Students looking for inspiration on how to navigate change and employment after the disruption of COVID-19 found plenty to inspire them at the Employability Matters Week run online by Employability and Careers.
Hearing directly from businesses that pivoted to survive during lockdown was a great experience during Employability Matters Week, says AUT student Rakavi Jeyakumar.
“I particularly liked hearing from Snap Rentals, StampnGo and Nanogirl Labs. It’s not often you can hear and benefit from such recent learnings, especially without paying for it. It was also good to hear from Eat My Lunch because I’m hoping to create a social enterprise of my own through the X Challenge,” says Rakavi.
These businesses were part of Employability Matters Week, an event that drew together a number of innovative Kiwi business survivors, leadership speakers and graduate recruiters late May online to share insights with AUT students.
The event speakers drew on their own experiences of resilience and survival to encourage AUT students to stay current and relevant by building new skills and being adaptable about their career paths. For example, Nanogirl Lab created online and TV science and maths activities, Eat My Lunch produced food boxes for needy families and Snap Rentals set up a grocery delivery service.
Student Callum Van Rooyen says a common theme was the importance of understanding who you are, and how your experiences contribute to where you will go next.
“Everyone said that, no matter if it was an intern, a senior employee or the owner of the business. None of the speakers saw the current global pandemic as an obstacle per say, but something that would change how they approach what's next.”
AUT employability relationship manager Alex Booth says a key theme over the week was the importance of introspection during lockdown.
“Employers were really encouraging students to take the time - while off the merry go round - to really think about their passions, strengths and ambitions and following that, research how these match with employers/opportunities and be ready for when these arise.”
Graduand Jefferson Chen, who attended several sessions, really valued the opportunity to listen to other people’s experiences and stories.
“We usually don’t have time to sit and listen but we got that opportunity with the online Employability Matters Week. A number of sessions inspired and enlightened me a lot on career choice, life planning, time management, you name it,” says Jefferson.
Twenty one external organisations presented on Zoom - attracting 1000 participants over the week – with students frequently engaging in chat and video with the presenters in the last part of each session.
“It was great to have such good student participation with lots of thoughtful questions asked of the presenters,” says AUT employability relationship manager Rachael Marsters.
An inspiring array of students and graduates spoke on Friday at a Student Leadership Conference that concluded Employability Matters Week. They revealed a commitment and passion about the paths they were taking in their lives and how they were dealing with the current challenges.
Hearing those incredible stories makes me feel proud of being one of AUT alumnus, says Jefferson.
“I was so glad to hear those brilliant students and alumnus who illustrated their university life including clubs, volunteering, Edge Award etc..”
Employability Matters was run as an online event by Employability and Careers week in late May.