A role with purpose was the overarching theme for the employers attending the Culture and Society showcase at AUT last Wednesday.
Whether government agencies, or not for profit organisations, the value of having purpose was at the forefront.
Students responded eagerly to the opportunity to talk to the 10 employers with many signing up for volunteering and work experiences as well as investigating graduate opportunities.
Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust social media lead Jana Nee, an AUT graduate, says there were a number of awesome students wanting to know about roles at the trust and how their qualifications could align.
Jana, who also attended a Match Ready panel prior to the day, encouraged students to look around with an open mind, research and see what is available.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do. There were so many options, but as I continued my study I realised I was passionate about indigenous rights and people, particularly young people. That led me to walk in Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust and ask what they did and where I might fit in.”
She says she worked in a number of roles before landing in her social media position, which incorporates creativity with social change.
“Be flexible be able to adapt. These skills are really important, especially in an organisation that changes rapidly. Being open to change is so important and don’t forget that a degree doesn’t make you an expert of everything.”
Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust human resources liaison officer Katrina Neilson says many social sciences students had approached their stand. She pointed out that it’s really important for students get on-the-ground experience through volunteering.
“We do a lot of student placements but we also have some vacant positions at the moment. Our focus is the needs of the whānau when they walk through the door. Our kaiarahi (navigators) listen to those needs and navigate to meet them.”
Splice and Lifewise group HR advisor Chel Heamandez came to the event to make students more aware of the work Lifewise does.
“We do a lot of social work, counselling and family work, as well as a lot with housing and the homeless from age zero up.”
She was pleased with the numbers of students who signed up to find out more about job vacancies and volunteering and work experience placement options.
“Students are interested in a great variety of work, usually with the aim to give back and that is an important driver in this area,” says Chel, who finds using her HR experience for a not-for-profit very fulfilling.
A strong showing of government agencies also presented students the opportunity to learn the difference in focus for each agency and where they might best fit. The government agencies at the event were Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE), Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT), Ministry of Social Development, The Treasury and NZ Defence Force and NZ Police.
Second year BA Education student Marley Havea found the event a real eye opener particularly learning about what the government agencies had to offer.
“I didn’t know all the work these agencies do. Some of the work sounds very exciting, particularly MBIE and MFAT.”
An opportunity to travel and teach through JET, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, was another talking point at the event. JET coordinator Catherine Murata says she wanted to encourage a wider range of graduates to think about the opportunities with JET.
“Our big message about JET is that any graduate can apply, you don’t have to have studied Japanese. We want people from all disciplines, as long as you have a degree. For example, sports science students might be interested because we have sports exchange advisor positions. Tourism students might be interested in the cultural experience. You just need to be interested in Japan.”
Employability relationship manager Rachael Marsters, who organised the event with the Schools of Social Sciences and Public Policy and Language and Culture, says there were a lot of discovery discussions during the two hours as students explored potential job opportunities that their qualifications offered. “All the employers contribute back to their communities in one way or another. We look forward to continuing to grow our partnerships with organisations in this area so students learn about career possibilities within organisations that do awesome work, while employers become more aware of what our students have to offer.”