International students in Australia need local work experience to gain, well, local work experience.
Southern Cross University’s Employability Skills Program addressed this need when it partnered with a number of companies that willingly supported the program and participated in the process of screening and hiring potential employees last year. Among the companies that participated are Receva, Diabetes NSW and ACT, Pongo Labs, and Berkeley Capital Partners.
The Employability Skills Program, which was initially rolled out in SCU Sydney and Melbourne campuses, is now in its second year. It is not like any internship program because it caters specifically to international students who face numerous challenges in landing a job, both while pursuing their undergraduate or postgraduate degrees and even after graduating from their degrees.
According to Dr. Jason McGovern, director and principal for SCU Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, the program was launched to prepare students to be job-ready as they get to learn directly from the leadership styles of company executives. “In Australia, a relevant local work experience is a valuable currency that gives job seekers the advantage when seeking entry in any industry,” he points out.
Under the Australian law, international students allowed to work part-time up to 20 hours a week to help augment their finances. They are also allowed to work after graduation based on certain conditions as outlined by the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs.
All undergraduate and postgraduate international students in the three campuses who maintained a good academic standing can apply. Under the program, once the students have been hired by the employer, they are given three months to shadow company executives and gain actual work experience while being mentored. They also get the chance to participate in discussions and pitch their ideas, thus putting theory to practice.