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Working with employers to create jobs outcomes for students

11 Dec 2014

Melbourne Polytechnic Epping campus held an "Employers' Breakfast" on Friday 31 October to mark the culmination of a unique program, the Industry Currency Project, which involved local employers in the delivery of education programs, resulting in improved job outcomes for graduates.

Thanks to a grant from the VET Development Centre, Melbourne Polytechnic staff at the Epping campus ran the twelve-month Industry Currency Project to develop relationships with local employers, collect their input into courses and ensure that teachers were familiar with what is expected of graduates when they enter the workforce.

The project was jointly run by Melbourne Polytechnic’s Foundation Studies and Vocational Pathways department, and was a proactive response to the challenges of unemployment in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and the need to match skills with employer requirements.

Over the course of twelve months, students participated in work placement with employers and took part in the Northern Hospital’s volunteer program, picking up valuable skills and experience in real-life employment situations.

“Our students learned things you can’t pick up from text books, such as workplace social conventions, as well as the most up-to-date techniques and technologies,” said Parris Frangie, Acting Program Coordinator for Melbourne Polytechnic’s Foundation Studies department.

Teaching staff also learned a thing or two through a ‘shadowing’ initiative, in which they would spend two to four hours in a workplace observing how it operated. This allowed them to gain valuable insight into the skills their students need now in the workplace, as well as more subtle considerations, such as cultural and social norms that are not covered in text books.

The project resulted in very positive feedback from employers, many of whom took on students as employees or are planning to in the future. In a “win-win” situation, they now have access to students who are well prepared for their workplace.

“We are really pleased that we’ve already had positive outcomes from this project, and we believe that we have put in place sustainable practices that will benefit our students, teachers and local employers for many years to come,” said Ms Frangie. “We have a very intensive focus on employment and work-placement at Epping; it makes our courses very appealing and relevant with the local job network.

“I believe the Industry Currency Project is a unique program in Melbourne. It’s critical that we stay on top of the context that we’re operating within, so it’s really pleasing that the feedback from our employer partners and from our students about the Industry Currency Project has been so positive.”

The Employers Breakfast was an opportunity for the Institute to thank employers for their participation in the project, which will contribute to the success of graduates from other courses.

Tina Nimas, a recent graduate, spoke at the breakfast about her experience arriving in Australia and becoming involved in the project through her studies at Melbourne Polytechnic, successfully gaining work as a result. Representatives from local employers also shared their experiences.

The Interim CEO of Melbourne Polytechnic, Ron Gauci, addressed the attendees and presented Certificates of Appreciation.

Interview / Photo Opportunities

Media enquiries should be directed to the Melbourne Polytechnic Communications Officer, Anita Coia, on 03 9269 1251 or ua.ud1558915277e.tim1558915277n@aio1558915277catin1558915277a1558915277

Melbourne Polytechnic operates across six campuses and six specialist training centres throughout Melbourne’s north and south east plus a regional campus at Ararat. The institute delivers high quality vocational education in industry-standard facilities.

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