Former National Basketball League player Eric Bailey helped more than 100 University of Queensland students put their best foot forward at an exclusive student employability conference.
Hosted by UQ’s award-winning Faculty of Business, Economics and Law Student Employability Team, the conference aimed to boost business, economics and law (BEL) students’ employability and help them learn new skills to get ahead.
The one-day intensive event was available to current BEL students and recent graduates. The itinerary included special guest presentations and a range of interactive workshops run by BEL employability specialists on topics including interview skills, internships, and personal branding.
Mr Bailey, a retired NBL star and ‘activational’ speaker from the USA, tipped off proceedings with an inspiring tale chronicling the many obstacles he overcame to play his chosen sport professionally.
“I want UQ students to take advantage of the opportunities that have been presented to them to forge success in the future,” Mr Bailey said.
“My talk emphasises the importance of resilience, enthusiasm and really just striving to be the best possible version of yourself without judging yourself against someone else’s success.”
Among other pearls of wisdom, Mr Bailey urged students to master their ‘FBI’ – fearlessness, belief and independent thinking – and to ‘go shopping’ for what they wanted out of life.
“I want you to walk out of this room today and truly understand that your future is bright, but before you see the shine you have to do a little bit of work on yourself every single day,” he said.
“You’ve got be engaged in the process and look at building resilience around your entire life, and be proactive in visualising yourself at the top.
“Are you going shopping for what you want, in every classroom, at every mentoring session and in every conversation?”
Mr Bailey retired from the NBL in 1996 after 12 years playing for the Hobart Devils, Melbourne Tigers and Gold Coast Rollers. He has more than 20 years’ experience as an activational speaker, reaching a cumulative audience of 3.5 million people worldwide.
Rhea Jain, Director of the Student Employability Team (SET), said her team was honoured to host Mr Bailey and fellow guest speaker Ivan Neville from the Federal Department of Employment.
“We were very fortunate to have two highly esteemed speakers graciously volunteer their time to inspire, guide and challenge our students,” she said.
“Students also had access to a vast range of employability workshops purposely designed to be flexible and cater to students at different stages of their professional development.
“These workshops were run by our team of employability specialists who leveraged their extensive industry experience and career development best practices to provide students with practical opportunities to reflect, develop and practise skills.”
Employability Specialist (Economics and HR) Joanne Buchan said the conference benefited students who were unable to access SET events during the semester.
“This event is an opportunity for students to spend a day with the team and see what we can do for them,” she said.
“As with all of our events, workshops and programs, we hope that they will take away a new understanding of what employability is and what they can do to ensure that they are giving 100 per cent when they are trying to start their careers after university.
“We also want them to walk away feeling positive about their own experience and careers, and to feel that BEL has a good support system for them.”
For the attendees, the conference was a slam dunk – and Mr Bailey’s presentation was a highlight.
Master of Tourism, Hotel and Event Management student Gloria Dou said the conference was very helpful.
“I’m in my final semester and I wanted some advice and guidance,” she said.
“I’ve been to several other SET workshops and seminars and they were very inspiring and useful.
“Mr Bailey’s speech was my favourite. What I liked the most was his great passion; he’s a really good speaker and great at telling stories.
“The major takeaway for me was to focus on the moment and never look back, which will help me in job interviews when I’m feeling nervous.”
To learn more about the BEL Student Employability Team or to book an appointment, visit their website.