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2015 HRINZ Student Ambassador Reflections: Harriet Riley

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2015 HRINZ Student Ambassador Reflections: Harriet Riley

In this post Harriet Riley looks back on her time as a HRINZ Student Ambassador for Victoria University.


As a final year HR student I saw that how I would begin my career in Human Resources would largely depend on how I spent my last year at university. I knew that I would have to challenge myself outside of the classroom and work really hard in order to compete for those sought after graduate roles. Becoming a Student Ambassador presented me with new challenges and competencies and I am very grateful to HRINZ for providing me with such an opportunity.


A core part of the role of a Student Ambassador is to promote HRINZ and their events to HR students in lectures and tutorials. Public speaking is an area that I am still developing in and it was great to have the opportunity to practice this skill over the year (albeit nervously!).

Another aspect of the role is organising events that students can participate in and benefit from. I am particularly proud of the student job search events that I organised alongside Laura Feathertone the other Wellington ambassador. We organised two experienced HR/recruiters, Richard Westney and Julie Barron, to come and share their knowledge to students who would be looking for their first job at the end of the year. The night was a huge success as Richard and Julie provided invaluable industry knowledge and jobseekers tips. It was so rewarding at the end of the evening to see students thanking Richard and Julie for their time and know that organising this event had been really beneficial for them.


As a Student Ambassador you are part of your local branch committee which meets regularly and gives you the chance to meet and work with the experienced HR practitioners who make up the committee. You will also get the opportunity to meet the other Student Ambassadors at the HRINZ NZ HR Conference. Not only was this conference thought provoking and interesting but hanging out with the other ambassadors was really fun and gave us the chance to share ideas! New Zealand is supposedly a networkers dream and becoming a Student Ambassador gave me the chance to connect with so many great people who I wouldn’t have met otherwise.


The future of HR that I see is less administrative and more strategically focused. The reputation that previous generations of bad HR have earnt the industry is going to be forgotten as we focus on things like flexible working practices, employer branding and candidate experience. It’s an exciting time to be entering the HR workforce, I’ve just started in the HR team at Cigna Insurance and I love catching up with the other HRINZ student members to hear how they are getting on in their roles.


The HRINZ Student Ambassador programme provided me with so many development opportunities and introduced me to so many great people that I would strongly urge any passionate HR student to apply for the programme.