The Flinders University campus is located just west of the Adelaide Hills, making for a hilly terrain in the midst of nature with a beautiful view of the sea. The campus is quite large and spread out, and the Careers and Employer Liaison Centre is situated in one of the newest buildings, where all non-academic departments are housed. Included in the building is a plaza and student hub with several restaurants and retail stores, study areas for students, a library, the student association, and Flinders Connect – a place where students can go to get frontline support services, a one stop shop.
Yesterday, we had the pleasure to sit down with Nina, the Careers and Employer Liaison Centre manager, to get an overview of her department and gain a better understanding of her future strategic plans and goals. Following this meeting, Matt Taverner, the Director of the International Centre, and Daniel Mather, the Manager for the International Office, took us out for a lovely lunch at a higher end restaurant housed in the building (David has an equivalent role to Caroline Climie’s, and they actually recently met in the UK). How impressive – fine dining on campus; we both ate a delicious local fish called cone bay barramundi! Our afternoon and evening was spent working on our presentation which we will deliver to students tomorrow and Thursday, but we had the chance to squeeze in a nice dinner in between things downtown Adelaide just off of their pedestrian street which they call ‘the mall’. We were definitely ready to call it a wrap for the day when the clock struck 23:30 at which point we had just finished running through our presentation.
It’s Tuesday now, and Verity has given us a crash course on the incredible Horizon Awards program she runs. This program is quite impressive and is one where 1200 students are registered to date, just 6 months after going live with it (they ran a pilot for 18 months before this). The Horizon Awards program is one where students have the opportunity to accrue experience gained from workshops, conferences, lunch with leaders, volunteer experience, online courses, and mentoring programs just to name a few. This accrued experience then translates to points, and depending on the number of points accrued, you are either awarded a silver, gold or platinum award at their awards ceremony. After our meeting with Verity, Annie had the opportunity to sit down and listen to a short 30 minute CV coaching appointment with Career Development Consultant Rianna, and Malin spoke with and shadowed Meg, another Career Development Consultant, during her drop-in hour at Flinders Connect. They recently changed their titles from Career Counsellors to Career Development Consultants, because they don’t take the roles of counsellors but rather those of consultants. They have additionally shortened the length of their individual meetings with students, to short 20-30 meetings.
Our afternoon got quite exciting when one of the conference rooms turned into a party room for 30 minutes to watch The Melbourne Cup, “the race that stops the country”. Sparkling wine was served, food was put on the table, and the race was on. Annie’s horse came in last place, and for that, she won a whopping $2.00!
Nalini Klopp, Team Leader over Employer Engagement, gave us a tour of what her group does. She has a team of 4, and their roles entail liaising with employers, creating new employer relationships, organizing large employer events, and managing a mentoring program. They are an ambitious team, having to deal with an extremely competitive market (universities are competing against one another when marketing their students out to employers), and they run some very exciting projects.
It’s been another great two days. Off to the city we go to grab some traditional Australian food, tapas style. Cheers!