Stepping up to leadership is a big ask for many students doing the AUT Edge Award, and Hilary Esterhuizen was no exception.
Yet by the end of her Edge Award journey Hilary had won the Leadership prize and developed strong leadership skills despite her introverted nature.
“I found it challenging but by improving my communication skills I was able to start communicating effectively with teams and realised I could engage and interact well,” says Hilary.
Such skills make a huge difference to people’s capacity to lead in the future, says the Christine McKinnon, CAANZ Careers Engagement Manager of Chartered Accountants Australia and NZ (CAANZ), the sponsor of the AUT Edge Award Leadership prize.
“The future of work is everchanging and challenging and determining the type of skills and knowledge you need to really excel is more important than ever.
It is essential you are equipped with the tools and skills to become a leader of tomorrow as difference makers.”
Hilary says she also had to overcome her perfectionist urges to be receptive and open to volunteers who all had their own unique ways of working due to different backgrounds, cultures and age groups.
“I learned to lead with positivity and two-way communication.”
She was one of 50 students to graduate with the AUT Edge Award in Semester 1, taking the total number of graduates to 204. Over 2400 students are enrolled in the Award. So far they delivered 39,000 hours of volunteering and just under 18,000 leadership hours to their communities.
As well as CAANZ, four other industry partners sponsored prizes for the award; YUDU, Auckland Council, SEEK Volunteer and IHG.
Industry sponsorship of prizes demonstrate the significance to employers of the skills fostered by the AUT Edge Award, says AUT Deputy Vice Chancellor Geoff Perry.
“You will have become better employees, family members, friends and better members of society through this award,” says Geoff, listing skills such as thoughtful and critical thinking, cultural intelligence through working with people from different backgrounds and ability to lead.”
Along with Hilary, the other prize winners were Priscilla Schwalger for Volunteering, Jackie Chan for Overall Achiever, Liubov Sidorova for Social Impact.and Yves Guo for Personal Growth and
The AUT Edge Award delivers graduates with work ready CVs and relevant LinkedIn profiles. They are capable networkers and confident about who they are, says Director of Student Employability, Anna Williams.
“Our employers continue to tell us that they are looking for great communication skills, evidence of volunteering, of leadership and of students who are engaged outside their classroom learning.
We feel the AUT Edge Award encompasses all these skills and know students here tonight will have that extra edge in their approach to their future careers.”
Anna says the Award is proving to be so successful that this semester Employability and Careers has launched a second award – the Beyond AUT Award for postgraduate students.
For more information about the AUT Edge Award or the Beyond AUT Award please contact AUTEdge@aut.ac.nz
PHOTO CAPTION: (L-R) AUT Edge Award prize winners - Priscilla Schwalger for Volunteering, Jackie Chan for Overall Achievement, Liubov Sidorova for Social Impact, Hilary Esterhuizen for Leadership and Yves Guo for Personal Growth.