We can hardly believe it, but Jürgen’s time with us at HERA is fast coming to an end! So we thought before he heads back to Germany we’d let you get to know him a bit better and find out about the great work he’s been doing whilst in New Zealand!

Winging his way from the University of Applied Sciences in Regensburg Germany back in August 2018, Jürgen has been working with our Welding Centre team on a variety of projects.

This has included investigating the quality of structural steel fabrication as part of our efforts to develop, meet and maintain high industry standards, and the improvement of our administrative process for our welding personnel qualification schemes.

Welding Centre Intern Jürgen Inkoferer.

This is important work ahead of the launch of our online exams and training systems in the near future, and it’s been great to have Jürgen here to assist in the research and testing of these systems before they go live.

We asked Jürgen about his HERA internship…


Germany is a long way from NZ! How did you find your way to HERA?

At my university, a semester of our studies is earmarked for practical work experience. This allows you to find intern and work opportunities to put your theoretical learning to practice. My dream was always to go abroad during this time, so I started searching for an internship position for my fifth semester.

After gathering information about potential options for students working and living abroad, I came across HERA. My university has a long-standing collaborative relationship with them, and they were listed as having previously supported students from there, so I applied – and here I am!

Was that an easy process?

I’d say yes – especially if it’s your first time applying for a working holiday visa to come to New Zealand. If you meet certain criteria it’s a straight forward process, and luckily, I was pointed in the right direction by student support for which visa to apply for.

I think doing an internship overseas can be quite a daunting experience and it might not be for everyone. You definitely need to travel with an open mind and be willing to play things by ear sometimes.

For example, when I came to New Zealand, I’d only arranged a short term hosted family stay through AirBnB, but I didn’t have long term accommodation sorted. I found being in New Zealand made finding this a bit easier as you can get tips from locals and work colleagues about the best areas to base yourself or where to look for listings.


How have you found the experience with us?

This opportunity has meant a lot to me. I’m especially grateful to HERA’s General Manager Welding Centre Michail Karpenko and Research Engineer Holger Heinzel for giving me the chance to be here and mentoring me during this time.

Living and working in such a great environment as New Zealand provides an insight into new cultures and definitely helps to improve oneself. And, as I’d like to work somewhere internationally in the future, I think this has been invaluable for me to experience working in a foreign country. My English has certainly improved too!

A great outcome has been the type of work I’ve done. It’s pushed me out of my comfort zone and got me exploring things I wasn’t too focused on such as IT systems development. This has been really interesting to me and allowed me to grow my skill base in this space from a practical perspective.

What are your aspirations for the future?

That’s a good question! I’m definitely thinking about it it at the moment – there are so many possibilities out there.

What I do know is that I want to continue my current studies, with a major focus on the economic side of engineering. I’m in my fifth bachelor semester of mechanical engineering and I want to make sure I finish it successfully!


What will you miss the most when you head back home?

That’s such a hard question – I’ve enjoyed so much while I’ve been here!

I easily can say the people. But I’ve equally loved being able to hike and enjoy nature here too.

What I do know is I’m definitely not looking forward to going home, although it will certainly be amazing to see my family and friends again!

Interested in an internship at HERA?

For us, it’s always hard to identify what internships we may have available – as our research is always evolving.

That’s why we suggest you register your interest so that if something comes up that suits your capability we have you on file to contact.

Keep in mind that while we take on students both here in New Zealand and abroad, we expect applicants have a good communication level of English and proficiency to deliver reports in English as well. And, for those travelling from abroad – it’s important you obtain the correct visa’s to do an internship prior to coming to New Zealand.

Due to the nature of our research we also ask all potential candidates to provide a minimum of three to six months commitment to our programs.