Work-ready initiative attracts sponsors

07 Aug, 2018
Janet Faulding presenting the prize to Kelly D’Mello.
SEEK NZ General Manager Janet Faulding (right) presenting the prize to Kelly D’Mello.

A unique initiative, the AUT Edge Award is designed to give graduates the edge as they enter the workplace. Last Tuesday (31 July), another 32 students graduated with the award.

The award acknowledges student achievement outside the lecture theatre by recognising work-readiness and individual achievements in volunteering, leadership and challenges.

This year the award has attracted the sponsorship of five industry partners offering prizes for top Edge Award students across the categories of Volunteering, Impactful Leadership, Personal Development and Community Impact. There is also an Overall Achievement prize.

The 2018 industry sponsors are Auckland Council, YUDU, Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand, SEEK Volunteer and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

“The inclusion of employer sponsored prizes lifts the kudos of the award further for students. For employers, it creates opportunities for organisations to have first-hand contact with graduates who are demonstrating top employability skills,” says Director of Employability, Anna Williams.

Each prize includes a workplace experience, or time with a significant senior staff member.

“Organisations have been imaginative and generous with their support of the AUT Edge Award offering prizes that include their invaluable time and knowledge, as well as a cash or voucher prizes.”

Kelly D’Mello was awarded the Volunteering prize for not only clocking over 65 hours volunteering across a number of organisations during the award, but continuing to volunteer at Elizabeth Knox Home and Hospital once her award commitments there had ended. She says being involved in the community and giving her time to help others is something that has always been important to her.

“I was honoured and proud to receive the prize. I really love my volunteering at Elizabeth Knox. I love how the simple act of giving up just two hours a week makes a difference in the lives of residents to the point when they look forward to your arrival every week. I was also recently asked to be team leader at Knox so I'm really excited about what that role will involve.”

Janet Faulding, General Manager of Seek NZ who sponsored the volunteering prize, says research has shown that 90% of all employers will employ someone with volunteering over someone who has not done volunteering.

“When employers are presented with CVs with exactly the same qualifications, your point of difference is your volunteering.”

The numbers

The AUT Edge Award has now been running for two years. The 32 students that graduated with the AUT Edge Award on 31 July take the number of AUT Edge Award graduates to 83. Another 1,700 students are progressing through the award.

Over 16,000 volunteer hours have been completed and 7,000 hours of leadership and challenge.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the AUT Edge Award, contact

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