Academia enhances social change tools

19 Apr, 2018
Social change campaigner Richie Hardcore

AUT students in the social sciences, psychology, criminology, international studies and languages were treated to a lively emotional keynote speech on resilience before mixing and mingling with employers at the inaugural Culture and Society Career Fair.

One of keynote speaker Richie Hardcore’s core messages to the culture and society student audience was that a good academic background provides the framework upon which to drive passion about social justice.

Coming from a difficult family background, Richie was no stranger to adversity growing up. He eventually found his way with competitive contact sports, in which he experienced modest success. The discipline and structure of those sports gave him confidence to eventually go to university where he studied political science and Spanish.

“Going to university literally changed my life. Academic understanding gave me the tools to do the things I do now,” he explained.

Those “things” include being on the Rape Prevention Education board and taking on a White Ribbon NZ ambassador role that led to him presenting on male violence at parliamentary select committees.

Deputy Dean of Culture and Society Linda O’Neill says Richie was walking the talk for students studying culture and society qualifications.

“As Richie says, it is not so much about the job you go into but about the impact you can have in our society.”

Resilience was a big part of Richie’s message, she added.

“We can learn a lot from Richie, particularly about resilience and the importance of remaining positive no matter what challenges we face in life. We must make sure we don’t shrink from adversity but grow.”

Meeting employers

After Richie’s presentation, students flocked out into the inaugural Culture and Society Career Fair next door. Over 160 students made the most of the opportunity to network with the 15 employers to discuss graduate opportunities, internships and other employment potential.

Organisations included Auckland Council, NZEI, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Recreate NZ and the NZ Defence Service.

Language and culture senior lecturer Sonja Gallagher says the fair offered great value for students, giving them the opportunity to find out about both short and long-term career opportunities that they may not have previously considered or knew even existed.

“It was also a valuable exercise for organisations, such as the Consulate General of Japan. They run the JET programme and offer postgraduate scholarships to study in Japan. They were keen to be able to attend an event where they could be exposed to a wide range of students.”

A Match Ready event for culture and society students ran earlier in the week to help students prepare for networking with employers at the Thursday event.

Contact us to find out more

Employers interested in participating in employability events at AUT can contact the Employability and Careers team.

Website search