The Low-down on the AAGE Conference

by Jess Murchison November 21st, 2011

The Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE) hosts an annual three-day conference, bringing together graduate employers, recruitment professionals and service providers (whose businesses are connected to the graduate recruitment industry) from around Australia and New Zealand to learn, develop, share and network with each other.

The AAGE Conferences allow delegates to focus on broad issues impacting on the industry, to have the opportunity to learn from industry experts, discover the latest trends and to discuss solutions and methods in which to handle industry challenges. The Conference format encourages the open sharing of knowledge and experience, which serves to elevate the graduate recruitment industry as an increasingly important, strategic part of a business.

 New Zealand Delegates.

This year was the 23rd AAGE Conference held at the Hilton Sydney and GradConnection was once again proud to be a gold sponsor of the event. There were around 400 delegates in attendance this year, with a group of eight New Zealand delegates, including Rob and Tim from GradConnection NZ, Otago University, and five GradConnection New Zealand clients: Gentrack, Russell McVeagh, KPMG, Transpower, and Staples Rodway.

  New Zealand delegates hailing the NZ flag.

This year’s theme ‘What’s Your Special Ingredient this year?’ was an acknowledgment to the hunger of graduates when embarking on their career and how employers can satisfy their expectations. The conference hosted a range of seminars and impressive keynote speakers, followed by a comprehensive selection of break out workshops. Highlights for us included:

- Practitioner Seminar: Aimed at those relatively new to the graduate recruitment industry, this seminar covered best practice approach to budgeting, marketing, screening, assessment and reporting. It was facilitated by Su Kulk of Colonial First State, Emma Hale of SA Water and Anna Clarke, OneSteel.

- Leader Seminar: Looked at how to manage the strategic direction of your organisation’s graduate recruitment and development program. This was facilitated by representatives of companies including BP, Westpac, Orica and PwC.

- ‘What Makes You Different’: A workshop on how to build a graduate brand that sets you apart, presented by Andrea Culligan, CEO of Unimail. 

- ‘The Edge Boutique’: A workshop providing insight on making bespoke Graduate development easy. Presented by Josh Mackenzie, Managing Director of Development Beyond Learning and author of The Graduate Edge.

- ‘Designing a Graduate Assessment Centre’: How to design and facilitate an assessment centre to improve your recruitment success, presented by Adele Preston of Orica.

The GradConnection team also made our own presentation on ‘Online Graduate Attraction around the World’. This looked at various online strategies used worldwide, focusing on how to attract star students using the latest online technology. We wanted to introduce everyone to the increasingly important data, analytics and online worlds. Dave Jenkins presented some very interesting conclusions from our GradConnection data. He gave an overview of what is possible with google analytics and how it is applicable to your website, and what the results are of some of the top search terms in the graduate industry. Mike Casey talked about how to generate and tend to online talent communities. He gave a summary of the social media activity on our site this year with particular reference to some of the most successful employer forum sessions on our forums as well as some of the niche forum sessions that created great conversations for our results. Finally, Dan Purchas introduced to delegates the online graduate recruitment industry and the future of graduate recruitment, with a particular focus on graduate recruitment in China, with case study of what has, and has not worked. He also showed the direction of technology in China, with the introduction of "3G everywhere" in China and the current social media platforms in use and what this means for Australia and New Zealand - and how you can keep up.

The conference also included an array of social events. At the conclusion of the first day the Kiwi delegates were invited to the AAGE Chairperson drinks held up the Sydney Westfield Tower this was followed by an open networking function attended by 200 plus delegates. This was more than another just a networking event, this evening set the bar for what would be a great three days in Sydney and included an eye popping performance by a team of talented Brazilian dances!

 Jan Blair of Russell McVeagh and Brazilian dancer.

The annual Gala Dinner was another hit. Featuring a 'blue carpet' entry, the Gala Dinner was held on the second evening during the Conference at the Hilton Grand Ballroom. This black tie Gala Dinner also incorporated the annual AAGE Graduate Recruitment Industry Awards (AGRIAs) presentation, aimed to reward and recognise excellence in the graduate recruitment industry.

 Tim Watts and Rob Milne of GradConnection with other NZ delegates on the 'Blue Carpet'.

This year GradConnection won the Australasian Best Supplier of the year award. This award recognizes the best service supplier within the graduate industry, voted on by graduate employers across New Zealand and Australia. This was the first time the award has been won by GradConnection and is real credit to the hard work that has been put in by the teams on both sides of the Tasman. GradConnection also picked up Best Stand at conference and were also an unlucky finalist in the Most Outstanding Contribution to the industry award with Tim Watts losing out to Ben Reeves (Current AAGE CEO).  

The whole GradConnection team receiving the Best Supplier Award.

This was a fantastic event and is still being raved about by those who attended. If you want to know more information about the AAGE, the conference, or our presentation please contact us or check out the links below.

GradConnection Presentation

Other Presentations


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