Why is it so important to engage with industry partners?
To provide authentic high-impact learning and engagement opportunities for our students and academics.
As our students have reflected in their feedback, work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences are “invaluable” and “significantly worthwhile in preparing for employability.” In addition to the students learning to apply their developing knowledge and skills, they also put theory into practice in the workplace, build valuable industry connections and in some cases secure an internship or graduate role.
Carefully planned and executed engagement with industry for the purpose of employability skill development can also create a valuable pathway to engaged research.
Bringing industry partners into the classroom through placements, projects, guest lectures, and industry panel discussions showcases our high calibre students, our academic excellence and our engaged research outcomes and opportunities. The External Engagement and International team are available to facilitate these relationships through providing introductions to existing and potential industry partners. We work closely with academics and professional staff across a number of areas including The WIL Hub, Careers and Employability office, engaged research and capstone projects. Here are some of the ways we are already successfully bringing industry into the Business School.
Student industry placements: Working closely with the WIL Hub team, the External Engagement team has facilitated introductions to a wide range of companies from Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to global corporations – including Business France, CMI Group, CPE Capital, Repertoire Culinaire, City of Sydney, Morrow Sodali and OnMarket. Many of these companies typically start with student placements through the Industry Placement Program (IPP), which provides high-value internship opportunities with targeted skills development programs. A recent report by the Director of the WIL Hub Associate Professor Rachael Hains-Wesson and co-authors has found that the proportion of students in full-time jobs was 5 per cent higher for those who had completed the IPP program compared to those who did not. Many of our IPP industry partners go on to expand their engagement to include projects, scholarships and potentially engaged research partnerships. This deeper level of engagement is due to the quality they have experienced through the relationship management, the program, academics they have partnered with, and the students they have worked with.
Capstone and WIL unit project partners: The External Engagement team works closely capstone unit coordinators to engage specific industry partners for each project. We were recently approached by four capstone unit co-ordinators to secure industry partners for Semester One 2022. The unit coordinators each provide an industry partner wish-list and a capstone project brief. In a very short period of time, industry partners who were at the top of their wish-list for each of these capstone projects were secured. Judo Bank, Prezzee (Australia’s latest tech Unicorn), Cancer Council and Sherpa Consulting are all confirmed for 2022, and discussions with Bloomberg are also progressing.
We also work closely with the WIL Hub to identify ideal project partners for their Business Practicum and Job Smart Edge units. In these units students have the opportunity to apply their business knowledge and practice consulting skills through working on an authentic client challenge in project teams and presenting the findings back to the partner. As student Yifan has reported after working on a digital futures project for Deloitte, “I learnt a lot as the project experience helped us to understand the process of how to solve a problem for a real company”. Another student Alan, who has worked on a mining sector sustainability project for Business France (the Trade Commission of the French Embassy) has reported, “My experiences in this unit were critical in helping me pass job interviews.”
Tailored win-win opportunities: The engagement opportunities we present to industry open the door to creating tailored win-win partnerships with these organisations. As students see their units of study come to life they become more inspired and motivated. The report by Associate Professor Rachael Hains-Wesson and co-authors also found that students’ satisfaction with their degree was 8 per cent higher after participating in industry placement programs. Industry partners also benefit through experiencing the quality of learning delivered by our academics, along with the excellence in our students’ knowledge and skills, and their readiness for employability. When industry partners have the opportunity to work directly with our academics, they discover the outstanding research undertaken by the Business School and the opportunities for partnering with us for engaged research.
Through connecting with the External Engagement and International team you can be more readily connected to the industry partners you may be seeking. Let us open the door for you to bring industry into the classroom and to build engaged research opportunities. If you are looking to expand your industry connections in 2022 we are here to help, we can connect you with companies we are working with from leading Australian startups to established global corporations. Some of the companies we are already talking with for 2022 include Afterpay, NAB, Macquarie Group, Catcha Group, Rystad Energy, ModiBodi, Cushman & Wakefield, Synpulse and PwC.
You can also connect with the WIL Hub team to learn how to make the most of any work-integrated learning experiences you may be considering, and to identify how to ensure they are highly engaging for both the students and the industry partners.
Make us part of your engagement strategy for 2022 and let us help you build valuable connections for learning and research opportunities. Together we can help design effective industry partnership opportunities for you!
About the author
I have gained extensive experience in building partnerships in the Higher Education, Corporate, Not-For-Profit and Community sectors over the last 20 plus years. In 2014 I started working in the WIL and student employability skill development space and have built up a strong knowledge and experience in Work Integrated Learning, Mentoring and professional skill development programs in Higher Education. My relationship management work has included managing corporate partnerships, alumni and individual relationships across multiple sectors. I am passionate about WIl in higher education and helping students to discover all the career possibilities open to them.