10 December 2021 Volume :9 Issue :56

Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations Career Expo

Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations Career Expo
Dr Ashika Maharaj.

The Discipline of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance hosted its inaugural Research Showcase.

Postgraduate students at the Career Expo interacted with Human Resources (HR) and Industrial relations (IR) practitioners who showcased the diverse careers on offer in the industry.

The following HR and IR practitioners made presentations at the event:

•    Dr Christy Leask,Lead Psychologist - Mental Fitness Symbiosis Consulting. Leask, who is based in the United Kingdom, shared insight from an international perspective about the mental fitness of employees who had to handle a hybrid way of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

•    Dr Karen Ortlepp, co-founder of Leadership Insight Consulting, who shared some of her experiences from 30 years in the Human Resources field, outlining how the sector has evolved, especially in the area of consulting during the pandemic 

•    Ms Sanash Sewparsad, Group Head of Talent, EVP and Wellness for the PPS Group, who spoke about her career growth from a UKZN graduate to a practitioner, managing and navigating change on personal and professional levels

•    Ms Sinqobile Khuluse, Head of Human Resources at Sandock Austral Shipyards, discussed her career aspirations and how they are driven by people, passion and purpose. Khuluse also spoke about the benefits of using social media to enhance personal brands.

•    Ms Yavini Gengan, UKZN alumnus and ex-HR Administrator at AbbVieSA, whose presentation focused on not giving up hope when applying for graduate recruitment opportunities as well as dealing with the challenges of being an intern and taking full advantage of the growth learning curve.

•    Ms Maxine Ruiters, UKZN alumnus and People Partner at Banner Home Office (Makro), who shared her experience of the pressure of being a graduate and getting placed in a role with many functions resulting in her having to multi-task.

•    Ms Chantal Haripersad, UKZN Alumnus and Ex Group HR Manager at BMW SuperTech, highlighted the importance of continually gaining experience in various fields as HR is a multi-disciplinary field that is constantly evolving.

•    Ms Alishia Mudaly, HR Executive and Specialist Wellness Counsellor who is Co-Director of HR Ingenuity and Director of the Essence Counselling Centre. Mudaly debated the importance of stepping up as an HR practitioner by being well-rounded and adapting smoothly to a changing environment.

•    Ms Prashanti Maharaj, HR Co-ordinator at SMOLLAN, spoke about maintaining a balance between studying and being employed as a working postgraduate student.

Programme organiser and Discipline Academic Leader Dr Ashika Maharaj said the inaugural Expo took place at the perfect time as the Discipline was in the process of restructuring degrees at honours level for roll out in 2023.

‘We also plan to offer an Honours degree in Human Resources Development where I’m hoping to introduce a work integrated learning module where we can introduce a stronger practical component. This was a first of many Career Expos I hope to have with the discipline and experts from industry to help us make this programme a highly integrated programme when it comes to theory and workplace learning,’ said Maharaj.

The Dean and Head of the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, Professor Stephen Mutula, said the expo was well timed as the School would benefit from hearing from industry on how graduates can be well prepared for the working world.

‘According to Stats SA, the unemployment rate reached 32% in the first three months of 2021 and this does not include the impact, especially in KwaZulu-Natal, of the July unrest on joblessness. This is very worrisome, especially for people who are coming out of university expecting to find jobs. The fourth industrial revolution will open up new jobs requiring new skills. How do we prepare for that? Your presence here is very important as it gives us direction of what we should be doing in terms of developing skills of our graduates.’

Words: Thandiwe Jumo

Photograph: Supplied

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