Why work experience is valuable all around


Getting work experience is a vital first step for HR graduates, but it can also have benefits for the host organisation.

Through the Australian HR Institute (AHRI) Work Experience Placement Program (WEPP) , the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) recently hosted two final year students who made genuine contributions to the government organisation’s new People Strategy 2020. Impressed with the outcomes, the AFSA supervisors have offered to mentor the students as they embark on their HR careers.  We spoke to the participants about what motivated them to get involved with AHRI’s program and what they gained from it.

Supervisor: Merle Mendonca (CAHRI), Assistant Director Human Resources, AFSA
Student: Lucy Green, University of Sydney. Bachelor of Commerce with majors in Human Resources and Marketing

Merle says: It can be challenging for young graduates to secure an entry-level role in HR. This program was a good opportunity to give students real life exposure to HR with a project to work on, and AFSA has certainly benefited. Lucy set up a contact database for our university engagement program and looked at developing a new interview structure to include broader elements, such as job and motivational fit, in addition to assessing technical skills for a role. At first I was a bit apprehensive. When you hear of a work experience student you think: ‘Oh this is going to be very time consuming’, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you set clear expectations, introduce the touch points that are required during that period, you can anticipate an excellent outcome. I gave Lucy the brief and she was able to just run with it.

AHRI structures the program well. It’s not administratively intensive and it’s been a seamless process. We have four students for the current placements and because the AHRI program has been such a success, we’ve now rolled it out to three other offices nationally.

Lucy says: Compared to HR theory, I found the practical, day-to-day work of HR to be very fast paced and always changing. It is also much more specialised in nature. At university I’ve learnt a lot about attraction and selection theory. In this placement I could get involved with real workplace processes and create a behavioural interview template. After completing the AHRI work placement I was able to land a HR internship at an advertising company, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t think I would have been able to get that without my experience at AFSA. My passion for HR stems from my love of working with people and so my hopes for the future are that I have a people-focused career where I get to interact with others and carry out work that really interests me.

Supervisor: Jenni Pain (CAHRI) Assistant Director Human Resources, AFSA
Student: Rishika Qazi, Griffith University. Bachelor of Human Resources and Bachelor of Accounting

Jenni says: I have a HR career that spans nearly 15 years and have learned a lot along the way. This program was a good opportunity to give back to the profession and share experiences with someone new to the world of HR. There were also good opportunities to involve Rishika in the new People Strategy 2020 that we’re implementing. Rishika helped me to coordinate the development of new standard operating procedures and work instructions across the HR functions. She was interested in recruitment and the employee value proposition, and undertook research in that space. Rishika also contributed to the development of our wellbeing strategy and a tender process – she covered a lot!

Since the placement, I’ve met Rishika for a few coffees and we’ve spoken about where she’s heading and applying for graduate positions, the opportunities available to build her experience and prepare her for entering the workforce as a graduate. Rishika helped me too – she brought different ideas and perspectives to the table and asked questions that you don’t always ask yourself. Working with her reminded me to consider that when providing advice, we need to think about how we express things to people who don’t have that same understanding.

Rishka says: My work experience at AFSA was a real eye-opener. It showed me the different fields you can specialise in and gave me a better idea of what a HR professional role is like day-to-day. The placement helped to develop my professional skills such as communication, how to work as part of a team, and manage day-to-day work in a busy corporate environment.  I’ve since done a placement with Sunsuper and with Western Downs Regional Council. The financial background and knowledge from AFSA was also really useful for my current contract with RACQ.

Once I graduate, I’d like to gain as much experience as a HR generalist or a HR administrator. Later on I’d like to specialise in recruitment and selection, HR information systems or payroll. I highly recommend AHRI’s WEPP for any HR student.

This article originally appeared in HRM September 2017 issue.

AHRI’s Work Experience Placement Program connects organisations with promising HR talent. Applications for organisation members are now open and close 29 December 2017.

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Kim McIver
Kim McIver
4 years ago

I’ve completed two placements through AHRI, airservices in 2016, and I just finished my placement with ABS. I understand the difficulty of getting that first role in a new career path, so the work experience program will be invaluable to help me get my ‘foot in the door’, so to speak. I originally applied for the program with that reason in mind, but it’s also been incredibly useful to see all the theory I have learnt at uni in practice in an organisation. It’s all well and good to learn best practice, but each organisation is unique, and a contingency… Read more »

More on HRM

Why work experience is valuable all around


Getting work experience is a vital first step for HR graduates, but it can also have benefits for the host organisation.

