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February 2015 newsletterACEN LinkedIn GroupSend to a friendACEN

In this issue

1. President's Report

- National WIL Strategy gaining momentum

- Portfolios

- Chapter chairs

2. OLT Project 'Developing strategies to maximise industry contribution and engagement with the WIL experience'

3. Internships and employment on ABC Radio National 'Life Matters'

- Interns

- Job ready education

- Your first job: how breaking into the workforce is changing

4. 2015 Service Learning Summit

5. Educational Developer – Graduate Futures and Careers • RMIT

6. Aboriginal Community Engagement • Curtin University

7. Brazil, wine and WIL

8. NSW Chapter News

1. President's Report

Happy new year to everyone. 2015 has certainly started with a rush!

The ACEN Board met for a two day face to face meeting last week in Melbourne to review our strategic plan, discuss priorities and determine key initiatives for the year.

Feedback received from the recent ACEN member survey, Chapter activities, the Statement of Intent as well as a range of recent WIL reports informed this discussion. See these reports Assessing the impact of WIL on student work-readiness – an OLT funded project and Engaging employers in Work Integrated Learning - Current State and Future Priorities by Phillips KPA.

The ACEN Board is very keen to support members through supporting students, enhancing WIL research, developing and sharing WIL resources, connecting members to emerging ideas through webinars as well as seeking ways to reward and profile excellence in WIL.

Therefore the ACEN Board has allocated additional resources to support the following key initiatives in 2015:

More details will follow in subsequent months as these initiatives are implemented.

Don’t forget to use our LinkedIn group to discuss what is on your mind in relation to WIL.

National WIL Strategy gaining momentum

Every year in the lead up to the Federal Budget advocacy bodies and others provide submissions to government outlining what they believe to be priorities for Government, including specific initiatives.

This year, several of ACEN's partners in the Statement of Intent are advocating that the Government support development and implementation of the proposed National WIL Strategy.  While this doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome, strong joint advocacy from business and education peaks can only help, especially in an environment where the issues ACEN has traditionally championed seem to be gaining traction right across the country.

ACCI - See pages 43-44

AIG – see pages 27 and following especially 27 and 35 (doesn’t explicitly mention all the partners but (including ACEN) but still makes the point.


Board members, in addition to their other roles such as Chapter(state) representatives on the Board, also agreed to accept the following portfolio positions:

(First named is Chair of the portfolio group)

Advocacy and Engagement, WIL Awards

Judie Kay, John McPhee

Finance and Audit

Michael Whelan, Annabelle Willox, Alan Blackman

Student Scholarships

Sonia Ferns, Freny Tayebjee

Communications and Membership

Ceri Macleod, John McPhee

Company Secretary

Alan Blackman

Professional Learning, Resources and Research

Jude Smith, Sonia Ferns, Michael Whelan, Friederika Kaider


Chapter chairs

Chapters (states) provide the backbone of local WIL activities.The curent chapter chairs are


Alan Blackman Griffith University


Theresa Winchester-Seeto, Macquarie University, Sarah Fletcher, University of Sydney


Gail Quirk, La Trobe University


Ceri Macleod, Flinders Uinversity


Sonia Ferns, Curtin University


2. OLT Project 'Developing strategies to maximise industry contribution and engagement with the WIL experience'

This OLT project has been funded for 2015 and will develop strategies and resources to support industry partners in WIL to enhance the student experience through relevant and engaging learning activities. Mutually beneficial collaborations with industry ensure effective WIL partnerships and the provision of quality WIL experiences for students culminating in the development of work-ready skills.

The project team will consult with industry partners but in the planning stages is keen to get input from ACEN members to:

This OLT funded project builds on the findings and recommendations emerging from the 2014 OLT research project Assessing the impact of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) on student work-readiness.

More information will be provided through the  ACEN website and newsletter as the project progresses

The project team is Sonia Ferns (Curtin ), Leoni Russell (RMIT) , Jude Smith (QUT) and Judie Kay ( RMIT )

Please send any resources or suggestions to Judie Kay judie.kay@rmit.edu.au

3. Internships and employment on ABC Radio National 'Life Matters'

Three recent programs on Radio National may have relevance.


Unpaid interns. Are employers exploiting or training young people?

The unemployment rate is 6.1 per cent, higher than during the global financial crisis, but youth unemployment is twice that rate.

It’s an environment where young people can be easily exploited.

The Federal Circuit Court has now brought down a landmark ruling against a Melbourne media company, Crocmedia, for failing to pay two interns who worked in its office for 20 months.

So how much of a disincentive to exploitation will the ruling be?


Professor Rosemary Owens, University of Adelaide, co-author of a report to the Fair Work Ombudsman in 2013  on 'The Nature, Prevalence and Regulation of Unpaid Work Experience, Internships and Trial Periods in Australia'.

Colleen Chen, Co Founder of  Interns Australia


Job ready education

Employers often voice their enthusiasm to have universities supply 'job ready' graduates - already trained up in the specific needs of their workplace. But there is much debate over whether or not degrees should equip graduates with more generalist skills and abilities - adaptable to the broader demands of their future working lives. In other words, is it better for graduates to be job ready or ready for anything?


Robin Shreeve, Institute Director with Western Sydney TAFE (part of TAFE NSW), previoulsy the Chief Executive of the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA) and before that, CEO of its predecessor organisation, Skills Australia. 

