Agile Coach, Spark New Zealand
Founder, Purpose Coaching Ltd
Bachelor of Business in Human Resource Management, Management & International Business
She has a passion for helping bring out the best in people and enabling them to do their best work, says business alumna April Shwe-Paul who now splits her time between her role as an agile coach for Spark New Zealand and running her own business, Purpose Coaching Ltd.
“I love facilitating breakthroughs and helping foster growth mindsets. In my role at Spark, I help the software development teams within the organisation adopt agile ways of working while embedding agile values and mindsets. I coach teams to foster more effective, transparent and cohesive teams, and enable better outcomes and solutions for our customers.
“As the founder of Purpose Coaching Ltd, I offer success mindset and high performance coaching to inspire and empower ambitious individuals to transform into authentic leaders who make their goals a reality.”
While she has had many successes in her HR career so far, she is particularly proud of her achievements at not-for-profit organisation Visionwest Community Trust where she worked before joining Spark in early 2022.
“At Visionwest Community Trust, I had the honour of leading a team of HR and recruitment co-ordinators during one of the most challenging periods the organisation had gone through due to the pandemic. I helped lead and grow the team from 7 to 14 people in less than a year, and implemented efficiencies within the recruitment process that reduced hiring turnaround time from 132 days to 47 days. This meant a lot to me because I was enabling the organisation to place the right people in the right positions faster to make a positive impact in the community.”
Well-prepared for the real world
For April, the first step towards the career she has now was enrolling in AUT’s Bachelor of Business, a qualification she completed in 2014.
“I chose to study business because a business degree is versatile, and can be applied to any industry and interest. This degree also means that I can use it anywhere in the world and be employable right away after graduating. I chose AUT for the workplace experience in the final year, which sets it apart from other unis and increases your desirability in the job market.
“In the first year, we got to do a lot of group work, which was great training for the real world. It prepares you for handling these situations in the workplace when you’re working in project teams and it has proved to be a valuable skill that benefited me going into my HR and recruitment career.”
Her time at AUT made it easy to move from university to the workplace.
“I got snatched up right away after my workplace experience in an HR department doing admin work. When I finished my studies, I applied for an entry level position but the recruitment agency who hired me straight out of uni was so impressed by my alumni status and being part of the Beta Gamma Sigma honours society, as well as the workplace experience as part of my degree, that they offered me a recruitment consultant role. I was amazed.”
Advice for other students
April has some great advice for other students who are at the start of their university journey.
“A very wise lecturer told us to pick a career path that would never become redundant. It’s why I chose to go down the path of human resources and management because in any company within any industry those skills are in demand. It’s great advice that stuck with me. My advice for other students would be to pick a degree that will give you the most flexibility to try different roles you’re interested in, within careers that aren’t going to be replaced within the next five to ten years at least.”
Her other piece of advice is to try and get practical experience before you graduate.
“Get some work experience, even if it’s part-time and even if you have to do it for free before you graduate. It will increase your likelihood of being hired once you graduate.”