Waseem Thaer Yousif Waheed was looking for the next step in his career. As a network engineer, he wanted to deepen his knowledge about computer networks and their design. But like most postgraduate students, he was also seeking an area of study he would be passionate in. An engineering programme focusing mainly on academic work would not cut it for Waseem. It needed to be one that had the right balance of theory and practice.
“With that in mind, La Trobe’s offering made a perfect sense,” he told Study International.
La Trobe University understands that every bit of experience counts in today’s hyper-competitive jobs market. A postgraduate qualification would not be worth the time and trouble if it did not come along with a work placement experience, an expanded network of contacts and gaining the skills to be future-ready.
At this institution, ranked among the top 1.5 percent of universities worldwide, students receive a variety of placement opportunities in an industry or clinical setting, as well as on-campus in the form of industry projects.
Whether it’s the Master of Electronic Engineering, Master of Telecommunication and Network Engineering, Master of Engineering (Civil) or the Master of Engineering (Manufacturing), grad students across the breadth of Master’s programmes offered at La Trobe get to apply their technical skills and experience to professional engineering in the real world.
At La Trobe, meet the challenges of the industry head-on
Today, Waseem is a PhD student at La Trobe University. While earning his Master of Telecommunication and Network Engineering, he had an option to do a minor project as an elective which allowed him to explore his interests with the guidance of an academic supervisor. This gave him an informed basis to know that next, he wanted to pursue his PhD at La Trobe – a decision he does not regret.
He enjoys the flexibility most of all. Being able to take the research in any direction he finds interesting as well as the one-to-one research apprenticeship from his supervisor, who is an expert in the research area, rank highly among the reasons why he would not hesitate to recommend La Trobe to other aspiring graduate students.
Add to that his internship with global engineering company Aurecon and it’s easy to see why Waseem would do so. It was his experience gained during his time at La Trobe that landed him such a prestigious position.
“The experience with Aurecon is nothing short of amazing. I get to meet new people with different backgrounds, solve real-world problems and I’m learning how to effectively communicate my research findings and technical solutions to people from non-technical backgrounds which is a highly sought-after skill in the industry,” he said.
Experiences like Waseem’s are highly desirable among global employers. A recent report by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), which surveyed more than 1,000 business executives and hiring managers, found that the majority of them would be more likely to hire a recent graduate who has held an internship or apprenticeship with a company or organisation. Similarly, job candidates with applied and project-based learning were viewed more favourably, too.
La Trobe’s postgraduate engineering graduates fit this bill. After all, La Trobe students get to participate in Work-Integrated Learning, a six-month work placement in an engineering company, working as part of a team on an engineering project or product development. In addition to enhancing the student’s teamwork, time management and people skills, Work-Integrated Learning also exposes them to the engineering decision-making process, economic and business management, and innovation.
For international students, being able to expand their network in an Australian company could be the crucial link towards securing more career options in the country. Those who choose to return to their home country do so with a highly desirable CV.
Then, there’s the ‘Directed Study’ unit. Offered through a supervised study which focuses on cutting-edge new technology, the programme is academically supported by a member of staff and technically supported by workshop engineers in the department.
With initiatives like these, it is not surprising that the university ranked second among Victorian universities and eighth nationally for overall satisfaction in the latest Employer Satisfaction Survey (ESS), with a rating of 86.6 percent (2.6 percent above the university national average).
Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Kerri-Lee Krause said the latest ESS results reflect La Trobe’s priority focus in preparing its students for the world of work:
“These results can be directly linked to our focused efforts to empower our students to develop the skills and capabilities that employers are looking for,” Professor Krause said.
“Now more than ever it’s crucial our students are able to adapt and thrive in an increasingly complex and shifting work environment.”
“Thanks to our unique initiatives, including our Career Ready program launched last year, our students are standing out in the workplace for their adaptability and other critical skills.”