1994 marked a year of momentous political change in South African history as Nelson Mandela was appointed president, the end of apartheid was celebrated and the country became democratic. Whilst many citizens cheered the dawn of a new era and believed things would get better, there was still enormous uncertainty and danger associated with the future direction of the country. Wayne Beech’s family initially decided to stay in Johannesburg after the first multi-racial election but after his brother was involved in a serious hijacking, they made the tough decision to move to Australia.
After studying marketing in South Africa for two years, Wayne left his family and friends behind to finish his degree at Griffith University. “When I came across here a lot of the subjects I studied at home covered Human Resources and actually got me a large portion of the way to majoring in it. While studying both, I decided I preferred studying Human Resources.”
“I think Griffith courses are at the forefront of tertiary education, as they are consistently dynamic in their offerings.”
It’s no surprise to us that Griffith graduates are thought leaders and innovators in their respective fields – at Griffith Careers, we witness graduates fulfil their career aspirations and create real change in their industries on a daily basis.
This is because many University courses are structured to reflect the increasingly globalised economic and social structures of the world today. Coursework is created with real world applications in mind, giving students the relevant problem solving and critical thinking skills to succeed in the current job market.
It was this innovative approach to learning that led Paul Hodgson to study at Griffith. The multifaceted approach of the international business relations degree laid the foundation for building a highly successful career.
“The Bachelor of International Relations was a bit of everything and it looked really exciting. It looked global, it offered a bit of marketing, accounting, law, economics and Asian languages. It really appealed to me,” he says.
“The worst thing you can do is look back on your life in 5-10 years and wish you had made that move. You don’t want to have any feelings of regret.”
Sometimes, the best thing you can do in life is take a risk.
For HR graduate, Jennifer Schwartz, taking a leap of faith is paying off considerably. She is leaving friends, family and the coastal paradise she calls home to start an exciting new role as the Recruitment & HR Coordinator at L’Oreal in Melbourne.
For Jennifer, South East Queensland doesn’t quite have the same sparkle as the bigger southern cities, despite its natural allure. Sometimes it’s necessary to look further afield for opportunities and for those concerned with career advancement, a move to Sydney or Melbourne could certainly be the ticket.
“When you’re on the Gold Coast, there isn’t a lot of large scale organisations with HR departments that can offer you career development and it’s important for me to find a business that offers advancement opportunities. I don’t want to become complacent,” Jennifer says.
As a graduate of the Bachelor of Psychological Science, Sergeant Michelle Mullen is a strong advocate for developing your career aspirations. After 13 years of general duties, Michelle returned to study and is now the District Crime Prevention Coordinator in her station. A fantastic insight into how continually learning can prepare you for the perfect job.
Griffith graduate Chelsea McGuiness is a shining example of how pursuing the activities you are most passionate about can lead to a successful and fulfilling career later in life.
For Chelsea, coding was always a hobby. It was only during her gap year working as a reservationist in luxury transport did she realize it could become a long term career.
“My boss said ‘I want to change this on the website but I don’t want to get the guys to do it’, so I said ‘I’ll have a look at it’ and from there, I thought ‘maybe I should see what Uni offers in this area’ and that’s how I got into multimedia,” she says.
It’s a thread often repeated by fresh high school graduates who just don’t know what to do with their lives. Who does at 17? Evaluating the activities that make you happy is certainly a great place to start.
“I can’t leave uni; I’m always looking for new things”.
This statement sums up Sandra Bell’s attitude towards learning, giving back to her community and making a difference. After leaving school at 15, Sandra explains her parents encouraged her to get a good job as a secretary or bookkeeper.
Raising her family, Sandra volunteered at her children’s school but one day after dropping her son’s friend home, she noticed his mother rushing to attend university lectures.
“It was my light bulb moment and I started to ask questions of how did you get to do that?”
With education as her first preference, Sandra received an offer for her second preference to the Bachelor of Human Services – Child and Family Studies in 2002. Student life was confronting as “those first six months are a real make or break. I started to learn very quickly what it means to write a quality assignment”.
As students, we are constantly worried about our employment prospects at the end of our studies. We are barraged with common refrains like “you need to start networking” and are told woeful tales of the competitive market and the elusiveness of our ‘dream job’.
It all seems too much, especially with the sunny distractions South East Queensland always to offer (Dreamworld trip anyone?). However, as Queensland College of Art grad Ryan Turner proves, thinking about your career early in your degree can produce incredible results.
Ryan studied a Bachelor of Design at QCA and had always dreamed of owning his own business. Despite starting a degree in psychology, he later realized where his passion lay and pursued a career in design.
Just a few short years later, he is now the Managing Director of his own successful business, Quantico Digital. His business specializes in graphic design, digital design and development, smartphone app development, social media and online marketing – meaning he gets to work with a variety of different brands.
As Breakfast Newsreader for Brisbane’s Nova 106.9 radio with Ash, Kip and Luttsy, Ange Anderson has come a long way since her days as a Bachelor of Communications student at Griffith University. With a media career spanning 10 years, see how Ange created opportunities to build to where she is now and heading.
With a career spanning three continents and early aspirations to be an aeronautical engineer, Mohammed Hayat took on his biggest personal and professional challenge to leave the industry he had worked in for many years to explore his passion for the environment. After starting an Arts degree in 1995, Mohammed discovered his heart wasn’t in it and transferred to a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, graduating in 2000.
Originally from South Africa, Mohammed migrated to Brisbane in the late ‘80s and worked part-time as a soil tester throughout his undergraduate studies. “For this particular role, there was a lot of on-the-job learning. I was exposed to some environmental components and I got to interact with what I studied such as water, air and noise monitoring.” His degree took him to CSIRO where he would test different rocks from the mines in southern and western Australia.
Then, an initial eighteen month internship exchange program with a small company in the US extended to eight years. “Initially I went over as a student and learnt a lot of on-the-job skills for geophysical surveying”.
“My progression from high school to today has been interesting to say the least!”
Writing, acting, furniture design, violin, travel and construction.
These diverse passions seem an unlikely combination, but for journalism graduate Kitty Danger, they form the less than traditional path that has led to a fulfilling career in public relations at The Red Republic.
While many high school graduates feel the pressure to careen head first into a chosen career, Kitty took the time to explore her options before settling on a Bachelor of Journalism, specializing in PR and Arts and Creative Industries.
This process of discovery led to Kitty securing a role well suited to her diverse and colorful personality. Working as an Account Manager on a variety of events, social media and publicity campaigns, means she is able to channel her creative side and in her own words “never get bored”.