Shadowing an organiser
This year, students enrolled in the Victoria University of Wellington’s Managing Human Resources and Industrial Relations course have the opportunity to “shadow” a PSA organiser.
Senior lecturer Dr Noelle Donnelly says connecting students with the union is a new initiative undertaken this year to provide students with insights into the work that unions do. This will also help them make better informed career choices.
“These experiences provide students with a better understanding of what it takes to build good employment relationships and shows just how complex, and sometimes challenging, those relationships can be,” she says.
Fourteen students from the second-year course took the opportunity to shadow an organiser.
“The students will be shadowing and observing the work of the organisers over the next couple of months,” Noelle says. “Each experience will be slightly different based on the types of work the organiser is currently involved in.”
PSA policy advisor Kirsten Windelov says the shadowing project is a natural extension of the PSA’s partnership with VUW’s Centre for Labour, Employment and Work.
“We have provided guest speakers to the course in the past to discuss the relationship between unions, employees and employers, but the shadowing work really allows students to learn first-hand about some of the issues in this area.”
She adds that the PSA is keen to see qualified and well-rounded people going into HR roles that specialise in employment relations.
“There are challenges to recruiting people in some human resource roles. On top of that, many of the people in the field are in their 50s and 60s and will be retiring in the next five to ten years.
“It’s crucial we support the development of new human resource professionals. It’s also an opportunity to look at new employer/employee models and the important role unions play in those models,” she says.