Case study - Sabrina Vandermey
Portland's Future Leaders of Industry program kicked into full gear in August, with participants receiving advice on public speaking, analysing their career paths and a mentor day, where students were placed in a business to learn more about their career choice firsthand.
Portland Aluminium provided nine placements as part of the program. Here, community relations aspirant Sabrina Vandermey provides an insight into her experience:
Ever been to a new place where the atmosphere took your breath and opened your eyes to your own future?
Well I had not discovered such a place until 14 August when I went to my mentor day with Ian Courtney at Portland Aluminium. It was all go before I had the chance to even wake up; I travelled down to Portland ready and raring to put my feet into Ian’s shoes and get a real hands-on insight into public and community relations.
 When I first got to Portland Aluminium I was feeling unsure of what my day would become but once I met up with Ian and he told me the layout for the day, I was more than happy to explore my future career path.
Throughout the day, I met all the people in the Administration office and heard about what role they played at Portland Aluminium, I then got all the local newspapers and studied the media releases in them, I searched on the internet all the roles, experience and uni courses for someone who wishes to pursue a career in PR. I even looked up what a Public Relations person would wear on a day-to-day basis, because in the morning when I got dressed I had no idea if I should have turned up in a hardhat and boots or a business suit.
Once my studying had been completed, I had the opportunity to do a media release. To me, this was the eye opener and most educational and powerful experience I got out of the day. I was given the opportunity to study an event and then write my own media release on it (it can take years for experienced practitioners to perfect such a complex but small piece of writing). The media release was not as easy as I had expected but once I achieved it the feeling was overwhelming. To think that in 10 or so years I would be doing the sort of work I had experienced was like I was nearly in my career path but still completing high school!
I took a lot of experiences away from the mentor day. In terms of thinking in a broader range, striving harder and paving the paths to my future in PR. Whether I was there to study PR or anything else, the point was I was given an experience that not many other students of my age could experience, and I got to take more away from physically being in the environment than learning about it in school.

Sabrina Vandermey