Professor Gavin Moodie Adjunct professor of education at RMIT University, Melbourne 


Your first job: how breaking into the workforce is changing

With Australia's unemployment at a 13-year high, and low-skilled, entry-level positions disappearing, it's trickier than ever for young Australians to land their first job. How can we best prepare young Australians for those changes?


Jan Owen, CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians

Michael Clark, Executive Director at the Fair Work Ombudsman

Professor Phil Lewis, Director of the Centre for Labour Market Research at the University of Canberra


4. 2015 Service Learning Summit

If you are interested in attending the Service Learning Summit at the Gold Coast on September 30, October 1, and 2, 2015 please email servicelearningsummit@griffith.edu.au.

Promotion for the Summit will soon become available so be sure to be at the top of the list to hear about the exciting program that is planned for this national event that will share ideas for Service Learning/Community Engagement in your course, or your institution.

World renowned Service Learning experts, Professors Andy Furco, and Barbara Holland will be attending as keynote speakers and workshop presenters. This is a fabulous opportunity to hear from two of the world's foremost experts in Service Learning.

5. Educational Developer – Graduate Futures and Careers • RMIT

RMIT is a global university of technology based in Melbourne, with a commitment to and reputation for high quality professional and vocational education and research engaged with industry and community.

This position provides support to the Graduate Futures and Careers Project for 2015. This involves working in collaboration with the three college and school academic and central services units. You will be responsible for embedding Career Development Learning utilising the 'Create your Future' campaign into every program, developing and implementing resources for each program year level, increasing staff awareness of career activities for students.


Applications close: 22 Feb 2015

6. Aboriginal Community Engagement • Curtin University

The Aboriginal Community Engagement (ACE) project at Curtin University is critical service-learning that provides the opportunity for students to work collaboratively with a Perth Aboriginal community organisation. The students are a mixed cohort of Screen Arts and Journalism undergraduates who, through their participation, advance their media production skills while at the same time developing relationships with Aboriginal people from within their own community. The projects are determined by the community participants in collaboration with students.

Critical service-learning is distinguished from other experiential education by its intention to positively affect both the service recipient and the provider. ACE endeavors to build capacity for community partners while at the same time developing students' knowledge of Aboriginal people, culture and history, and therefore their professional cross-cultural competence. The emphasis is on service and learning, on culture and on social justice.

The ACE program is further distinguished by its employment of participatory action research as a way of guiding our ways of working with community, and with cultural protocols. Action research is about creating change through action, and change that results in action. Action researchers never work alone, but with community participants, who participate not as subjects but as co-researchers. It is not research done on or for people, but rather research done with people, with community. It brings together action and reflection, theory and practice to come up with practical solutions.'

Building on three years of pilot work in Central Australia, this project involves three Australian universities (Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Curtin University and the University of Western Sydney). At Curtin University Michelle Johnston, Bonita Mason, Chris Thompson and Dawn Bennett ran the project. Initially plans were for Curtin students to travel far north in WA. While this was an exciting thought, the team decided for a number of reasons that it would be more sustainable and sensible to work closer to home. We already had a relationship with the Perth Aboriginal community on which the project could build the project. We also felt that Curtin is located in Noongar country and should therefore prioritise the Noongar community. Hence the team utilised existing networks to ask local organisations whether there was anything to which Film and Television, journalism and writing students might be able to make a contribution. Two years and several community projects later we are planning for 2015 and hope to involve students from engineers with borders.

2014 ACE Pinjarra Field Trip

2013 Curtin Aboriginal Community Engagement Group

Initial support for the project was provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching.

7. Brazil, wine and WIL

Sixteen Brazilian students studying at Curtin University are presently in Margaret River in the south-west of WA, studying the chemistry of wine-making. The students are enrolled in a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) subject: Engaging With Industry. While in Margaret River the students will undertake a 100 hour work placement that forms the basis of their studies. The students will also have the opportunity to participate in cultural activities including a Bush Tucker Tour. Of the sixteen students who travelled to Margaret River, fifteen are Chemical Engineering students who are working at a wine-making facility located at the Margaret River Education Campus and the remaining Oceanography student is engaged with the local Surf Lifesaving Club to further investigate ocean movements.

The WIL subject was designed to be offered as an optional or elective unit that provides a curricular WIL experience to complement existing placement units within established courses. The unit includes pre-briefings, supervision and debriefings post placement, in line with best practise. Authentic assessments include a Project Proposal, creation of a Professional Profile and a Project Report that details findings of the research question posed in each student's Project Proposal.

The photographs show the students at the various stages of the wine-making process which includes admiring the fruit after a day of grape-picking, filling the wine vats and analysing the wine in a laboratory.

8. NSW Chapter News

A word from Ms Angela Samuels

Welcome to 2015 ~ thank you to our NSW and ACT members for continuing to build the ACEN community and remember we always welcome new members !. 2014 was a successful and productive year and I extend a special note of appreciation to the hard working and wonderful NSW/ACT committee members – Nitsa Athanassopoulos, Wayne Fallon, Sarah Fletcher, Freny Tayebjee and Theresa Winchester-Seeto for their commitment to building and enhancing the ACEN community of practice.

Since 2007 I have been privileged to be involved with ACEN and I have met some wonderful professional people during this time. In 2015 I am moving on to the next chapter of my career and ask you to congratulate Sarah Fletcher and Theresa Winchester-Seeto to the role of NSW/ACT Chapter Chair. Sarah and Theresa will be co-chairing the NSW/ACT committee during 2015. Thank you for your support.

Best wishes – Ange