Latest Survey Proves Value of Relevant Work Experience to ICT Graduate Employment Prospects
ACS Foundation Work Integrated Learning survey reveals 78.6% of interns offered employment by host company
Sydney, 2 November 2011: The ACS Foundation (ACSF), whose charter is to encourage private and public sponsorship of ICT higher education and research initiatives, has today released the results of a survey of its Work Integrated Learning scholarship holders.
The quantitative and qualitative responses prove the value of relevant work experience programs for ICT tertiary students in complementing their academic studies and improving their employment prospects.
The results from the scholarship holder survey revealed that 78.6 percent of students were offered a role by their host organisation. Overall, 96.6 percent found employment in the ICT industry after completing their studies, with 67.9 percent finding a job immediately.
This year alone, the ACS Foundation has raised more than $7 million to provide more than 350 scholarships, including the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) scholarships for project-based work placements. The highly relevant experiences introduce WIL students to real-life work situations, professional ethics and behaviour, communications and team work.
John Ridge AM, Executive Director of the ACS Foundation, said: “The data supports our efforts to bridge the ICT training and workplace skills requirements of Australian industry and commerce.”
Carolyn Toleman, Manager of the WA chapter of the ACS Foundation, initiated the research. Of the 100 WA WIL scholarship holders from the past three years, 30 responded to the survey conducted in August.
In answer to questions on the advantages gained by undertaking a WIL placement, the overwhelming number of responses covered the benefits of “getting exposure to the actual working environment and culture” to better prepare students for the workplace.
One scholarship holder said: “The mentoring in the workplace helped me transition from uni knowledge to application of practical knowledge.”
As the internships are undertaken during the students’ university training, they often have a positive impact on academic success. The students are able to see the relevance of what they had considered as abstract studies: “I had the opportunity to gain knowledge on specific areas not studied during my courses as well as assisting my overall understanding of some specific units.”
Many acknowledged the assistance WIL provided in developing their confidence in choosing the right career path. “I had exposure to a field which I would not otherwise have taken an interest in or pursued a career in. The industry-relevant training allowed a smooth transition into my job.”
The more than 300 active supporters of the ACSF national scholarship programs take students as part of their recruitment strategies as an opportunity to help develop the ICT industry.
CSG in WA is an excellent example. It has provided 20 WIL placements over four years and is currently recruiting a further two. Mark Bogos, Manager – Mid-Market ERP Solutions at CSG, explained the value of the WIL program from the donor perspective: “In a buoyant WA market, finding good employees is a challenge. The scholarship program provides CSG with access to some of the top students in the right technology areas, and at the same time to “give something back”. We then work with each individual to have them productive very quickly. Through this process we have been able to convert a number of scholarship students into full time employees who have gone on to be very capable consultants within our organisation.”
Jim Ellis OAM, the Chair of the WA chapter and Director of the ACSF, who saw the importance of conducting the survey, said: “I have a very positive view of our dynamic programs which influence and take input from everyone involved: industry, academia courses and trainees.”
Find out more
Available scholarships and details of the projects are being continually updated on the ACS Foundation website.
The ACSF’s NSW chapter is running an introduction to the scholarships program event in Sydney on 22 November for prospective partners and students.