When Craig Patterson recruits new staff for his team, he is looking for more than qualifications.
The marketing manager for the Australia and New Zealand branch of global hardware company Allegion, Patterson looks for well-rounded people. Qualified, yes, but also with the soft skills like teamwork and communication needed to succeed in a corporate environment.
So when recruiting for a new online marketing assistant, Unitec Bachelor of Business graduate Adila Khan’s application stood out. Not only did she have the right education but her work experience at the Concentrix Delivery Centre, located at the Mt. Albert campus, set her apart.
Khan, 27, spent more than a year working at the Delivery Centre, in the process gaining experience of working for a Fortune 500 company and supporting one of New Zealand’s iconic brands.
The Concentrix Delivery Centre opened in 2014, as an addition to the IBM Delivery Centre which opened in February 2013 as a partnership between us and IBM to bridge the gap between education and industry. The two Centres combined now employ around 750 people, around half of which are Unitec students.
Khan says the experience she got could only be achieved through work. She especially values the importance of open communication and the ability to ask for help or clarification.
“I’d always worked in small businesses, since I was 13, but Concentrix is a big business and it taught me how to cope in that environment, be part of a big team and understand how it works,” she said.
“The thing is your work doesn’t stay with you, it goes through so many channels and you have to get it right.”
Her new manager says Allegion – a $2 billion business offering products in more than 120 countries across the world – needs people who understand what working for a global company entails.
“When I’m looking for employees I’m definitely looking for experience, even more so than education,” Patterson said.
“You can have people that do really well at university but don’t know how to work or operate in a team, especially in a client facing role.”
While most students work their way through degrees, Patterson says those who can stay in one environment long enough to learn systems and give something back to the organisation are at an advantage.
“We want to see people growing in a role. Short term work is good, it earns you money, but does it give you the skills to start contributing back to the business? Adila showed that she could be the face of a large corporate and represent them.”
CE Dr Rick Ede says that Khan’s story demonstrates the value of the partnership between Unitec, IBM and Concentrix which specifically aims to develop work-ready graduates.
“We know that employers are now seeking graduates who are work-ready and can add immediate value to their business,” he said.
“This means that as well as technical expertise, they need soft skills like collaboration, teamwork, the ability to work with clients and juggle multiple demands, and a good understanding of how work places operate.”
Delivery Centre staff provide call centre, back office operations and IT services including application development, application testing, mobile apps and business analysis for a range of national and international clients. For Unitec students it’s an opportunity to combine the experience of working alongside experienced staff with mentoring, internships and graduate hire programmes.
Concentrix is a leader in high-value global business services. It partners with its clients to deliver end-to-end customer engagement services, technology innovations, analytics, process optimisation, and business improvements.