Information Technology



Swinburne University of Technology

Careers and Information Communications Technology

Maryanne Mooney (pictured right)

Careers Consultant

Phone: +61 3 9214 4624

Email: mmooney@swin.edu.au

Dr Sebastian Ng (pictured far right) and Mr Malcolm Ward

Faculty of ICT

Phone: +61 3 9214 5830

Email: mward@swin.edu.au

 

Photo of Sebastian Ng

Vignette title and details

Professional Employment Program

4 day intensive program

Postgraduate students from the Faculty of ICT

International Students

Discipline

Information Technology

Employment sector

Multi sector

Student numbers

The program was offered twice in 2007, June and Nov 2007 about 60 students in each, and will be offered again this year, 2008

Optional/compulsory

Voluntary for some but mandatory for students enrolling in a 12.5 credit point unit Internship Project.

Credit bearing

Non credit bearing subject

Assessment

No

Students are expected to update their Resume and attend a Mock Interview with an industry professional

Payment

Unpaid

Number of staff involved

Faculty of ICT

Careers and Employment staff

3 Higher Education Careers Consultants

Weblink

http://www.international.swinburne.edu.au/currentstudents/life/documents/Student-Life-Jun07.pdf

http://www.swinburne.edu.au/ict/international/documents/ICT_Intl_Guide_2008_web.pdf

Key Word

Careers; Employment; Skills; lifelong learning; International; Internships

Overview

Over the last five years the number of young people in Australia enrolling in Information Technology courses has gradually declined, whilst the shortages of professionals in this area has steadily increased. Conversely, the number of international students, especially postgraduates, enrolling in the ICT courses has increased particularly here at Swinburne University of Technology. Recognising this, Swinburnes Faculty of Information Communication Technology decided they needed to take a positive step towards connecting the expanding base of international ICT students with industry. Thus the Professional Employment Program (PEP) was developed.

In June 2007 the Faculty of ICT (FICT) launched its first Professional Employment Program (PEP) - a career development workshop lasting for 4 days. Delivered in conjunction with the Swinburnes Careers and Employment Unit (CEU), the program focused on helping overseas postgraduate students understand the Australian job application process and workplace culture leading to increased job readiness upon completion of their ICT masters courses at Swinburne University of Technology.

The Faculty of ICT offers 6 Masters programs:

Students from all these programs have the option to participate in PEP.

Structure of program

The program was developed in response to student feedback from focus groups conducted in 2006. These focus groups identified a need for a program that would address international graduates generic skills for employment.

Some key objectives of PEP are:

The first PEP was offered in June 2007 with sessions running over four full days from 18th to 21st June. About 60 ICT international postgraduate students commencing their final semester attended. The delivery mode of PEP is mainly in the form of workshops with highly interactive teaching approach including activities such as: self-assessment, mock-interview, team activities, expert feedback, industry visits, etc.

The block delivery mode was chosen because it fitted into the students mid-semester break and allowed students to totally immerse themselves into the program without distraction from their other academic commitments.

The program was offered again in Nov 2007 and is planned for June 2008.

Additionally, in early 2007, new Government information became available detailing the then proposed changes to General Skilled Migration (GSM) regulations requiring international graduates to gain relevant post-qualification work experiences as part of the GSM application requirements. This program is an attempt to assist students gain such skills.

Students have the opportunity to apply for an Internship Project in their final semester where they will be placed in a workplace for one day per week for the semester whilst they undertake a project. In order to qualify for the Internship, they must complete the PEP. The Internship Project enables students to further develop their understanding of business processes, and professional networks within the IT industry together with their professional and personal skills.


Special Features

The PEP has been the right fit for its target audience and has been enthusiastically received by large numbers of international postgraduate students. The PEP maintained a very high attendance rate over both programs, and applicants have continually exceeded the number of places available in the program.

The key to its success is that it builds on the experience of Careers in the Curriculum, a compulsory but non award unit which all Swinburne undergraduate students must complete prior to graduation. However PEP is tailored to both the students and the ICT industry, and delivered collaboratively with Careers and Employment and the Faculty of ICT, thus drawing on the collective strengths of each.

Students have offered the following feedback:

The PEP program gave me confidence and upliftment in an area I was lacking and hence very useful.

I found that the best elements of PEP were the industry visits, guest speakers and resume checking.

This program will help me in building my skills for applying ICT jobs and helping me to know what I need to do in certain situations when applying.

This program clearly helped international students to gain knowledge about how to improve yourself for interviews and other job selection procedures.

This was a great program with good information to know the real world recruitment policy

Additionally in 2007 the PEP won the Vice-Chancellor's Internationalisation Award 2007:

The Faculty of Information and Communication Technologies and Careers and Employment Unit Team (Mr Sebastian Ng, Mr Malcolm Ward, Ms Judi Green) for the development of an 'ICT Professional Employment Program' which has contributed to extremely positive changes in student outlook and greatly improved employment outcomes.

It has resulted in greater collaboration with industry and the local community, as industry visits are part of the program and representatives from industry participate in the mock interviews, which students report as being one of the most valuable aspects of PEP.

The mock interview was realistic and the greatest thing was we received immediate feedback from industry experts. The videos used in the demonstrations were fantastic.

Another key to the success of the program is the staff and this is reflected in the student comments:

You guys are doing an extremely good job, especially for International students. Keep the good work going.

Tutors are great.

This program was run excellently. The entire team was very good, friendly and made us feel very comfortable.


Future Work

Australia is on the cusp of significant changes in the visa requirements for international students and as more becomes known about such changes, the program may need to be adapted to reflect this. However, as the program has been very successful so far, it is viewed that few changes are required at this stage except for industry visits to employers who are currently or considering employing international students.

Student feedback on improvements they would suggest included:

Additional Insights

When students were asked what was the best aspect of the course?, a variety of responses were elicited:

 

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