Learning how to succeed in the workplace of tomorrow

At the AIS (Auckland Institute of Studies) graduation this month, students learned more than just who was graduating alongside them – they picked up valuable lessons for succeeding in their future workplaces.

259 graduates of a total 1018 attended the ceremony to receive their awards. Photo: Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images

Both the Keynote Speaker, EY Partner Stephen McKernan, and the Valedictorian, Michael Woolley, imparted words of wisdom, encouragement, and confidence that the AIS graduates from this year are ready for the workplace of tomorrow.

McKernan had a strong message for the 259 graduates in attendance and for students around the country – the workplace is changing, and you must change with it.

“For me when I embarked on my career, we didn’t have the Internet, so the assets, the knowledge and the industries were quite siloed. Hard and fast boundaries were evident across industries and we were quite industry and sector specific, but with the advent of the digital revolution, this is all changing. We’re seeing different ways in which the workplace is being redefined.”

“While it can be overwhelming, it is also exciting when we consider what the future holds, but what does it mean for the human side of the work place and work?” says McKernan.

His answer? “The notion of lifelong learning is becoming critically important. Today your education and ongoing learning will be different than that of my generation, the emphasis of skills over knowledge and the continuing process of learning is what is attractive to employers of tomorrow.”

Key lessons to take into the workplace of tomorrow, according to McKernan, include:

  • Having an understanding of own strengths and how actions impact others
  • Being able to express yourself and know when to show restraint
  • Being resilient and optimistic and being able to counter disappointment
  • Showing empathy and compassion, and building trust and rapport in team environments

As the AIS graduates embark on their life journeys they should “embrace the cultural and emotional dimensions that are so critical to the workplace of tomorrow.”

McKernan’s words could sound disheartening for those not up for the challenge. However, as Michael Woolley, new BIT graduate, said in his valedictory address, AIS have prepared their graduates for whatever is to come.

Valedictorian and new BIT graduate, Michael Woolley is confident AIS graduates are ready for the changing workforce. Photo: Gareth Cooke/Subzero Images

“We’ve learnt effective communication, we’ve learnt to think critically, we’ve learnt a variety of problem solving techniques,” shared Michael. “We also learnt not to answer an exam question with a novel when a paragraph will do, and we’ve learnt to work effectively in a group with people often from different countries, speaking different languages and often with different beliefs. The knowledge and skills we’ve gained through our time at AIS will hopefully help us to succeed as we leave the world of academia and find employment in our chosen fields.”

In 2018, students are not just preparing for one job, one career, one company or one industry, but a workforce where uncertainty is the only thing that is certain.

However, with the emotional and cultural intelligence that AIS helps to foster in their students, their graduates leave academic life with the know-how to adapt and flourish in the ever-changing workforce environment.

AIS is a 28-year-old learning institution that continues to climb from strength to strength, and it’s clear their 2018 graduates will do the same.

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