Connecting Students to the Workforce

  • September 12, 2019

Image: Supplied

Today’s job market grows more competitive every day.With increasing numbers of graduates entering the workplace, Internships and other experiential learning opportunities are becoming crucial to getting the best value from a university degree. Relevant, meaningful internships help students build experience, gain skills and professionalism, and improve their job-search abilities. In fact, many of today’s employers expect candidates to have experience before they apply for a position. That’s why leading universities have integrated real world experiences, such as internships into their courses and curriculum, and strive to foster close ties with industry.

Current thinking in education supports this approach. Modern universities place a strong emphasis on well-planned, supervised and assessed experiential learning programs, such as internships. These experiences have been proven to stimulate academic inquiry by promoting interdisciplinary learning, civic engagement, career development, cultural awareness, and leadership among other professional and intellectual skills.

Career Planning (Image: Supplied)
Career Planning (Image: Supplied)

Valuable real-world experience

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is part of the Australian Technology Network of universities – a group of prominent universities committed to working with industry and government to deliver practical and professional courses.In line with the UTS model of global practice-oriented learning,practical professional experience is one of the core elements of teaching and learning throughout the University. In fact, recent market research confirms that NSW leaders in business, the professions, and government believe UTS has the most industry-focused approach of all Sydney metropolitan universities.The fact that UTS is ranked 64th in the world for employability speaks for itself.

Throughout its degree programs, UTS’s goal is to try to provide each of its students with an internship, or internship-like experience. Internships are structured programs that give valuable real-world work experience. Students get to see how the technical knowledge they’re learning at university is applied in practice. As an introduction to the world of work, internships give young people an opportunity to see a realistic picture of job options and career paths. While working as an intern, a student can put theory into practice and develop the skills employers believe are vital, such as communication, critical thinking, teamwork and digital literacy.

UTS Insearch Leadership Program (Image: Supplied)
UTS Insearch Leadership Program (Image: Supplied)

 Taking the lead

Leadership experience is another way to foster a professional mindset. That’s why UTS Insearch, the pathway to UTS, offers a valuable Leadership Program to students who are on their way to study at UTS. The program is a unique opportunity to gain work-ready skills at the very beginning of their studies. UTS Insearch collaborates with industry leaders and subject matter experts to cultivate a competitive, professional edge. Designed to create a smooth transition from education to career, the program also opens the door to the Beyond UTS International Leadership Development program. This is an initiative that connects students with like-minded emerging leaders.These experiences establish important networks can endure well into a professional career.

Strong connections to industry

UTS, and UTS Insearch are situated in the heart of Sydney’s most important business, technology and creative precincts. Shristi Shakya, originally from Kathmandu chose to study a Diploma of Business at UTS Insearch as a pathway to the UTS Bachelor of Business program. Strong connections to industry influenced her decision.

“UTS is one of the leading educational institutions in Sydney. It has reliable influence in the current business market as well as the advantage of being right in the heart of Sydney’s central business district. I hope it can help me enter into an internship program and learn what it means to operate a business,” she says.

The emphasis on experiential learning at UTS means courses such as architecture, business, communication, design, engineering, science and IT, are all developed and reviewed in deep consultation with leading practitioners, with academics bringing extensive practical experience to their classes.

It’s never too soon to start thinking like a professional

UTS encourages students to think of themselves as professionals from day one. This is the central philosophy at UTS Careers – an on-campus centre that works closely with graduate recruiters, faculties, and industry leaders to help students get a head start on their careers.With a staff of more than 30 people, the centre facilitates interactive, connected workshops in using resources like LinkedIn for professional networking, resume writing, and preparation for internships. It’s one of the largest career services in any Australian university,although students are encouraged to make the most of its many services, if UTS Careers has just one piece of advice for students, it’s this: start getting work ready NOW. The earlier a student starts, the more confident they will feel when reaching out to employers for job opportunities at the end of their degree.

 A headstart in the job market

The UTS Accomplish Award is another way UTS gives students a headstart in the job market. A yearlong program, it helps students to identify and articulate their skills, knowledge and experience in the most appropriate and professional way. Interactive workshops and experiential events show students effective ways to navigate the recruitment process. At the same time, they gain practical, industry relevant skills that help them stand out from the crowd.

Students report many benefits from such thorough preparation when they’re presenting for job interviews. Rohit Maharjan, originally from Jawalakhel, completed a Diploma of IT at UTS Insearch before joining the Bachelor of Science (IT) program at UTS. He says, “They helped me reframe my resume, so it looks more attractive to employers. They also taught me how to address emails to potential employers and how to respond. Finally, they gave me tips on how to negotiate salaries and wages when I find jobs.”

Long-term connections that count

Practical, future-focused qualifications, and strong industry connections set UTS graduates up for success in their careers. But the advantage doesn’t end there. Alumni enjoy a range of special benefits and opportunities, such as ongoing career services, networking events, exclusive talks and workshops with likeminded professionals, global alumni networks and more.

The UTS alumni community is an elite global network of creative and innovative professionals. With around 200,000 UTS alumni living and working in diverse fields across 140 countries worldwide, graduates are never far from someone who can help their career, connect them with others, or support them in a new work environment. At every stage of their career journey, UTS is there to help its students and graduates to find their way.