AUT Edge Award Winner, Alum Wei-Yen (Jackie) Chan

05 Aug 2019

Do what you’re afraid to do, says AUT Edge Award winner

~ Auckland University of Technology

Overall Achievement prize winner Jackie Chan with sponsor YUDU.

Jackie won the YUDU sponsored prize for demonstrating the highest level of achievement in all streams of the award, volunteering, leadership and employability.

YUDU Product Marketing Lead – Digital Ventures Alex Leece, who presented the prize, said YUDU was proud to be part of the celebration of the Edge Award.

“I’m impressed by the extra effort you guys are making. It is an honour to be presenting the overall winner tonight because it resonates with all YUDU believes in, of taking the next step, being bold and never settling.”

Jackie says she has learned through the AUT Edge Award the importance of having a ‘lion’s heart’ – gaining self confidence to believe in her own opinions and find the courage and confidence to follow through on them.

She founded her own non-for-profit – BizTech Labs – contacting high schools and spending hours and hours organising weekends and mentoring to encourage students, particularly girls, to pursue STEM subjects and enter the IT space.

She also organised an Auckland wide hackathon for over 160+ Year 7 to 10 students that focused on finding creative software solutions for social issues.

Jackie also won the AUT Scholars Society community award for managing and organising all AUTSS events and activities.

These experiences helped Jackie embrace public speaking and she now revels in talking at events about her experiences of being a female in a male dominated industry.

By the end of her first year at AUT, Jackie had already secured a job on the Digital Innovation Team at the Auckland DHB. More recently she secured an internship with Microsoft – a dream opportunity, she says. Jackie has truly lived and breathed the essence of what the AUT Edge Award can be.

She was one of 50 students to graduate with the AUT Edge Award in Semester 1, taking the total number of graduates to 204. Over 2400 students are enrolled in the Award. So far they delivered 39,000 hours of volunteering and just under 18,000 leadership hours to their communities.

The other prize winners were Priscilla Schwalger for Volunteering, Liubov Sidorova for Social Impact, Hilary Esterhuizen for Leadership and Yves Guo for Personal Growth.

As well as YUDU, four other industry Happy AUT Edge Award winners partners sponsored prizes for the award; Auckland Council, SEEK Volunteer, Intercontinental Hotel Group and Chartered Accountants Australia & NZ (CAANZ).

Industry sponsorship of prizes demonstrate the significance to employers of the skills fostered by the AUT Edge Award, says AUT Deputy Vice Chancellor Geoff Perry.

“You will have become better employees, family members, friends and better members of society through this award,” says Geoff, listing skills such as thoughtful and critical thinking, cultural intelligence through working with people from different backgrounds and ability to lead.”

The AUT Edge Award delivers graduates with work ready CVs and relevant LinkedIn profiles. They are capable networkers and confident about who they are, says Director of Student Employability, Anna Williams.

“Our employers continue to tell us that they are looking for great communication skills, evidence of volunteering, of leadership….. students who are engaged well outside their classroom learning. We feel that the AUT Edge AWARD encompasses all of these skills and know that the students here tonight will have that extra edge in their approach to their future careers when they leave here.”

Anna says the Award is proving to be so successful that this semester Employability and Careers has launched a second award – the Beyond AUT Award for postgraduate students.

AUT Edge Award prize winners. (L-R) Priscilla Schwalger for Volunteering, Jackie Chan for Overall Achievement, Liubov Sidorova for Social Impact, Hilary Esterhuizen for Leadership and Yves Guo for Personal Growth.
AUT Edge Award blackboard

Industry sponsors applaud AUT Edge Award

~ Auckland University of Technology

The best way to overcome fear is to ‘do what you’re afraid to do’, says AUT student Jackie Chan, who received the AUT Edge Award Overall Achievement prize winner at the AUT Edge Award graduation ceremony on Wednesday 24 July.

Jackie won the YUDU sponsored prize for demonstrating the highest level of achievement in all streams of the award, volunteering, leadership and employability. She was one of 50 students to graduate with the award.

YUDU Product Marketing Lead – Digital Ventures Alex Leece, who presented the prize, said YUDU was proud to be part of the celebration of the Edge Award and applauded all the students for their commitment to the award.

“I’m impressed by the extra effort you are all making to find the right job for you. It is an honour to be presenting the overall award tonight because it resonates with all YUDU believes in, of taking the next step, being bold and never settling.”

