UNE Education students, Employer and Industry groups and Alumni came together at FutureCampus Parramatta last Monday night 5 September for our annual Strengthening Your Graduate Reputation event. Students in Parramatta and Tamworth were able to hear from and network with those in the industry they will be working with in the future, and alumni who have already worked in the education sector.
They benefitted from hearing from Kirli Saunders (teach.NSW), Bianca Low (NSW Teachers Federation), Michele Laing (BOSTES), Ben Grozier (Class Cover), Katherine Gibson (Teaching Jobs London) and Shauna Wood (Teachers Mutual Bank), and their advice and tips of preparing for work in their chosen career. Some of the top tips given included:
- Being prepared for prac and casual work at a moments notice – be on time, have your own student plans, communicate with schools and your supervisors, and network, network, network!
- Plan for graduate opportunities by attending as many seminars as possible and engage in personal development
- Find mentors! Modelling and guidance in the early stages of your career is vital.
- As a student, join as many organisations as you can for free and make use of the libraries and teaching resources available.
- Be prepared to go where the jobs are and step out of your comfort zone.
- Know the professional standards required for teaching accreditation – be proactive!
- Be as flexible as you can when starting out with availability
- Make connections and use them – visit Career Fairs, Expos, Seminars, do your research
- Get as much experience as you can in teaching and leadership, even with voluntary work, coaching, and say ‘yes’ to every opportunity
- Be aware and take advantage of scholarships available
Students were also reintroduced to information and resources available from Careers@UNE, UNE Study Abroad and the New England Award.
The second part of the evening was the Alumni panel, and the 3 UNE Alumni provided valuable advice on the path chosen by our students. Emma Morgan, Dianne Quarmby and Vivien Au are all working in schools and are proud graduates of UNE. The most important point they all made was the value of finding a mentor and taking every opportunity given to you. They all still worked with mentors both within and outside of their current roles, as well as starting to mentor new teachers themselves. Followed closely with the importance of being able to diversify and teach across a number of areas is important, as is signing up for industry journals in their subject areas via joining the specific discipline teachers association. The importance of Continuing Professional Development was stressed – as teachers, they are lifelong learners! We were so grateful to have them speak in depth about their experiences and how they planned their studies.
Finally, students, alumni and industry groups were able to mingle, network and make connections. An informative and rewarding night was had by all, with many students saying it was extremely helpful to have all the stakeholders in one room so they could get the information they needed. We look forward to holding this event annually for our growing education student body!