Every now and then I become nostalgic and reminisce the ‘good old days’ of being a university student. It felt like a simple life (geez, I’m sounding old now!). Remember the days when your entire life could fit into the boot of a 20-year-old car. Remember those times when your main focus was on your next night out and how many beers and 2-minute noodles you could squeeze out of your pay packet from your part time job. Ah yes, those were the days… or were they?
When we think back to those times we can easily forget the challenges of choosing a career path. Remember the high school days of school career councillors passing you large volumes of tertiary study options from all over the country? Remember the anxiety and stress of trying to get enough marks to get into a course that you wanted to do? Remember hoping that the course would actually turn into something tangible so that you could (hopefully) someday live a lifestyle in line with your values?
So now you’re in your course and whilst chowing down on 2-minute noodles and trying to put fuel in your car, you complete your course and there you have it, you have a degree, congratulations! Oh, but wait, whilst you may have a degree, you have a five-figure student loan and no job to go to… it’s not all that it seems when you put it like that.
As someone that has regularly pursued further study, I have had the privilege of engaging in academic circles with students of all ages and backgrounds. What consistently inspires me is the enthusiasm and energy that students bring to class and how it transforms into environments of idea generation. Despite the student debt, despite the uncertainty of job prospects in an ever-changing world, these students continue to demonstrate resilience and determination to explore their passion for learning and in turn, seeking greater work opportunities.
I have recently spent time professionally with graduates via a fantastic graduate talent program through a local university. Essentially the program helps provide students and graduates with jobs, internships and work experiences by partnering with local businesses. The way I see it, it is a win-win for everyone involved. The university helps place the student in a job aligned to their study, this helps the university demonstrate linkage between study and vocation. The student gets a job, so they get to start contributing to their chosen industry and starts earning money (so long 2-minute noodles) and the business gets a fantastic resource who brings the enthusiasm and energy from their academic pursuits into your organisation.
I can’t speak highly enough of my experience in this program! The graduates that we have interviewed and subsequently employed here at our Melbourne office have helped contribute enormously to the business and what we are striving for. Whatever industry you are in, you’ll often be trying to provide goods or a service and trying to do this in the best way possible. New ideas, innovation, challenging the status quo; these are all elements which the graduate can bring to the table, adding real value to your business.
Yes, mistakes will be made, yes you will need to spend time training these graduates, but it’s important for us long-termers in the workforce to occasionally take stock of where we are and how we got here. It makes for a great opportunity to give back and share our own learnings.
Remember – just like us and those before us – these graduates just need a start, a door to open so they can walk through. I encourage you to have a chat to your local university and see what graduate programs they have. I guarantee that you won’t regret it.
BPD Zenith is currently recruiting for its UK Graduate Program.
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