The AUT Edge Award is a co-curricular award that fosters employability skills through volunteering, leadership and workshops such as interview skills, networking and LinkedIn profiles. Each graduation five prizes are sponsored by five organisations; YUDU, Auckland Council, International Hotel Group, SEEK Volunteer and Chartered Accountants Australia & NZ.

SEEK Volunteer sponsored the Volunteering prize, won by Priscilla Schwalger who did 110 hours of volunteering across a huge variety of organisations, including Youthline, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Howick College dance department, Stardome Conservatory children activities and Auckland Community Law Centre.

Natasha Rerekura, SEEK Volunteer senior account manager – recruiter, congratulated the Edge Award recipients, who’d all done at least 50 hours volunteering.

“Volunteering is important, it helps the community, it can give us skills and help us gain experience in a wide range of areas. We created the website SEEK Volunteer as our way of giving back to the community’s in which we live and operate.”

For Auckland Council, who sponsors the Social Impact prize, the AUT Edge Award is a stellar achievement that council look out for on a graduate CV, says Auckland Council graduate programme leader of Recruitment and Talent Lacey Knight.

“Auckland Council is about community and supporting the people of Auckland. We also believe in the importance of developing the ‘C’ skills, especially when considering the future of work. It isn’t grades but you and what you can bring to an organisation that matters.”

Social impact winner Liubov Sidorova worked on many sustainability projects for her community, including Boomerang Bags, Get into Nature programme, Sustainable Coastlines Hub, Community Waitakere Charitable Trust Leading in Communities programme and the Keep NZ Beautiful at the Green Living Show.

Personal growth is a huge part of the award. The Personal Growth prize acknowledges the student that demonstrated the greatest personal change during the award. Intercontinental Hotels Group human resources manager Lauren Heys says IHG sponsor the prize because it reflects the employability skills wanted in the hospitality industry.

Kingi prize winner Yves Guo found his self-belief while doing the AUT Edge Award, creating the AUT Streetstyle and Fashion Club and organising a runway and donation event to raise money for Auckland City Mission, a big ask for someone who tended to hide in a corner.

To Christine McKinnon, Careers Engagement Manager of Chartered Accountants Australia and NZ (CAANZ), and sponsor of the Leadership prize, the skills developed through the award are essential for the leaders of the future.

“The future of work is everchanging and challenging and determining the type of skills and knowledge you need to really excel is more important than ever. It is essential you are equipped with the tools and skills to become a leader of tomorrow.”

Leadership prize winner Hilary Esterhuizen developed strong leadership skills despite her introverted nature, developing a leadership mantra of positivity and two-way communication.

Industry sponsorship acknowledges the significance in the workplace of the skills the AUT Edge Award fosters, says AUT Deputy Vice Chancellor Geoff Perry.

“You will have become better employees, family members, friends and better members of society through this award,” says Geoff, listing skills such as thoughtful and critical thinking, cultural intelligence through working with people from different backgrounds and ability to lead.

All up 50 students graduated with the AUT Edge Award in Semester 1, taking the total number of graduates to 204. Over 2400 students are enrolled in the Award. So far they have done 39,000 hours of volunteering and just under 18,000 leadership hours.

Learning to Lead through the AUT Edge Award

~ Auckland University of Technology

Stepping up to leadership is a big ask for many students doing the AUT Edge Award, and Hilary Esterhuizen was no exception.

Yet by the end of her Edge Award journey Hilary had won the LeadershAUT Edge Award winners on blackboardip prize and developed strong leadership skills despite her introverted nature.

“I found it challenging but by improving my communication skills I was able to start communicating effectively with teams and realised I could engage and interact well,” says Hilary.

Such skills make a huge difference to people’s capacity to lead in the future, says the Christine McKinnon, CAANZ Careers Engagement Manager of Chartered Accountants Australia and NZ (CAANZ), the sponsor of the AUT Edge Award Leadership prize.

“The future of work is everchanging and challenging and determining the type of skills and knowledge you need to really excel is more important than ever.

It is essential you are equipped with the tools and skills to become a leader of tomorrow as difference makers.”

Hilary says she also had to overcome her perfectionist urges to be receptive and open to volunteers who all had their own unique ways of working due to different backgrounds, cultures and age groups.

“I learned to lead with positivity and two-way communication.”

She was one of 50 students to graduate with the AUT Edge Award in Semester 1, taking the total number of graduates to 204. Over 2400 students are enrolled in the Award. So far they delivered 39,000 hours of volunteering and just under 18,000 leadership hours to their communities.

As well as CAANZ, four other industry partners sponsored prizes for the award; YUDU, Auckland Council, SEEK Volunteer and IHG.

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