Graduates are often expected to hit the ground running upon starting their professional careers, but the reality is not always so. Some struggle to transition into a workforce for which they’re ill-prepared and find themselves struggling to stay afloat.
Universities are under increasing pressure to produce work-ready graduates who can step in as agile young professionals, ready to tackle the challenges ahead. One way of doing this is by incorporating industry experience or quality work integrated learning (WIL) opportunities into the curriculum. WIL includes experiences such as internships and fieldwork that improve students’ employability.
Hands-on work experience serves as a platform from which students can put theory into practice and learn the nuances of the working world, such as how performance and feedback can be malleable, coming in the form of a passing comment made by a manager instead of merely waiting to hear what’s said at a performance review much later on.
Studies already show that WIL can benefit students, exposing them to the world of work. Many universities are integrating WIL to give their students a head start at professional success. Those looking to give themselves the best preparation for the future workforce may want to consider these four universities that offer industry experience in one form or another, preparing students for the future of work:
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN QUEENSLAND (USQ) – AUSTRALIA
USQ provides quality on-campus and online programs for students from over 100 countries and is ranked No. 1 in Australia for graduate starting salary (Good Universities Guide, 2019). It also gained a five-star rating for internationalisation and employability by QS in 2019.
Since 1967, USQ has grown into a prominent teaching institution. Students can choose to study at one of USQ’s three campuses (Toowoomba, Springfield and Ipswich), or they can join more than 70 percent of students who choose to study with them online. Learners can also study through one of USQ’s education partners. USQ’s campuses provide a community-focused and career-centred student experience. Smaller class sizes allow for greater lecturer-to-student engagement and increased peer connections.
Equipped with a world-class aviation simulator and real-time television and broadcast facilities, students are given practical exposure to high profile industries. USQ offers a variety of support services including career guidance, counselling, health and medical services, librarians, multi-faith, assignment writing and study support. Student Relationship Officers are also on hand to help answer any questions and are just a phone call, chat or email away.
As a research–intensive institution, USQ’s researchers conduct studies to deliver solutions facing crucial industries, particularly in agriculture, astrophysics, health and materials engineering. The 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia framework has identified 18 USQ research areas as ‘well-above world standard’ and 12 as ‘above and at world standard’.
UNIVERSITY OF CANTERBURY (UC) – NEW ZEALAND
Located in beautiful Christchurch, UC is ranked in the world’s top 250 Universities, according to the QS World University Rankings 2020.
Becoming a UC student entails learning from some of the brightest minds. The university has several academics who are leaders in their fields while there are also outstanding international professors, lecturers and researchers who visit each year on the university’s staff exchange programmes. This means students may be taught by academic staff from the universities of Oxford or Cambridge, among other top universities.
Regardless of your field of study, be it the arts, education, engineering or commerce, students will have ample opportunity to put theory to practice and develop real-world skills through internships and placements. In a similar vein, WIL is an integral part of the UC DNA. Some courses, such as the Bachelor of Commerce, offer students work experience which includes internships, projects, field work and clinical placements to complement students’ learning.
There are also global study opportunities through short-term international study opportunities that actively encourage students to make international connections. The UC Global Exchange Programme has exchange agreements with universities around the world, including some in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, where you can develop personally and professionally while continuing your studies for one to two semesters.
MONASH UNIVERSITY – MALAYSIA
Monash University – a premier research-intensive Australian university – is among the top one percent of the world’s universities. Its branch campus in Malaysia is the third-biggest campus of Australia’s largest university and the first foreign university campus in Malaysia that operates in partnership with the Sunway Education Group.
Students at Monash Malaysia are taught by highly qualified academic staff, affording students the highest educational standards. The university is proud of its strong research culture that aims to make an impact on the lives of people in Malaysia and beyond. Meanwhile, students at Monash Malaysia are not only geared to develop academically, but also holistically through strong industry partnerships and internship programmes with multinationals.
Monash Malaysia actively partners business, government and industry organisations on research to solve complex issues, while companies are also involved through the student internship programme, work placement programme and living case studies to ensure graduates enjoy a smooth transition to the workforce. Some of the prominent companies the university has worked with include Unilever, KPMG, Deloitte and the ACCA.
CURTIN UNIVERSITY – AUSTRALIA
Curtin is a global university with campuses in Australia, Dubai, Malaysia, Mauritius and Singapore. Located in Perth, Western Australia, the university prides itself on its strong partnerships with leading universities worldwide.
Curtin offers prospective students a wide range of study disciplines at both the undergraduate and graduate level, such as engineering and mining; architecture and construction; and business, management and law, among others. Students can be assured they’ll develop job-ready skills through the university’s professional work opportunities embedded in all courses.
Curtin prides itself for its innovative partnerships with industry, the community and government, not only enabling students to contribute to workplaces, but also strengthening their skills and enhancing their employability simultaneously.
Meanwhile, Curtin also offers a variety of global opportunities to expand their worldview and develop their personal and professional development. Students can opt for programmes such as the semester and year-long exchange programmes, inter campus transfer, study abroad through a non-partner university, among others.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International
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