Through the Australian HR Institute (AHRI) Work Experience Placement Program (WEPP) , the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) recently hosted two final year students who made genuine contributions to the government organisation’s new People Strategy 2020. Impressed with the outcomes, the AFSA supervisors have offered to mentor the students as they embark on their HR careers.  We spoke to the participants about what motivated them to get involved with AHRI’s program and what they gained from it.

Supervisor: Merle Mendonca (CAHRI), Assistant Director Human Resources, AFSA
Student: Lucy Green, University of Sydney. Bachelor of Commerce with majors in Human Resources and Marketing

Merle says: It can be challenging for young graduates to secure an entry-level role in HR. This program was a good opportunity to give students real life exposure to HR with a project to work on, and AFSA has certainly benefited. Lucy set up a contact database for our university engagement program and looked at developing a new interview structure to include broader elements, such as job and motivational fit, in addition to assessing technical skills for a role. At first I was a bit apprehensive. When you hear of a work experience student you think: ‘Oh this is going to be very time consuming’, but I was pleasantly surprised. If you set clear expectations, introduce the touch points that are required during that period, you can anticipate an excellent outcome. I gave Lucy the brief and she was able to just run with it.

AHRI structures the program well. It’s not administratively intensive and it’s been a seamless process. We have four students for the current placements and because the AHRI program has been such a success, we’ve now rolled it out to three other offices nationally.

Lucy says: Compared to HR theory, I found the practical, day-to-day work of HR to be very fast paced and always changing. It is also much more specialised in nature. At university I’ve learnt a lot about attraction and selection theory. In this placement I could get involved with real workplace processes and create a behavioural interview template. After completing the AHRI work placement I was able to land a HR internship at an advertising company, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t think I would have been able to get that without my experience at AFSA. My passion for HR stems from my love of working with people and so my hopes for the future are that I have a people-focused career where I get to interact with others and carry out work that really interests me.

Supervisor: Jenni Pain (CAHRI) Assistant Director Human Resources, AFSA
Student: Rishika Qazi, Griffith University. Bachelor of Human Resources and Bachelor of Accounting

Jenni says: I have a HR career that spans nearly 15 years and have learned a lot along the way. This program was a good opportunity to give back to the profession and share experiences with someone new to the world of HR. There were also good opportunities to involve Rishika in the new People Strategy 2020 that we’re implementing. Rishika helped me to coordinate the development of new standard operating procedures and work instructions across the HR functions. She was interested in recruitment and the employee value proposition, and undertook research in that space. Rishika also contributed to the development of our wellbeing strategy and a tender process – she covered a lot!

Since the placement, I’ve met Rishika for a few coffees and we’ve spoken about where she’s heading and applying for graduate positions, the opportunities available to build her experience and prepare her for entering the workforce as a graduate. Rishika helped me too – she brought different ideas and perspectives to the table and asked questions that you don’t always ask yourself. Working with her reminded me to consider that when providing advice, we need to think about how we express things to people who don’t have that same understanding.

Rishka says: My work experience at AFSA was a real eye-opener. It showed me the different fields you can specialise in and gave me a better idea of what a HR professional role is like day-to-day. The placement helped to develop my professional skills such as communication, how to work as part of a team, and manage day-to-day work in a busy corporate environment.  I’ve since done a placement with Sunsuper and with Western Downs Regional Council. The financial background and knowledge from AFSA was also really useful for my current contract with RACQ.

Once I graduate, I’d like to gain as much experience as a HR generalist or a HR administrator. Later on I’d like to specialise in recruitment and selection, HR information systems or payroll. I highly recommend AHRI’s WEPP for any HR student.

This article originally appeared in HRM September 2017 issue.

AHRI’s Work Experience Placement Program connects organisations with promising HR talent. Applications for organisation members are now open and close 29 December 2017.

guest
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kim McIver
Kim McIver
4 years ago

I’ve completed two placements through AHRI, airservices in 2016, and I just finished my placement with ABS. I understand the difficulty of getting that first role in a new career path, so the work experience program will be invaluable to help me get my ‘foot in the door’, so to speak. I originally applied for the program with that reason in mind, but it’s also been incredibly useful to see all the theory I have learnt at uni in practice in an organisation. It’s all well and good to learn best practice, but each organisation is unique, and a contingency… Read more »

More on HRM