06/05/2016 - 11:03

Taking the next step

06/05/2016 - 11:03

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PHOTO ESSAY: With our special report into Universities in next week’s paper, Business News has taken the opportunity to speak to some recent and soon to be university graduates about what looms ahead as they make the big transition into the workforce.

Taking the next step

With our special report into Universities in next week’s paper, Business News has taken the opportunity to speak to some recent and soon to be university graduates about what looms ahead as they make the big transition into the workforce. Our photographer Attila Csaszar met with ten students from the state's five universities.

 



Jess Van Zwam

University of Western Australia

1) Have you had success finding graduate employment?

I’m still in the process of applying for graduate programs, and haven’t found success yet.

2) Is it in the field you’d like to work in?

I’m applying for a lot of programs in policy around Australia in my field, which is political science. I have yet to find many jobs in marketing, which is my other major, especially in Perth.

3) Is it a tough market? Are you optimistic?

It is a pretty tough market, especially for marketing grad jobs. I might have more luck later on applying for entry-level jobs when I finish uni. I remain pretty optimistic that I’ll find something, perhaps just not exactly what I’m looking for at the moment.

4) Did uni prepare you adequately for entering the work force?

I feel like it did to a reasonable extent. I could have done with a lot more practical work in marketing during my degree and would have liked to have a better idea of what a marketing job will be like. However, I still feel like there are a lot of gaps in my knowledge and feel apprehensive about applying to some positions.

5) Do you expect to continue your career in Perth or will you move away?

I would hopefully like to get a grad job interstate and live there for a few years to get some work experience. I will likely move back to Perth if I do get a job interstate or overseas, however the job market for my areas of specialisation isn’t particularly big in Perth.

 

Louis Williams

Murdoch University

1) Have you had success finding graduate employment?

I have been successful in finding graduate employment …. via a route that differs from the norm. I first met with ODG Solutions, a psychological organisational consultancy, at a night in industry where Mark, the director of ODG Solutions was referring to how tough an industry consulting is and how you need to find a mentor to learn under. The next day I sent in my resume, and applied to work free of charge as intern (he was not advertising for any students, just a guest speaker). My story is not unique. Laura, a colleague, also applied for an internship at ODG Solutions and also gained employment. I would stress to other graduates and those about to graduate to seek internships, and do well in that internship. No employer will reject free labour, and if they don’t hire you after interning its okay, you have gained valuable experience in the industry that will separate you from other candidates.
Currently I am still studying psychology in my fourth year and expected to graduate mid year. I wish to pursue masters in organisational psychology and become an organisational psychologist, while working part time under ODG Solutions.

2) Is it in the field you'd like to work in?

Yes, it is. However, consulting is something I would like to do after working in the industry as an organisational psychologist for two years.

3) Is it a tough market? Are you optimistic?

It is a tough market, but learning at ODG Solutions and gaining a variety of skills has made me very optimistic. Being involved in various departments in the company from marketing one day, to researching statistical findings of change leadership the next, to web design, has all been a beneficial learning experience.

4) Did uni prepare you adequately for entering the workforce?

I would say Murdoch University has taught me very well.

5) Do you expect to continue your career in Perth or will you move away?
For the next four years I expect to stay in Perth, working at ODG Solutions part time while studying for my masters.

 

Kirra Johnson

Edith Cowan University

1) Have you had success finding graduate employment?

I have applied for graduate nurse programs and been through the interview process multiple times; unfortunately I have not found employment within the hospital setting, which is my first choice. However, I have employment opportunities in aged care facilities and day surgery clinics for when I graduate in two months’ time.

2) Is it in the field you’d like to work in?

I am a nursing student, and while these employment opportunities are within the nursing industry, they are not in my chosen field of nursing. I am interested in theatre nursing and I hope these opportunities with aged care facilities and day surgery clinics will help me gain experience and be a stepping stone to future employment in my chosen field.

3) Is it a tough market? Are you optimistic?

As a graduate nurse it is tough; there are a limited number of graduate programs for a mass amount of students. The majority of nursing jobs require at least a year’s experience and if you do not have a graduate program to kick-start your career it does make it difficult to find a job in the area you are interested in. Although I have not been successful in gaining employment with a graduate program, I do have other options to gain experience with aged care facilities and day surgery clinics. I hope it will be enough to lead me in the right direction.

4) Did uni prepare you adequately for entering the workforce?

With my degree I believe I am well prepared for entering the workforce. With the clinical placements, as students we are able to gain experience within the workforce and apply theory into practice. We also had professional portfolio, professional capacity building units that are there to help us construct appealing CVs, prepare for job interviews and set goals to gain a career in our chosen field.

5) Do you expect to continue your career in Perth or will you move away?

If I am unsuccessful with finding employment as a theatre nurse, the area I am most interested in, within the next three years I will move to rural areas or to the eastern states to seek employment. Although I would prefer to stay in Perth as my close family and friends are here, moving away will be an exciting opportunity as well.

 

Darci Miller

The University of Notre Dame Australia

1) Have you had success finding graduate employment?

