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Simon White – Wild South Student Ambassador

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Simon White – Wild South Student Ambassador

Applying to be the University of Otago Student Ambassador was probably one of the best decisions I could have made at university. As a young professional in the HR world it can be quite hard to graduate with a job, and I believe being a student ambassador has helped me pave my way into a HR career. The three greatest highlights for me this year as student ambassador would be, attending the 2016 HRINZ NZ HR Conference & Expo, networking with HR practitioners in Dunedin and attending committee meetings to determine the future direction of the Wild South Branch.

I am currently working as an Operations Intern at BDO Gisborne. Having the experience of attending the NZ HR Conference and networking with practitioners has increased my confidence and maturity. In the HR world, compliance, meticulousness and work-ethic are a must. By being exposed to the inner-workings of the HR world pre-employment, I felt as If I had an understanding of the expectations people had for interns working in the HR space. As a result I have often met, and exceeded my manager’s expectations, something of which I believe is very important as a young professional.

The future of HR is something that I find very interesting, and my opinion of this is quite polarized. On one side of the coin we have automation threating labour intensive jobs. Yet, on the other side of the coin we are experiencing changes in workplace culture that allows employers to be more flexible and a slow deterioration of corporate culture, increasing employee well-being is now a focus of employers. To me these seem like opposing features of the future of HR. One thing can be for certain in HR, and that is that focusing on people and promoting internal learning and development will continue to increase retention and boost business productivity.

I was originally drawn towards HR so I could make the lives of employees more fulfilling. Over time I have seen an increasing need for HR professionals who can relate to their employers and are approachable and interpersonal. I hope to someday be the CHRO of a NGO which focuses its business on improving the world’s consumptions culture and making the world a better place for our emergent generations.

Two things that I was very keen on achieving in my time as a HRINZ student ambassador was lowering student membership fees and having an HR student party. Dunedin students are notoriously thrifty and I thought lowering membership fees would be a simple way of increasing engagement.  Having an HR student party was a great idea in theory, however due to my university workload and the organisation involved, I decided to make this a low priority and in hindsight I should of just went for it!