Finance graduate Ash Sharma is one of the Westpac team members who gives – and receives – the benefits of their Volunteer Week programme.
Are you from Auckland? Yes I am, but my parents are from Fiji. They came here in the 90s.
How do you get to Britomart? I take two buses. So I bus from Mt Roskill to Uni, and then Uni to Britomart. Takes about 30 minutes each way.
What do you do here? I’m a finance graduate. The programme is two years long and as part of the programme, I rotate around different areas within finance to get an overall experience of what Westpac is like specifically.
I’ve heard Volunteer Week is coming up. Tell us about how that works at Westpac. Everyone at work gets to do one day volunteering a year. It’s really cool.
Who did you volunteer for your volunteer day? I volunteered for the Kaipatiki tree planting programme. It’s 6-7 hours of physical work. Half of it is weeding, and then the other half is tree planting. The idea of it is to maintain and cultivate the land. To encourage different insects and birds. Because with cities, so much of that is demolished. So it’s about preservation really. And I think that’s a great cause.
What did you get out of it? Sore limbs! I don’t work out much so that really tested me. But no, it felt really rewarding. Going out into nature, and working with your teammates in an environment outside of work. So you get to know them better. It was a great experience.
What’s your favourite hidden Auckland City spot? Ollies in Royal Oak. It’s an old fashioned style ice cream place. Ollies is delicious.
What’s your idea of fun? Spending time with friends. Going to Ollies. Movies, going to the golf range.
Do you have any hobbies? Listening to music and watching sports. I watch a lot of movies and I play video games to relax.
What music? Anything in the Top 40. I’m not niche at all!
If you could do any job in the world what would you do? In terms of real life, what I do. Ever since the financial crisis, I have been interested in it. And it’s grown a lot from there. In terms of fantasy, being a candy man would be amazing. Like Willy Wonka. Manufacturing it, and having a chocolate palace. Ha ha.
Photograph and interview by Florence Noble