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Career Development Centre voted New Zealand's best two years in a row

Tuesday 17 December 2019 4:17pm

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Celebrating the Career Centre’s win (from left) Mena Taripo, Yvonne Gaut, Pat Cragg, Karyn Thomson, Jackie Dean, Lucy Dodds, Karen Stephenson, Petra Hass, Lynley Soper.
Photo credit: Sharron Bennett

The University’s Career Development Centre has done it again, beating the others around the country to be named New Zealand’s best.

The award was presented in Auckland in October, at the New Zealand Association of Graduate Employers (NZAGE) Summit Dinner.

The NZAGE is the industry body educating and supporting organisations that currently recruit or develop New Zealand graduates (including interns, scholarships and cadets), and those who wish to do so in the future.

The award for “Best Careers Service” is based on survey results from employers and students who have used the eight New Zealand university career centres.

Career Development Centre Manager Jackie Dean says the award was mainly given to her team for the welcome that they give to employers on campus, the assistance provided to employers to effectively connect them with students, and the good work that they do to prepare students for the workforce. Students who found jobs throughout the 2019 recruitment round said the centre “did a great job”.

“I didn’t need an award to know what a great team I work with. Students regularly give us positive feedback on what a supportive and professional team they are. I enjoy coming to work with everyone in my team, I know they all have each other’s backs, and are prepared to go the extra mile for the students. They are extremely innovative and always looking for new and better ways to do things.

“This year we’ve had our first cohort of students starting to work their way through OtagoExtra, our employability award. In collaboration with Auckland University, and Otago’s International Office we have sent our first group of internship students to China and Taiwan; and have had excellent feedback about the “Otago Mentor Match” programme, which matches up Otago graduates with senior students transitioning to the workforce.

“This year has also seen a number of Career Pathway events, where we bring employers on campus to talk to students about career pathways with their programmes rather than immediate recruitment needs. In addition, we have our business as usual work of one-on-one career guidance with students; running a wide variety of careers workshops both in-house and in departments; application document reviews and interview practice,” Mrs Dean says.

Otago’s Director of Student and Academic Services Karyn Thomson says the Career Development Centre are an excellent team that works well together, and that the award was well deserved.

“The monthly reports that I receive are always very interesting; there’s always a lot going on and a great deal achieved,” she says.

The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Associate Professor Pat Cragg says she’s thrilled with the work Jackie and her team are doing towards work-integrated learning (WIL). WIL refers to the term given to educational activities that integrate academic learning of a discipline with its practical application.

“There’s been a movement towards WIL and Otago is now making its view on this known. It’s a case of trying to put the Otago context, as we do a lot of extracurricular activities, which are just as important as simply focusing on a practicum or placement as the only way of experiencing work integrated learning.

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Law and arts graduate Maria Clezy

“This award recognition is just great, so no pressure just make sure you get it again next year,“ Associate Professor Cragg concluded.

Recent Graduate Profile:

Law and arts graduate Maria Clezy credits her firm understanding of how the legal system works, along with the critical thinking skills she honed during her double degree at Otago, as laying the groundwork for her current recognition in the international legal directory World Tax. Maria joined Buddle Findlay on its graduate recruitment programme straight from Otago.

For Maria’s full story: