The University of Newcastle has announced that from 2023 onwards, all undergraduate programs will include a placement embedded in a workplace.
The University’s program is geared toward providing hands-on work opportunities, which are embedded into degrees to give students an advantage from the moment they graduate.
It is expected that more than 7,000 University of Newcastle students will complete professional experience placements each year.
The rollout of work-integrated learning to all degrees is with good reason, with data from the Australian Skills Commission report in 2021 finding that 75 per cent of employers look for experience before considering an applicant, while 40 per cent of roles are given to someone known to the employer.
Newly appointed NSW Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Member for Newcastle, Tim Crakanthorp MP launched the expansion of the program with Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO in what was Minister Crakanthorp’s first visit to the University since joining the NSW Government cabinet in early April.
Tim explained that there’s nothing that compares to on-the-ground training, and the skills students are going to gain through these placements are invaluable.
“When each part of our education system collaborates and works with industry the opportunities are numerous. I warmly congratulate the University of Newcastle for launching this program today and their time with me,” Tim said.
“My recent visit to the University was all about showing my focus as Minister will always be on teachers and students.”
The University of Newcastle is one of the first institutions in Australia to embed work-integrated learning within all undergraduate degree programs.
Offering embedded work placements will increase the number of opportunities for students and industry as it is added into every one of the University’s 168 undergraduate programs in 2023.
Managing Director of The Marketing GP, Holly Martin credits her work placement experience with setting up the trajectory of her career.
“When I was a student, there was one module of work placement, which I embraced,” Holly said.
“But I took it to the next level and continued to do work experience because I saw its value, which is why when I started my own business, I wanted to integrate it into our business.
“Over the years we have had an informal approach to taking in university students as interns, but then developed a structured program last year.
“I am pleased to say that the first student who went through our internship program is also now a full-time employee with us.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky said the University is committed to ensuring graduates not only have access to study at an excellent university but also believe in supporting them with a platform to go on to build incredible careers, no matter their area of study.
“We pride ourselves on teaching and preparing graduates who are ready for work,” Alex said.
“What this means for our students is that they will get the chance to graduate with a degree and take away real experience and build connections with employers in their area of study, which will help them find a job they love when their studies are complete.
“We are fortunate to have a strong network of supportive organisations and businesses that are passionate about providing our students with opportunities for real-world experience. In fact, we are the number one university in Australia for industry collaboration, so these connections will be invaluable for our students and industry partners.”