Central to Shrewsbury’s commitment to support students in making universities and career choices that are right for them, is making sure that they are well-informed at every stage of the process, and have rounded perspective about the options available to them. The annual Careers day is a key opportunity for Shrewsbury’s current Year 12 students to listen to industry professionals and alumni about their own experiences and advice for students now starting to look at life beyond school.
The Keynote Speaker for this Career’s Day was Associate Professor Shanton Chang of the University of Melbourne. He stressed that the future of jobs is changing so rapidly, that many professions will no longer exist by the time some of the Year 12’s graduate, meaning it is important to study with the intention of attaining skills, not just to secure a job.
Using Google as an example, Professor Chang outlined the different types of professions that exist in that company, stressing that it was not limited to IT types and that Google look for individuals with a broad skill set.
“You must either find your passion or if you don’t know that yet, focus on what you are good at. At the same time, you need to understand the world you live in and build on your interaction skills, networking skills and be mindful of your digital footprint because companies are looking closely at this when it comes to the hiring process”.
Professor Chang himself has spent time with HR in a number of high-profile companies and has learnt there are six things that they are really looking for in potential candidates; competence, confidence, communication skills, knowledge of culture, knowledge of industry and understanding employer expectations.
“Graduates naturally have competence and international students have a broad knowledge of different cultures but you must work on the rest as this is what will set you apart from other applicants. Be prepared to face a lot of rejection but don’t be deterred. Continue to do your research and practice your communication skills wherever possible”.
After Professor Chang’s keynote speech and workshop, students were given the opportunity to hear from a panel of Shrewsbury’s own alumni and ask them questions related to their post-Shrewsbury experiences and how their choices have affected their careers.
Alumna Mai (Class of 2012) advised students to knuckle down and work as hard as they can to achieve the university offers they want the most as it will affect their enjoyment level for the years ahead.
“I was grateful to be surrounded by people who shared my passion [for music] at the Boston Conservatory, Berklee. It helped me to be creative and spurred me on” she exclaimed.
Keanu (Class of 2013) has returned to work at Shrewsbury after trying a number of options after his university studies. He told the Year 12’s that the academic content of their Higher Education experience may not end up being the most important or relevant outcome in terms of the jobs they end up doing in the real world ‘real world’.
“Instead of focusing on one profession do something that you like so you are happy. Be prepared to change and not averse to evolving as this will open up many doors in the future” he said.
The panel discussion then moved to a more intimate affair with small groups of students given time to speak to industry professionals about more defined and personal questions relating to tertiary study and life in the workforce. Students were given the chance to attend up to three workshops with representatives from industries ranging from film, law, tourism and hospitality, to architecture, aid and development, and banking, with questions generally geared towards what one could expect from a job in their respective fields.
As one would expect, the award-winning higher education team at Shrewsbury put together an excellent day which was informative, educational and gave students a lot of food for thought. Information is the best weapon when it comes to choosing universities and careers where an individual can thrive, and the current Year 12 students will certainly have benefited from the insights provided by this year’s speakers, past students and industry experts to help them on their journey.