Theres more than one way to net a barramundi!

Swinburne University of Technology

Karen Pomeranz
Office of Industry Liaison, Lilydale Campus

Phone: +61 3 9215 7136
Fax: + 61 3 9215 7161

May 2008

Vignette title and details

Theres more than one way to net a barramundi!


Multi-disciplinary: Accounting, Business Law, eCommerce, Economics, Economics/Finance, Human Resource Management , Information Systems, Management , Marketing , Media Studies , Psychology , Public Relations, Sociology, Tourism

Employment sector

Student numbers



Credit bearing

Not credit bearing


Assessment varies from faculty to faculty but at Lilydale ours is:

  1. Complete learning Benchmarks Table - personal assessment of current rating on a range of graduate attribute characteristics
  2. Outline why IBL was selected, why the particular position and what is expected as outcomes of doing IBL
  3. Ongoing reflective journal - optional but recommended
  4. Midway report - an assessment of what areas have shown progress to date vv. Learning Benchmarks Characteristics
  5. Final Presentation - outlining growth over whole placement vv LB characteristics
  6. re work of resume post IBL optional


Industry-based Learning (IBL) is a program offered to undergraduate students in their penultimate year of study in which placements within industry are usually undertaken as full-time or half-time paid positions for 6 or 12 months, working in an area related to the students studies and future career.
Payment is approximately 70% of a graduate salary.

Number of staff involved



Key words

Industry based learning;

In the swings and roundabouts of managing IBL for 10 years it has always been an impossible quest to get the balance between registered students and available IBL positions, right. The earlier period at Lilydale was largely about securing a range of good positions across the board of Business, IT and Social Science. For us, in the middle years the main challenge was also about getting IT positions, which today is a poignant case in point about balance being so elusive given the massive decline in local students seeking to do IT courses compared to the demand from industry for IT workers.

So with a current weak student / employee supply in general, not just in IT, the challenge of the past two years has been to secure a stronger level of student engagement and interest in IBL. With this in mind I have instituted a few measures at Lilydale, some of which I think have already shown their value.

Structure of Program
Engagement for us has been at two levels:

  1. Initial interest in IBL ensuring that at the start and in the middle of each year, second year students attend IBL information sessions and then register to be on the IBL program
  2. registered students apply for advertised positions over the entire period of their registration (eligibility)

Special Features
Strategies we have employed include:

  1. Initial interest and registration
  • IBL staff (one in 2008) attending second year classes at the invitation of each lecturer/tutor and in three minutes posing three questions leading to a statement about IBL being worth considering and about attending information sessions to find out more. I have aimed to cover as many classes as is physically possible in the two weeks leading up to the sessions.
  • For those I cannot attend I have three overheads which lecturers are asked to put up at the start of their class.
  • Re enrolment packs contain a small bi-fold card about IBL and the information session dates
  • IBL cards and small flyers are placed strategically around the campus cafeteria tables, library, caf counters, reception area, toilets, windscreens (once only)
  • Posters are placed away from any other posters at entrances to the main building
  • At each information session the audience is asked through which means they found out about the sessions visits to classes wins hands down all the time
  • Increasing use has been made of academics to promote in class, specific and less usual positions where this position may have a flavour particular to a specific subject

2. Maintaining interest in applying for IBL positions

  • Every student who registers for IBL and is accepted must meet with me within four weeks of signing up we discuss their specific interest/s, any ideas about contacts, when they want to do IBL, whether they are interested in overseas positions and how their resumes are progressing. They are provided with a simple model for searching for possible positions through existing contacts and family-to be alert to and entrepreneurial with opportunities
  • Every student must email me their resume within a given date after they have had it reviewed by the careers adviser
  • Students with ideas, concerns or special needs are invited to make contact whenever they need all receive my business card. We agree on designated actions to be undertaken by students and myself. I seek out specialist services where it is deemed necessary e.g disability, language skills
  • Over the past few years I have made increasingly more calls to individual students forcing them to declare their interest or reservations/concerns. Many are prepared to apply for positions they may have otherwise ignored or had some reservations about.
  • Some flexibility has been allowed in relation to eligibility e.g. grades, and timing, after discussions with me and ensuing discussions with two or three nominated lecturers or tutors
  • Where appropriate, links are provided between currently registered IBL students and past IBL students now working in industry and prepared to chat with and advise their younger cohort
  • Students are required to inform me of every position they apply for and this is recorded on their card. I respond to their emails about each application with a (hopefully) helpful comment
Additional Insights

To date it has been difficult to identify and describe the value of all these measures, aside from the use of classes to promote initial interest .However the development of a closer relationship via compulsory meetings and calls made directly to students, seems to have created a very sound foundation for ensuring continued interest and action. The jury is still out as we are dealing here with Gen Y!

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