Yes, I am a health promotion officer at Mentally Healthy WA on the Act-Belong-Commit Campaign. I have a six-month contract as one of the recipients of health promotion graduate scholarship from The Australian Health Promotion Association (WA Branch) in conjunction with the Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation (Healthway).

I am working on a project called the Act-Belong-Commit Youth Connectors.

This program involves teaching young people about the Act-Belong-Commit principles for good mental health, and upskilling them to be able to assist and encourage peers to engage in mentally healthy activities.

But after my six-month contract finishes, if we are not successful in finding funds to continue my project I will have to start looking for work all over again. And even after receiving my graduate scholarship the possibilities of finding work are limited in the health promotion industry due to lack of funding and the government freeze at the moment.

2) Is it in the field you’d like to work in?

Yes, I was very lucky and got a job in the field I wanted to work in. But I believe that was due to a lot of extra work outside of uni.

3) Is it a tough market? Are you optimistic?

Yes it is a really tough market; out of all of my friends who have graduated I am one of the only people who is working in the field they have studied in. Lots of my friends have been trying for over a year with no luck and are still doing the part-time work they did at uni.

Yes I was optimistic but I was prepared to wait for a good six months to a year to find work in my field.

4) Did uni prepare you adequately for entering the workforce?

Yes and no. Notre Dame was a great university, I loved my time there and I learned a lot. But I don’t think they prepare us very well to meet the lack of jobs and how to complete with all of the other graduates. I did a lot of extra volunteering, networking, and additional study. I believe that is the only reason I have a job now, just my uni degree allow would not have got me a job, especially as in my industry, health promotion, there have been major cuts in funding and there is a government freeze on jobs.  

5) Do you expect to continue your career in Perth or will you move away?

Yes I would like to continue working in Perth but I will move wherever I can find a job in my field. 

 

Jenny Ljunggren

Murdoch University

1) Have you had success finding graduate employment? 2) Is it in the field you'd like to work in?

I was fortunate enough to get my first job in marketing a year ago through a recommendation from a friend, and since then I have moved on to another marketing position within a different industry. I do enjoy what I currently work with but my goal has always been to get a job in public relations or communications after graduating, so that is what I will be looking at after uni finishes.  

3) Is it a tough market? Are you optimistic?

I definitely think that the shift in the market has affected job prospects in most industries, and public relations hasn’t been immune to that. As I am an international student I have always known that I will have to work twice as hard to get the same opportunities as the Australians in my classes, but I am actually very optimistic when it comes to getting a job in my field after graduating. I think that a tougher market might be a positive thing sometimes as it forces employers to make more strategic decisions when hiring graduates. Fewer opportunities does not mean that there are no opportunities, it just means that we have to work harder for them.  

4) Did uni prepare you adequately for entering the workforce?

Our teachers have been telling us since the first day that the PR market is tough and if we don’t put ourselves out there and take every opportunity there is, we will struggle getting a job in our industry. I appreciate that honesty and it definitely made me work even harder to get internships and industry experience while studying. So I do feel that my teachers at uni have instilled the confidence I need to enter my industry, but I very much believe that getting prepared for the workforce is something we have to do ourselves. University is only going to get you so far; at some point you need to be motivated enough to do the hard yards yourself.

5) Do you expect to continue your career in Perth or will you move away?

I love Perth and it would be great to get a job here, but considering that I will need to find an employer that is willing to sponsor me when my graduate visa runs out in a year and a half, I think I might have more opportunities over east. So at the moment I am looking at opportunities both here and in Melbourne, in the end I will just go where the work is.   

 

George Brown

University of Western Australia

1) Have you had success finding graduate employment?

No, not yet.

2) Is it in the field you’d like to work in?

One of the hardest things I have had to deal with is looking for jobs that are significantly outside of the subject areas that I studied for my university degrees, and not in the fields that I would want to work in long term. While virtually all of the skills I learned are highly transferable, it is a bit demoralising that so few jobs are directly related to what I studied.

3) Is it a tough market? Are you optimistic?

It is definitely a tough and highly competitive market right now. This is especially the case due to the current public sector hiring freeze in WA, combined with the across-the-board decrease in economic activity triggered by the slowing resources sector. At the past few careers fairs I have attended this year, for instance, the number of attending firms was definitely much lower than previous years, including the noticeable absences of several traditionally very active recruiters of graduates. Although I am hopeful, I find it very difficult to be optimistic in the current economic climate.

4) Did uni prepare you adequately for entering the workforce?

In some ways yes, but in many ways not at all. As far as the positives are concerned, university was immeasurably helpful in terms of developing my interpersonal skills from the state they were in coming out of high school, such as through my involvement with social clubs and sports. However, the major thing that university did not prepare me for was the difficulties with transitioning from university into the workforce. Related to this, it was an unpleasant surprise to find that even with graduate programs, academic qualifications were not weighted nearly as highly as I had expected them to be, and so my general lack of substantial work experience left me significantly underprepared for this transitional period.

