This blog post is based on a panel devised by Mira Skoric and Franziska Trede, and moderated by Carl Rhodes (Dean for UTS Business School) at this year’s WIL Symposium. The speakers were four industry professionals: Jeremy Crawford, Joanne Jacobs, Jack McNaugh and Vasili Marouli.

How industry professionals connect with Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) at UTS

Jeremy Crawford, Senior Partnerships Manager at Medibank

Jeremy Crawford explained how Medibank has programs for early talent through to leadership programs for extensive career development. Universities are often at the forefront of bringing new knowledge and information, so he sees WIL as a huge learning opportunity – both the value from having that talent, but also the opportunity to give back as an educator for industry.

Joanne Jacobs, CEO at Disruptors Co. 

Joanne Jacobs‘ interest in WIL stems from the fact that she employs a lot of graduates via her digital innovation consultancy Disruptors Co. A grant she ran earlier this year encourages women to take up roles in predominantly male-dominated workforces. She identified a large gap between academia and recruitment, but also between what is possible for women to do and what they actually apply for. 

Jack McNaugh, CEO at International Internships

For the last ten years, Jack McNaught has been focused an international internships for students, including those from UTS overseas. International Internships is currently focused on Indonesia, with previous focus areas including India, China and Malaysia. His job is to connect with the industry and then match that with students.

Vasili Marouli, Managing Principal Solicitor from Marrickville Legal Centre

The non-profit Marrickville Legal Centre provides free legal advice and representation to socially and economically disadvantaged members of the community. Vasili Maroulis explained how they run practical legal training as part of a law degree. He described the process of seeing everything being demystified for students in practice as “incredibly rewarding”.

My colleagues are incredibly passionate about the work they do, that’s somewhat infectious too – it really just invigorates them and they can see a path forward. And I’m really proud to say that we now have UTS alumni within our staff, and they’re some of the best employees we’ve got. So, I’ve seen first-hand how this can really work, the absolute benefits to it.

Vasili Maroulis

Defining a well-rounded student

The industry professionals were asked to describe a well-rounded student who is ready to make a positive contribution to society.

Vasili suggested that, while Law is technical, at it’s core it’s about human beings dealing with other human beings that are in distress or vulnerable. His advice for them is to get out there and experience the world; this then translates into an ability to connect with other people more effectively. This sentiment echoed the personal student experience of Jack, who struggled to find employment prior to travelling, but had immediate success after getting some lived experience.

For goodness sake, get out of your faculty! Students that are only trained in their own faculty are not well-rounded. Unless they actually understand a little bit about what’s going on outside of their area, they’re not going to be able to talk to people who are outside their area of expertise.

Joanne Jacobs

Advice for university WIL practitioners

To enable students to be prepared for real-life careers, we should:

  • Manage expectations for students’ transition from their contained assignments at university to the multiple, small-scale problems they will encounter on the job
  • Share as much information with industry as you can about what success looks like – this way, industry can ensure both the student and the university get what they need
  • Actively develop good relationships with businesses – this generates the possibility of research collaboration between business and the university, and ultimately ensures the sustainability of the university as a whole
  • Create a positive, supported work environment where people are comfortable making mistakes and can have a rewarding experience.

Find out more

Did you know that there are five key principles that ensure robust Work Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences for students, external partners and UTS? Access the UTS WIL Quality Framework, accompanied by a WIL Good Practice guide and UTS case studies in the dedicated SharePoint site (UTS staff log-in required).

A full recording of the panel discussion is now available:

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