management from the Ara Institute of Canterbury, Skandan landed an internship with local tech start up JIX Ltd, a company specialising in creating augmented and virtual reality experiences of real world environments. 

“Simon Anderson from ChristchurchNZ’s Job Ready Programme saw my potential, reaffirmed that my skills are valued in this city and connected me with local businesses, thereby being another strong pillar in my journey,” Skandan says.

The Job Ready programme is an internship business tool that effectively coordinates and facilitates relationships between Christchurch’s tertiary institutions and the business community, ensuring companies have access to the right talent for their business need.

Taking on international student interns can help local businesses open themselves up to the world as well as attract and retain talent to our region.

“The programme helped me shape my skills according to the needs of Christchurch’s job market and then land in an internship at JIX last year,” Skandan says. “I couldn’t be more than thankful for this.”

Today he is JIX’s Marketing and Communications Manager, a role which allows him to combine his previous technology experience from his bachelor’s in computer science engineering with his current marketing qualification.

Earlier this year, JIX were crowned regional winner of the inaugural New Zealand Space Challenge, teaming up with local start up Orbica to design an innovative solution to navigating some of outer space’s trickiest pitfalls with an augmented reality system. JIX augmented/virtual reality specialist Sakthi Ranganathan and Orbica geospatial innovator Santosh Seshadri masterminded an idea to design a navigation system that uses holographs and geospatial datasets to visualise the physical environment and navigate the terrain of Antarctica.

Skandan says Christchurch is the perfect environment for entrepreneurs to explore new ideas, new people and new ways of doing things.

“This city is home to so many possibilities and I’m astounded by the level of support awarded to start-ups like us to enable us to reach our purpose,” he says.

“The innovation and closely knitted ecosystem made me explore my fullest potential to levels I never even imagined. Co-working spaces have been nothing short of an enlightenment for me – I never thought so many companies can co-exist to achieve their individual goals – it’s like a collective journey of us in a bus taking different seats – adventurous, thrilling and compassionate to each other.”

He’s excited to be part of a new generation of local and international talent joining the central city workforce at a time when Christchurch is busy exploring its new identity and the opportunities that come with it.

The city’s diversity, connectivity, positivity and culture of collaboration make Christchurch the perfect spot to explore his future.

“I love being part of this diverse community and helping drive the city and the region by doing more amazing things and contributing as much as I can. Starting my family here in this city would be a blessing.”

When he’s not exploring new ideas in Christchurch, you might find Skandan with one of his hat-collections checking out central city events and festivals, volunteering or connecting with friends over mocha and a bite to eat at Little High Eatery in the Salt District.