For Griffith University student Hayley Payne, seeking experience through internships is giving her the confidence to pursue her goals. Hayley is also a Mayor’s Student Ambassador, a program launched by City of Gold Coast and Study Gold Coast to build and strengthen relationships between the Gold Coast community and the student population through cultural and social inclusion.
We caught up with Hayley, who says these days having a degree might not be enough to land your dream job when you graduate.
Can you tell us a bit about your experience as a mayor's student ambassador and how it came about?
I have always looked on with envy as many of my international student friends were Mayor’s Student Ambassadors, so when I saw that they were opening the program to domestic students I was ecstatic and applied straight away.
From painting surfboards in Burleigh to meeting the Mayor to receive our certificates and spending a day learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history at Dreamworld, it has been an absolutely incredible experience so far. I cannot wait to see what is yet to come.
What did you study at Griffith University and what got you interested in this particular field?
I am in my final year of a Bachelor of Public Relations and Communication, Majoring in Politics and International Studies. I have always been enchanted by the way the world works and thought that there was no better combination than that of the fast-paced world of communications mixed with international relations and politics.
What kind of things were you doing during your internship with GOLDOC and what did you learn there?
During my time at GOLDOC (Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation) I worked with the Digital Marketing Team who were incredible. I spent most of my time writing digital content for the GC2018 website, helping to test a new website and creating a social media strategy plan.
The knowledge, skills and experiences I gained through the internship were invaluable, as were the networking opportunities I had during the placement.
How valuable do you see that kind of experience and what are the benefits?
For me, gaining ‘real world’ experience is essential for both personal and professional growth. These days having a degree isn’t enough to land your dream job when you graduate. You need to be able to show potential employers that you are willing to push yourself into new, exciting and conforming situations to grow and prepare yourself for post-university life. Internships and volunteer work don’t only help you gain work experience they also grow your leadership, communication, inter-cultural skills and so much more.
What do you enjoy most about being a mayor's student ambassador?
While we have the incredible gift of experiencing the Gold Coast in a way like no other, my favourite part of being a Mayor's Student Ambassador is having the opportunity to give back to the Gold Coast for what it has given to me.
Over the past four years of living here, I have been given so many opportunities through university, work and in life in general. Having the chance to showcase the Gold Coast story to the world is an experience like no other.
Tell us a bit about your latest internship and what are some of your responsibilities?
I am currently working as a media intern with the Gold Coast Airport Marathon. So far it has been both fun and challenging learning how to write media releases and liaise with the media to promote the Marathon and share the stories of some amazing participants. It has also been wonderful to work with industry experts and absorb their knowledge to further develop my skill set.
How do you see your chosen profession shifting in the future and how are you placed to take advantage of those new opportunities?
The great thing about public relations and politics is that they are both fast-paced industries that are always changing. You need to constantly be up to date with current industry trends, especially in our current digital world. Whether that be reading news reports, following podcasts, or researching trends, I think you really need to know where you want to be and the steps it is going to take to get there. After all, if it doesn’t challenge you, it isn’t going to change you.
What's the best part about being a blogger on the Gold Coast?
Having the opportunity to write for both the Griffith International Blog Explore and The Griffith Collective has been remarkable. As someone who loves writing, it has been both a source of relaxation during times of study stress and a way to share the experience of studying in the Gold Coast to students globally. There is nothing more fulfilling than when someone makes a comment on how a piece you wrote helped or inspired them in some way.