5) Do you expect to continue your career in Perth or will you move away?

I would definitely prefer to stay in Perth as far as my career is concerned, although I suspect that eventually I will have to strongly consider moving elsewhere if I want to fulfill several of my longer-term career objectives.

 

Suzanna Olsen

University of Western Australia

1) Have you had success finding graduate employment?

Yes, fortunately I was exposed to numerous job opportunities during my time as an undergraduate student within the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health at UWA. Thus, prior to the completion of my bachelor of science degree at the end of 2015, I commenced working as an exercise coach for UWA’s pediatric exercise programs – Unigym, Thriving and Uni-Active. I’m also currently employed by Superfins WA as a swim coach for people with disabilities, and have been involved with the organisation since undertaking my first semester of professional practice (practicum) in early 2014.

2) Is it in the field you’d like to work in?

So far I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working in the field of sport and exercise coaching. I’m very passionate about sport, exercise, and mental health, so any career that allows me to closely work with individuals to promote those passions really energises me.

3) Is it a tough market? Are you optimistic?

I think any market presents as challenging in this day and age, but I remain optimistic regardless. I’m grateful to have obtained degree-related employment prior to becoming a graduate, as I imagine it’d be a potentially arduous experience otherwise for those struggling to find graduate employment. 

4) Did university prepare you adequately for entering the workforce?

I think overall my university experience has adequately prepared me for entering the workforce. Though, depending on the type of job I choose to actively seek and apply for, I can’t say with complete confidence that I’d be able to apply myself successfully. My degree majors (sport science, exercise and health) present a multitude of career prospects, so depending on what I pursue, I could perform poorly or competently. 

5) Do you expect to continue your career in Perth or will you move abroad?

For the time being, I’m content continuing my career and future studies here in Perth. However, as a fond traveller and after making a number of eye-opening visits to Europe and Asia within the past few years, I’ve definitely considered moving abroad and don’t doubt that it will be something I’ll attempt in the coming years. I think many Perth graduates (Australians in general) find the concept of moving abroad quite appealing, but the reality of it is that it’s expensive and inconvenient.

 

Nicole Schreck

Curtin University

1) Have you had success finding graduate employment?

I’m thinking about different options and I’ve done work experience with a newspaper and radio station.

2) Is it in the field you’d like to work in?

I’d really like to work in journalism, in TV broadcasting.

3) Is it a tough market? Are you optimistic?

I’m a lot more optimistic than I used to be. I initially heard it was hard to get a job in journalism but I’ve seen jobs advertised and have picked up work experience. You just have to find your own way.

4) Did uni prepare you adequately for entering the workforce?

During work experience I applied some of the skills I had learned. I found uni gave me some important skills that I needed to know, ones that would be difficult to learn on the job.

5) Do you expect to continue your career in Perth or will you move away?

I’m open to all opportunities. If I need to move for work, I will.

 

 

Matt McDowell

University of Western Australia

1) Have you had success finding graduate employment?

Currently have not found graduate employment but am part way through the hiring process for a few companies.

2) Is it in the field you’d like to work in?

My preferred field would be human resources but I’m open to other positions such as public policy, future leaders programs, and generalist work in the public sector.

3) Is it a tough market? Are you optimistic?

The market is very tough for HR graduates at the moment with no organisation taking on large numbers. I am yet to find a job despite having completed two relevant degrees, extensive extracurricular activities, over five years continuous work in a grocery store, and five months’ work experience in HR.
There are a number of companies advertising through graduate websites, but given the number of generic rejection emails rolling through I would have to say my optimism has largely vanished.

4) Did uni prepare you adequately for entering the workforce?

I have learned more useful job knowledge in my five months in HR than I learned in six years at uni. Uni was useful for developing skills in formal writing, research, as well as giving and preparing presentations. Uni has been very theoretically based and historically focused.

5) Do you expect to continue your career in Perth or will you move away?

 At this point I would be anticipating a move to Sydney or Melbourne, as that’s where the majority of the jobs seem to be. There’s a small amount in Brisbane and a small amount of public sector work in Canberra, but these show even less promise than the few jobs I’ve seen based in Perth.

 

 

Rebecca Kristoff 

Curtin University

1) Have you had success finding graduate employment?

I’ve had a bit of a look for jobs but everything asks for experience. It’s difficult to find places that offer experience when you’re a student, and to then tie it in with work and study. The jobs I’ve found seem promising.

2) Is it in the field you’d like to work in?

I’m looking for jobs in marketing and advertising, as well as other creative industries.

3) Is it a tough market? Are you optimistic?

I think there are definitely opportunities out there, but sometimes you need to go further than home. I’ll move if I have to.

4) Did uni prepare you adequately for entering the workforce?

There are a lot of skills I’ve learned at uni that aren’t actual units – time management and working with others are two big ones.

5) Do you expect to continue your career in Perth or will you move away?

There’s a lot more jobs in a place like Melbourne but there’s also a lot more people. It would be nice to work here (in Perth) but I understand it’s not always possible.

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