Why do an Employability Award?

2022 AUT Employability Award prizewinners

Why do an employability award when you are already busy with study, sport, socialising etc? See what our AUT Edge Award and Beyond AUT graduates have to say about what they have gained from doing the awards.Sheldon Hall EY Leadership prizewinner

Designed to help students improve their communication skills and confidence, build connections to their community and develop other skills, the AUT Edge and Beyond AUT Awards have become treasured by those that sign up..

Sheldon Hall (right), who won the AUT Edge Award Leadership in 2022, says he learned how to embrace challenge and change.

“I’ve come to know that challenges aren’t things to fear, but rather things to embrace and learn from. Challenges have helped shape my own leadership skills and capabilities, teaching me a greater understanding of who I am as someone who is Māori, Pasifika, a designer and an aspiring leader."

Now a business design analyst for Accenture, he is supporting the next generation of young Māori and Pasifika entering the workforce, particularly in the tech industry.

Khooshi Patel (below), who won the AUT Edge Award Volunteering prize ended up volunteering 500 hours over and above the 50 hours required because she found she really loved all the skills she gained and the people she met, asKhooshi Patel, Volunteering prizewinner at AUT Edge Award well as giving back to the community.

“I am forever grateful to each and every volunteering experience that I’ve had because its really boosted my personal growth and development and helped me become more humble and thankful for what I have and opened my mind to learning more and continuing to give back to the community."

Karan Patel (below right), recipient of the AUT Edge Award Personal Growth prize, overcame many uncertainties through the award to greatly improve his confidence and employability as a Deaf student.AUT Edge Award winner of Personal Growth Prize Karan Patel

His confidence grew to the point he took on the advocacy role of AUTSA disability affairs, a role he would never have considered before doing the award.

"I used to let opportunities slip me by. Through the Edge Award I summoned by courage to inch outside my comfort zone and my confidence has grown," he says.

Etienne Tapueluelu (below), recipient of the Beyond AUT Award prize, went from someone sitting in the background to being Business, Economics and Law representative for year three and postgraduate students.

Etienne Tapueluelu receiving the Beyond AUT prizeOver his time at AUT he completed both the AUT Edge Award (undergraduate) and the Beyond AUT Award (postgraduate).

"This journey has been rewarding, I have learned so much about myself," he says.

From the other side

"I'm told many students sign up for the awards thinking of it as a box ticking exercise but quickly end up on an absolute journey of learning, knowledge, reflection that makes them stand out from the crowd after leaving AUT," says Anna Williams, Director of Student Employability.

'They develop graduate ready CVs and relevant LinkedIn profiles. They know what to expect at a job interview and can network their way around a room, deliver a unique elevator pitch and - most importantly - know what their passion is."

Vice-Chancellor Professor Damon Salesa, who addressed the graduation, spoke of theStudent Director Employability Anna Williams importance of the ‘C’ skills developed through the AUT Employability Awards; critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, collaboration, cooperation, cultural intelligence and caring and empathy.

“Not only does it make you a better employee, it makes you a better family member, better friend and better member of society,” says the Vice-Chancellor, who praised the students for their resilience as well as their generosity with their time and energy.

The AUT Employability Awards have gone from strength to strength since the inception of the AUT Edge Award in 2016 and Beyond AUT Award (postgraduate) in 2019.

Throughout that time students have delivered over 55,000 volunteering hours and 38,000 leadership hours to organisations as diverse as Red Cross, SPCA, Greenpeace, Girl Guiding, Conservation Volunteer NZ, Recreate, City Mission, Sunday Blessing, NZ Olympic Committee, TEDx Auckland.

They’ve also participated in student ambassador and RUOK programmes, AUTSA clubs and events and other aspects of AUT’s academic and social calendar.

Find out more about the AUT Edge Award and Beyond AUT Award here