2015 Student Ambassador Reflections: Leah Barker
In this post Leah Barker, looks back on her time as the 2015 HRINZ Student Ambassador for Massey University (Manawatu).
This student ambassador role must be one of the best opportunities available for students with aspirations to enter the HR workforce. It takes students out of lectures and involves them with professionals who can teach and provide advice for the student’s own career path. The networking opportunities help increase the awareness of the student and can provide further opportunities, particularly with emphasis on a common phrase used in HR, “it’s about who knows you, not who you know”. I also learnt a lot more truths about the industry and received a more realistic view about the pros and cons that may come with a related job from shared stories at HR Connect events. Having this experience helps set expectations about what is to come, combined with information on how to conquer challenges. The student ambassador role also teaches a broader range of skills. I dabbled in event management and public speaking which helped me recognise the level of organisational skills required, something I am continually working on! Networking has also been a hugely valuable skill I have learnt within this role, from meeting the other student ambassadors to making connections with the experts at the NZ HR Conference and Expo.
My advice for the next student ambassador would definitely emphasise the need to converse with student groups to encourage membership and create awareness of events. Although I did this on a few occasions, my slight fear of public speaking particularly meant I avoided this activity; this therefore limited the likelihood of increasing membership. But this is a skill I am eager to improve!
This opportunity has for sure developed a foundation of experience and knowledge to begin my career. This role along with attending the conference has made me excited to enter the workforce. Organisations are increasingly recognising the need for a strong HR team and effective HR management to remain competitive in the forever dynamic environment of business. This is something I am looking forward to contributing to. Human resources is also a continually developing industry with more innovative approaches being discovered to reach job satisfaction and create productive work environments. Its significance, therefore, continues to grow, creating the need for more specialists in this area. The NZ HR Conference and Expo in 2015 brought to light so many related roles but also taught me about recent developments and innovative approaches to achieve specific results.
I would highly recommend this position for any student who wants to take their time at university to the next level and receive experience that will help make job hunting that little bit easier!