Post Covid 19 is a tough environment for final year students looking to enter the workplace. Many organisations are facing economic challenges and not able to offer part time work, internships or graduate roles in the foreseeable future. Yet - for many - now is the time they need an extra pair of hands for a project to help them through.
The lack of work opportunities has been particularly problematic for a niche group of students looking for work integrated learning (WIL) placements to complete their degree.
Recognising these challenges, AUT Employability & Careers and Internz got creative and set up AUT Studentforce, an initiative focusing on giving students an opportunity to fulfil their WIL hours in a NZ organisation.
The call went out to organisations to open their arms to AUT students looking for 100 hours of voluntary work experience to learn valuable life skills such as communication and collaboration in the ‘real world’. All invaluable experience to add to CVs and to open the door to job interviews further down the line.
The response was overwhelming with organisations offering over 200 project based short term roles for AUT students.
The employer response has been so positive AUT Studentforce placements have been opened up to all AUT students wanting to develop or utilise valuable transferable skills, such as communication and collaboration in the working world.
Many of the roles involve social media, marketing and events while others are social services support roles, sport coordination and project management administration. Organisations include a convention centres, business associations and business services through to sporting organisations, social enterprises and charities.
To be given access to a large variety of possible placements and the opportunity to make business and future career connections has been invaluable, says final year English and New Media student Ella-Maree Fairweather.
“With the increased stress during this uncertainty, knowing AUT has my back and is doing its best to support myself and my fellow students with our work experience placements has been the biggest comfort.”
Ella-Maree has landed a role with Organic Initiative, and one she feels will increase her chances of gaining a social media or digital marketing position once she graduates.
“I could see that the tasks would be challenging, a great experience and give me the opportunity to put what I’ve learnt into practice. After some research, I realised the company values aligned with my personal ones and I had an interest in the business.”
Mary Yang, Bachelor of International Hospitality Management student, who applied successfully for one of two visitor host roles at New Zealand Maritime Museum, said the AUT Studentforce idea is very helpful and not difficult to apply for. She is very pleased with her placement at the museum.
“Tourism and Event Management are my majors so working at a museum enables me to enhance visitor experiences and familiarise visitors with the history and exhibitions etc.”
The Employability team supported students by helping them create professional CVs and LinkedIn profiles to attract prospective employers.
Rebecca Lowery, Director of Development, AUT Corporate Development & Support Group Admin was impressed with how the AUT Internz team and our AUT Employability Relationship Managers took up the initiative to use their skills and industry contacts to bridge the needs of employers and students.
“With borders closed and the job market in New Zealand down, I’m also sure the relationships they are building with industry will no doubt create more opportunities for AUT and students going forward,” she says.
The voluntary unpaid placements are for 50 or 100 volunteering hours, with the focus on transferable skills and helping the organisation get ahead. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org